I woke up as a part-owner of the company, now owning 50% of it! The company’s turnover in one month was as much as my first company’s turnover was in a year. I had reached the point where I wanted to be, and now I was back at the beginning. There was only a new beginning waiting ahead.

We marched into the company with the previous owner and told the employees about the stunt! It was an exciting moment.

“The mother told the Espoo-boy to buy the company,” was the funniest comment later recounted by the construction workers.

Did it feel like I owned something? Not for a long time. Did it feel like I was a CEO? Not for a long time. I still feel like a little boy. I like to build, just as my father taught me. A man who builds (my Hintsa quote). An adult man? Maybe gradually, especially now that I have a son of my own. On the way there, but not too much – one must nurture a creative mind.

But truly, you can grow when you get the opportunity! If all goes well, you take on the responsibility and position that the world offers.

The idea is to serve others. That’s why I get up at six in the morning.

Wakeup at seven, so off to work at seven, that was new for the corporate fox. It used to be good that I made it by nine. But you get used to everything.

Oh boy, what a job it was. Our consultant, who helped us during the purchase phase, said, “a healthy person wouldn’t make a business deal.”

It’s starting to feel like he was right. This is a job for a full-bodied man or woman. The full range of emotions is experienced.

I’ll divide things into a few different headings here.

OLD OWNERS A quick and swift exchange is a good thing. If the acquired company already has a management structure in place, as it should in a good target, even a 1-month transition period is sufficient. 2-3 months is surely enough. It may happen that you actually want the old owners out as soon as possible. Of course, it’s possible that the old owner is nice, civilized, and capable of self-reflection. In that case, you can get along for half a year.

Backstabbing may occur because the old owner is genuinely concerned about the new entrepreneur’s and CEO’s ability to do the right things at the right time.

On the other hand, the old owner-CEO may not necessarily care about how much work it takes to catch up on the company’s different aspects.

Taking over a company involves a lot of things. None of them are very difficult or complicated, but there are hundreds and hundreds of these things. The seeker, who has now become the taker, is constantly bombarded with issues. The only solution is patience, stable everyday life, exercise, and sleep.

The company you’re buying probably has a long history, maybe 20 years (long in Finland, not in Italy…).

There’s a lot of emotion attached to small things. If it’s a husband-wife entrepreneur couple, the company has been in their lives as long as their own children. Things that seem small to yourself can have significant meanings. Even changing the office plants and flower pots can cause simmering rage. A slightly larger office renovation can be perceived as a very offensive act. It might be wiser to wait with all the changes until the old owners are definitely out of the picture. Or you just have to endure that the old owner’s emotional outbursts are unreasonable and unexpected. Even a change made clearly for the sake of work well-being and occupational health can cause strong resistance, even fits of rage. Things are so personal to the old owner.

ENTREPRENEUR’S WIFE OR HUSBAND Surprisingly often, the entrepreneur’s spouse works in the acquired company. They have a very special role in the whole picture. The entrepreneur might, for example, use their spouse to make all the important decisions. After all, thinking is better when you explain the current issue to someone else. This way, you can structure the issue better yourself and get another perspective on it. From the perspective of the business buyer, this is a complex issue. It’s not clear who ultimately makes the decisions. And after the purchase, there’s a risk of rumors and misunderstandings. If the majority owner’s spouse is still working in the company, they are a direct channel to the former CEO. This tends to initiate shadow games behind the new CEO’s back. This is because the employees have known each other for perhaps decades. They talk to each other, and in the end, there’s plenty of room for their own interpretations, some of which may be incorrect.

EMPLOYEES Employees are probably concerned about the continuity of their workplace and the company’s performance. Some may even be happy that things can now change. In a business acquisition, favorite systems change and dissolve. For some, things improve, for others, they get worse. The perception is often stronger than reality. The perception is, in fact, reality, and changing it is the hardest job in the world. That’s why the new CEO must act quickly and make all the necessary changes in one go. This way, things are painful for a short while but sweet in the long run.

You have to communicate clearly and often. Everyone has to know what’s going on. You have to avoid empty promises. At the same time, you should already be thinking about the next acquisition. Once the acquisition fever begins, it’s hard to stop. You should already be preparing for the next one before the first one is fully in hand.

I’ve made it clear that I won’t micromanage. I won’t assign jobs and tasks to employees. In the end, the old owner had too much to do, and nothing happened. I’m not like that. You should know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it’s time to seek other opportunities. That’s the only way. And you have to be able to rely on others.

CONCLUSION Taking over a company is a tough job. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity. You can create work, well-being, and health for many people. You can make big decisions and do big things. You just have to be persistent and patient. You also need a bit of luck.

A self-employed person has nothing to give. You have to live on. That’s the kind of person who is fit to be an entrepreneur.

You have to enjoy making decisions. Otherwise, it’s best to stay out of the way.

That’s how I got a new company to own. And maybe in the future, there’s another one. It’s so much fun.

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