Kent Lewis, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Portland, Oregon, is the founder and CEO of virtual advertising and marketing company Anvil Media. Kent’s corporate lately merged with Deksia, the selling company of EO member Aaron VanderGalien in Michigan. We requested Kent about his adventure towards the merger, and the way leaders can be certain a good revel in of their go out or expansion technique.
When I based my virtual advertising and marketing company in October 2000, mergers and acquisitions have been the furthest issues from my thoughts. I joined EO in 2007 to refine my industry abilities, now not realizing that the connections I made would supply a vital basis for a long term merger.
In overdue 2020, I attached with Aaron VanderGalien, a fellow EO member and CEO of a Michigan-based advertising and marketing company. We get on well, however neither folks used to be in a position to take the next move. That modified formally on March 1, 2022, after we merged our businesses to shape a superagency.
Here are 5 vital classes I realized from the revel in of merging our corporations:
Define Your Ideal Partner
As early as 2005, I entertained my first acquisition be offering from an interactive company in Seattle. Since then, I’ve had a part dozen informal conversations, however maximum did not growth a ways. In 2019, I sponsored out of an acquisition because of are compatible and made up our minds to believe a long term deal provided that the cultural are compatible used to be perfect. I made up our minds that a perfect spouse would price my staff and purchasers but supply complementary services and products, skill, and tradition. In quick, a strategic acquisition (or merger). Once you determine key standards of a perfect goal spouse, you are much more likely to acknowledge them whilst you see them. It labored smartly. Aaron mentioned it best possible: “Our goal is to create a multiplier effect by taking the best of both agencies to create a true competitive edge and greater value for shareholders.”
Get the Numbers Out of the Way
The 2nd lesson I realized used to be to proportion my “magic number” early within the dialog, to save lots of everybody’s time. Getting to “no” temporarily can also be helpful, particularly for a smaller industry like mine (beneath 12 workers), the place distraction is pricey. Eighteen months in the past, after I first talked with Aaron, I used to be struck through his positivity, creativity, and intelligence. More importantly, he did not draw back after I shared my goal quantity. Instead, we kicked round concepts and agreed to signal an NDA so he may just assessment our financials. From there, we talked numbers, however the timing wasn’t relatively proper, so we each moved on. I had conversations with different traders, however I noticed I used to be the usage of the Deksia deal because the gold usual. No different company used to be as complementary on the subject of provider combine, geography, and, importantly, hobby in my interest for being a concept chief.
The subsequent perception pertains to endurance and perseverance. Over the next yr, Aaron texted to test in on my corporate and circle of relatives. I favored the gesture. Six months in the past, he shocked me with a telephone name expressing critical hobby in merging, because the timing used to be just right. Both of our businesses had robust years, so we have been each and every in an nice place to discover a deal. Aaron sharpened his pencil to construction a deal that will paintings for each events. Once we agreed on elementary phrases, we moved to due diligence. I stored all very important paperwork to Google Drive, so he and his staff may just assessment the guidelines, minimizing distraction on my phase. While we may have accomplished the deal extra temporarily than the six-month time-frame, we behind schedule the method to discover choice financing and deal construction choices — which proved to be very profitable on the subject of tax advantages.
Once we would locked down the deal framework, Aaron steered that I attend his staff’s quarterly all-hands assembly in Chicago. Over a two-day length, I met and spoke with each and every staff member and knew temporarily that those have been my other folks. I’d met “Anvil East” and knew the deal had to occur. Key individuals of the Deksia staff additionally flew to Portland the day prior to the deal to satisfy the staff and finalize the forms. It allowed my staff to get to grasp the important thing avid gamers within the group they might quickly be becoming a member of, ask questions, and procedure the momentous information. We spent the week mapping our integration technique. In the provider industry, tradition is the whole thing, as a result of your product is your other folks.
One part that lowered my anxiousness (past us each being EO individuals) used to be Deksia’s use of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to control their industry. With construction, procedure, and responsibility, they have been ready to double in dimension in 2021, and I felt my corporate would additionally take pleasure in the gadget. While we were not an EOS store, 15 years of EO club supplied insights and inspiration to include probably the most language and method. I had realized sufficient concerning the gadget to grasp any corporate the usage of it’s more potent, and due to this fact much less dangerous. Another manner we minimized chance for each events used to be to construction the deal as a merger, so it used to be transparent to Anvil workers and purchasers that I might be sticking round for continuity. I’m additionally a part of the Deksia Leadership Team, which gives a front-row view of the numbers and a chance to offer comments and information the blended entity down a a hit trail.