What made you decide to buy a business that wasn't in line with your expertise? How did it pan out? Knowing what you know now, would you do it again- or what would you do differently? ...Thanks for letting me pick your brain!
Well we bought a business that was related to what we do but not exactly in line. We owned a plumbing service business and we bought a septic service business. It does tie into our existing business but there were technicial issues & laws that we needed to be educated on in order to operate the business. We had a friend that owned this business and we had worked with him in refferals back & forth for several years. When he died unexpectedly his children gave the business to one of his employees. We were not able to keep the same type of working relationship with the new owners. We decided that this issue might be worth investigating as another aspect of business for us and we started working on the knowledge needed and shopping for a small business that wanted to close out. We took over the other business in 1997, I will say we did not expect the other business to be a huge revenue generator at first as they company was basing prices on the going rate & not the cost of doing business. We started making changes and cross marketing their client database with our client database. It has worked out well and we have gained sales in both divisions from the cross marketing.
The one thing that I think we would do differently is to start out with the vision of the big picture of the deal this would enable us to actually buy into the next phase of this business at the begining. Ten years ago we could have bought into the treatment phase for 10% of the cost of doing it now, we were to short sighted to see the big picture and now, if we want to go into that phase will will pay millions instead of a few hundred thousand.
That's why, when we go into the campground business I want to start out with the big picture of all the possible parts of the site that we may want to have. We may not set them all up at the begining, we may have to do the development in phases, but we want to have the consideration of the big picture right from the start. So my campground vision is not an RV park; it is a residential/resort community with RV slots, cabins, boat storage, marina, resturant, convienance store comunity center event center building.