M&A can bring energy, new ideas to region’s businesses

Edward McMahon | Epec Engineered Technologies CEO

At Epec we’ve been fortunate to grow organically and through acquisition from $4 million to $50 million in sales over the last 15 years. Most of our acquisitions were smaller companies whose owners hadn’t planned for industry change or developing the next generation of leaders.

In fact, I’ve seen countless examples of smaller companies whose owners didn’t want to let go, weren’t prepared to invest, manage change, or just refused to believe that their business plan that worked for many years doesn’t work anymore. Next, it’s the financial breaking point. It’s a vicious cycle that usually ends with liquidation. This is always disappointing; the business owner’s knowledge and experience gets wasted instead of shared and learned from.

There are alternatives. One could merge with a larger entity with an up-and-coming management team. This usually involves sticking around for several years and taking a piece of every transaction, so the owner can transition knowledge and ensure the business is being taken care of. Or, bringing in a younger group of managers with terms of making them owners of the business as the company grows. The owner must be willing to take on new ideas, invest in newer technologies and take risks.

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Collectively, we’re better off if our region is full of strong, thriving businesses that attract other companies and new talent.

So, next time you think that your problems would be solved if you just had a good salesperson, let’s look at the long term and work to keep companies in our area for the next ­generation.