‘Merger’ Is NOT A Four-Letter Word, Either

Business is hard. Really, really hard. a huge percentage of Americans have the opportunity, at least once, over the courses of their lifetime to go into business for themselves, in one form or another. From direct-marketing sales to global corporate juggernauts, we all have opportunities in this country that others in this world simply do not.

That being said, once the plunge (read – huge risk) is taken, it can be a fight to keep what you’ve poured your heart and soul in to. Many times, businesses fail because they’re extremely adept at doing what they do (think attorneys), but are terrible, horrible, awful business managers (think attorneys). Why? Well, because they didn’t go to school for business management and HR, did they? They went to become attorneys. That’s like asking an HR specialist to practice law. And we’d never ask that of them, would we?

Likewise, most business owners face this ‘many hats’ dilemma. Some excel under the thumb of the challenge, while others curl up in a fetal ball in the corner, close their eyes, and rock themselves, thumb in mouth, until the nice young men in the clean white coats come to take them away (Ha-Ha!) <— (Random ‘Napoleon The 14th Reference, F.Y.I.)


To my untrained eye, there’s a lot to be said for mergers. If a business can find a symbiotic partner to merge with, it often yields a mess (I am a realist, after all). But – sometimes – it yields something far more powerful. I’ll give you an example:

I run a machine shop. I don’t own it, but I run it. When we were still in our infancy stages, we rented our unused space to a small metal fabrication company. They were started by a fellow and his wife – he an expert in the field, and she a woman who could manage a business. After a few years of controlled growth, they were offered an opportunity to merge with a local machine shop. In the end, they did just that. And now? Now their respective businesses are separated by some real estate, but are thriving under the umbrella of the single business model. Better still, it allowed the expertise of the Fabrication Shop owner to be tapped further by using the capital of the other business to implement a massive powder coating line – one of the biggest in the state. All because the merger brought together two halves of a potential whole. They’re still happily doing business, and growing in a controlled manner to this day.

Granted, this is an exception. Nevertheless, it’s a solid example of how a merger can make something new out of two existing things. Don’t think this applies to you? Think again.

What if you are a local retail store? Let’s take Culture Shock – a local enterprise in my neck of the woods who has a deep commitment to shopping local, and tapping local resources. What if they could, somehow, merge with a coffee shop? One business would symbiotically feed customers to the other. It’s all hypothetical, but you can at least see the thought process behind it.

Likewise, even direct-marketing sales representatives can merge their resources into something more. What if a Pampered Chef representative combined forces with, say, a Tupperware representative (again, I’m winging it here for the sake of example.) They could share bookings, and sell things that appeal to the same audience to a group that they may not otherwise be able to.

I realize that this is all a bit glib but, for me, this page is more about getting YOUR creativity flowing, and forcing you to think outside the box (pardon the cliche). My creativity is already doing just fine, and I wake up looking at the box on the distant horizon, so feel free to ignore my examples.


~ by digitalninjasmedia on October 4, 2012.

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