What I Learned at PRINT 13
I spent my weekend doing PRINT 13 related things, and I need to travel down there for another day today so I’ll be quick.
Saturday, I spent my day at the Gleacher Center attending a NAPL M&A workshop. Andrew Paparozzi, Chief Economist, opened the day by highlighting the divergent directions taken by successful and unsuccessful firms in our dynamic, increasingly digital communications industry. Under that backdrop, panel discussions spoke about their first-hand experience with M&A, with typical war stories shared from the lower end of the market.
It was amazing to meet so many small business owners so obsessed over their financials and the strategic direction of their businesses. You often hear about “firms that don’t understand their costs,” but this group is just the opposite. They have fully implemented MIS systems to know precisely what is going on within their business at all times, and they were attending to verify their growth strategies and learn more about the idiosyncrasies of acquisitions to see if it might be a tool for them.
My key takeaways were very simple. Establish a strategy, hone in on a target that supports that strategy, ensure proper cultural fit, perform your due diligence, and execute your plan with precision. Planning, attentiveness to detail and an unbending willingness to walk away from a deal were keys to success based upon others’ experiences. Each deal is different, will involve learning, but is certain to require a lot of hard work to pull it off successfully.
The strategy element broke down to scale, scope, or capabilities. Some firms were looking to fill open capacity via tuck-in deals. Others were looking to expand into neighboring cities, and still others were looking to acquire value-added acumen in the form of digital marketing execution, or Website development to offer a wider breadth of services. Whatever the flavor, it was really great meeting so many families so rigorous about their businesses.