Preparing a Small Business for Expansion and Acquisition

Katie ClineCase Study1 Comment

Problem

Business A came to us with a locally established brand in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (A/E/C) industry. Like a lot of smaller engineering firms, it was named for its owner and had a good reputation in its hometown, but it was looking to expand beyond that. The owner was especially interested in developing the business to be an attractive acquisition target so that he could be free to step back when he was ready to retire.

Approach

Gladiator crafted a five-year transition plan for Business A focused on the eventual transition of the business through partnership or acquisition. The key goals were:

  1. Revenue growth
  2. Talent acquisition
  3. Expansion into additional in-state markets
  4. Developing working relationships with potential partners/acquirers

One of our first recommendations was to transition the company brand from being named for the owner to using initials that work as a more general company brand. An owner’s name carries meaning and reputation as long as the owner is there, but it can be difficult to transition an eponymous company to another owner because a lot of the brand reputation dissipates if the owner leaves or retires.

The owner was receptive to this recommendation and the expansion into new markets presented the perfect opportunity for the transition. Now, Business A’s collateral shows the initial name first with the original name of the company underneath. Eventually the original name will be dropped all together, creating a company brand that will be much easier to transition to another owner.

Beyond transitioning the brand to be more aquireable, we crafted strategic plans for business development and staffing growth. This included breaking goals into actionable steps year by year to help Business A reach its ultimate goal of being an attractive acquisition target within five years.

To support Business A’s strategic plan, we have offered ongoing support for business development activities, rebranding, messaging, and ongoing marketing activities.

Solution/Result

We developed Business A’s strategic plan in the first half of 2018. Even in a short time, Gladiator was able to help Business A achieve tremendous sales growth in 2018. Here is a comparison of sales revenue between 2017 and 2018:

2017 2018
$400,000 $900,000

That’s a revenue growth of 125% in one year, an impressive feat.

In addition to the revenue growth achieved so far, Business A has significantly increased the signed contract value in their pipeline of projects and is expecting to achieve substantial revenue growth again in 2019. Due to the long-term nature of some of their projects, we have been able to identify millions of dollars of projected revenue for the next 2-3 years. Understanding the growth trajectory has made alignment between growth and the hiring plan a much more data-driven and deliberate process.

Business A also achieved its goal of adding a key professional to its staff and is currently working on expanding its team further, to build a staff that a competitor could not replicate through hiring and would be motivated to acquire.

We are excited to see how Business A continues to grow and progress as we continue to assist them with the implementation of their strategic plan.

Are you interested in growing your business? Contact us.

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