Build confidence when buying your company
Clive Hamilton, Owner and Managing Director, Pinnacle Complete
Clive Hamilton rose through the ranks of Pinnacle over 20
years; eventually taking on the role of MD before buying the
company in 2015. Here, he outlines some key factors that have
helped him successfully transition from employee to owner.
Step up your game
Ownership. You’re finally in the driving seat. But you’re also
ultimately accountable for everything. You’ll find yourself taking
on responsibility for things that probably weren’t on your radar as
an employee -- from selling and managing, to setting the business
strategy; even keeping the office clean (!) - but it’s a great
opportunity take stock of how things are done and plan out what
As a new owner you’ll no doubt have new ideas and goals to
focus on. And while the buck may stop with you, your company’s
success is still driven by the people who work there. You will have
new responsibilities so you’ll need others to take on the role you
held previously. This is the time to promote committed and capable
members of staff; giving them the chance to prove their mettle.
Be honest with everyone
Change makes people feel nervous, so clear communication is
vital. Be open about why you acquired the business and what you
want for the future. When I took over at Pinnacle I gave staff,
suppliers, and clients clear guidance on what the changes meant for
all of us. In my experience, if you have solid ideas and a strong
vision then people will want to work with you to make the business
successful. However, don’t be shocked if not everyone’s on board
immediately. If they want to get off the ride, then let them. Don’t
waste time on stragglers.
Get an outside perspective
If you’ve been in a business for some time, you’ll have an
individual perspective on what works and what doesn’t. But don’t
let bias cloud your judgement. Sometimes working with a mentor,
business coach, or a trusted professional with a fresh take on
things can be invaluable. They can give you impartial guidance
which can help you make stronger decisions from the very start.
Make sure you’re well prepared for the short, mid, and long
term. Formalise plans as much as possible -- even if things change
further down the line.
- Short-term -- Calmness, clarity, and confidence are crucial,
for everyone’s sake, during the first few months. Maintain an even
keel and minimise disruption as much as possible.
- Mid-term -- Assess how the buyout will affect revenues,
operations, and existing practices. When addressing any potential
challenges, keep communication positive and practical.
- Long-term -- Never lose sight of your ultimate goal, and
consistently reinforce your vision as a positive step in making the
business more successful for everyone.
Overall, while a smooth transition is critical, be mindful that
things can change quickly, so factor in some degree of flexibility.
And always remember: while your company’s success is driven by
employees, it’s determined by your customers, so be prepared to
change how things are done in line with their