According to Harvard Business Review, over 70 percent of acquisitions fail. Don’t let these statistics scare you. By taking important steps throughout the acquisition process, you can avoid common pitfalls and drive better business results for your credit union.
What steps do you take when buying a new car? I start with what I am looking for in a car, research options, negotiate the purchase, operationalize the purchase with insurance coverage and accessories, work through any buyer’s remorse, and consider what I would do differently the next time.
Now, let’s apply a similar step-by-step approach to the acquisition process. Here are the six steps I recommend for building and strengthening your acquisition process:
- Purpose: Plan before you get started. What are you looking to do in a transaction? What are you trying to accomplish? What are the characteristics of your ideal target? An ideal target should align with your busines strategy, meet growth and income needs, grow your membership base, and elevate the member experience.
- Due diligence: Getting acquainted. Start with a clear due diligence list built by a team and leaders responsible for reviewing the information and raising up opportunities, concerns, and findings. You may want to augment this list with outside expertise. Here, culture is key. As you work through this phase be sure to gauge organizational compatibility.
- Deal: Negotiate terms. This is the time for creating acquisition agreements. It’s best to have a deal team and track all outstanding and important items. Be patient during this phase and watch out for “deal fever.” Now, more than ever, remain grounded and stay focused on goals, objectives, and opportunities.
- Integration: Coming together. Congratulations! You have a deal. Now, the real work begins. Don’t delay; focus on culture, changes, and determine measurements for success. Create a successful integration plan including operations, technology, financials, and human resources.
- Reflection: Lessons learned. Step back and learn from each step of the acquisition. Conduct formal sessions to document lessons learned following each step. This will build knowledge for the team – and future deals. Don’t forget to communicate, celebrate milestones, share lessons learned, and continue to build culture.
- Repeat: A place of strength. Acquisitions can build strong skills within an organization. Following a successful transition – share a news release. It can lead to additional opportunities. As your experience and comfort level increases – so do the deals.