Home – New Forums Starting your journey How to communicate change of ownership

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #988191
    New owner of online store
    Member
    • Total posts: 3
    Up
    0
    ::

    I am in the process of buying a small business (online store) from within my family, and am wondering what to do about communicating the change of ownership after I take over. There is a very loyal customer following, and the current owner has warned me that I might lose sales if I announce a change in ownership. However, I am concerned that customers might notice some differences and I don’t want then to feel deceived when they eventually find out.

    I was considering putting a flyer in customer orders after I take over, explaining the change in ownership but assuring them that the business is still within the same family, and asking for feedback to make sure that I am meeting their expectations based on their previous experience. The current owner is not sure if this is a good idea, and I don’t want to upset them as they are very close to the business and customers. At the same time, I want to do the right thing for the future of the business and to do my best to give good customer service from the beginning.

    What do you guys think is the best way to communicate the change in ownership? Any advice will be most appreciated.

    #1166089
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 2,566
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi there,

    I’d start as early as possible and as casually as possible, with the present owner introducing you as a family member and saying that the company will be transitioning to a new era under your guidance. X (you) has been a part of this company for a long time already behind the scenes and is already responsible for some components of the business that you’ve all been so loyal to.

    Then set expectations: The transition period will take place over Y months and X will take over the full role around ___ (date). These things (core values) will stay the same (or improve) and these things will change (logo, hours, whatever) in order to keep our business moving forward.

    Follow up with regular updates to get people used to the idea over the transition period.

    Good luck!

    Dave
    P.S. Be honest about any changes coming up, and don’t try to keep every customer. If you’re making changes, then some customers will go elsewhere and that’s ok. Getting new customers who are a better fit will more than make up for those lost.

    #1166090
    MissSassy
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,255
    Up
    0
    ::

    As Dave has suggested a casual and honest change over is fantastic and if the customers feel that they are empowered they will freely offer feedback to help.

    Also ask for their help too during this transition as it helps them to be a part of your business long term as the new owner.

    #1166091
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    Up
    0
    ::

    Definitely be upfront with them, let them know whats happening. Sell the fact you are already part of the family. Nothing worse than finding out X left 12 months ago and I have being dealing with Y without knowing.

    Every change of ownership will bring the loss of some clientel, some just because they liked X and wanted to deal with them Some people see it as an option to look elsewhere as they are not breaking a loyalty. But if you sell it right this should be minimal

    #1166092
    Daniel Mitchell
    Member
    • Total posts: 56
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi there

    To offer a slightly different perspective, I think that before you do anything you need to make sure you fully understand the factors that make the customers loyal in the first place. Online stores by definition are faceless and for me personally I don’t become a loyal customer because of the name of the person running the business – I am loyal because they provide consistent high quality service, offer competitive prices, provide a good user experience, and so on. You only mention the online store in your post so it would be helpful to know a little about how the business deals with their customers and at what stages they deal directly with a particular person.

    If you end up determining that it is in fact the business owner that is the main attraction for the customers then you couldn’t do any better than following Dave’s advice to get a personal endorsement from them. If they have as strong a relationship as they’ve indicated then I would imagine they will want to let everybody know they’re leaving anyway.

    At the end of the day actions speak louder than words, so make sure you focus on what has made the business successful and that you meet the expectations of the customers.

    Good luck.

    #1166093
    New owner of online store
    Member
    • Total posts: 3
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thank you to everyone for your advice, I really appreciate it!

    I will share this with the current owner and see if we can come up with something together :)

    #1166094
    Cats
    Member
    • Total posts: 85
    Up
    0
    ::

    Be careful about doing this and choosing the timing. What I found out a long, long time ago is that people don’t like change. Is there an urgency? You are not being deceitful by carrying on business as usual. I don’t know what kind of online business it is but maybe you could put a little something in with each order from now on so when you do ‘casually’ mention it, people have gotten used to the extra little bits of thought that has gone into the order and the appreciation it has shown, so they are less likely to drop off.
    I would certainly not make a big deal of it in any case and just casually mention, maybe in an email newsletter that it is being ‘run by x now, however, it is still in the same caring and wonderful family’ – just my 2 cents ;-)

    And PS if the current owner feels it could be damaging to do it now, listen.

    All the best,
    Cats

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.