Unpleasant surprises: Buying a company can bring challenges
By Joyce M. Rosenberg | AP
NEW YORK — When Matt Barber and Joel Doub bought a fishing rod manufacturer two years ago, the plan was for previous owner Tom Morgan to stay with the business for five years to mentor them. But six months after the deal closed, Morgan died unexpectedly.
“It forced us to sink or swim and accelerated our learning curve,” says Barber, co-owner of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths in Bozeman, Montana. “My approach was, OK, here’s a setback, let’s put our heads down, stay positive and persevere.”
Small business owners can face unexpected challenges after buying a company, whether they’re impossible-to-foresee events such as Barber and Doub experienced or problems that weren’t apparent or that prospective owners didn’t investigate. Among them: defiant staffers, outdated technology and shaky finances. In each case, an owner must regroup and figure out how to overcome the obstacles.