Prepare Your Answering Service for Acquisition

Prepare Your Answering Service for Acquisition

Take Steps Now to Make Your TAS an Attractive Acquisition Property

In looking at possible strategies for your telephone answering service, one overlooked option is preparing your business for acquisition. This may not be as attractive as a consideration as growing your business through sales and marketing or acquiring other services, but it is worth contemplating.

It might be this is the right time for you to make such a move, or it could be it’s the only viable option remaining. Regardless, preparing your answering service for possible acquisition will allow you to sell faster and get a better price then if you just put it on the market without any forethought.

Here are some tips to do before you list your answering service for sale.

Remove Free Accounts
Many answering services have special accounts they service for free (or at a reduced cost). These clients may be friends of the owner or have a mission that connects with the owner’s passion or the business’s ideals.

There are three options for these accounts. One is to begin charging them going rates. The second is to cancel their service. The third option, which will allow them to continue to enjoy free service, is to invoice the owner, who will pay the bill from personal funds instead of covering it through the company. This way the owner can continue to support these causes, while at the same time showing them as a profitable account to a prospective buyer.

Optimize Billing
Analyze the profitability of each account and work to make them profitable. If every account is already profitable, seek to make the least profitable ones bring in more money. Except for answering services that are already consistently doing this each month, you will find unprofitable clients and underperforming accounts. Address these areas to quickly increase revenue for your answering service and make it more attractive to a potential buyer.

Reduce Expenses
Scrutinize every dollar spent. What can you reduce or eliminate? Expenditures naturally creep up on their own over time. It’s critical to look at this closely and stop those expenses that don’t directly contribute to the answering service’s viability.

Right Size Staff
Next, look at staffing. Do you have people working in the wrong roles? Move them to the right position. Do you have underperforming staff? Correct their performance or end their employment. Do you have employees you have a soft spot for and are keeping them around for historical or emotional reasons? It’s time to help them find another job.

These are tough moves to make but critical to handle.

Remove Red Flags
Walkthrough your answering service slowly and observe what happens with a critical eye. Scrutinize your financial records. Reevaluate your marketing materials and website. Do this from the outlook of a prospective buyer. Fix these issues now so you don’t have to explain them later. Every red flag is a reason for a prospective buyer to walk away or make a disappointing offer.

Taking these steps not only positions you to sell quickly and for top dollar, but it will also make your operation more profitable. Start addressing these issues now at the beginning of the year, and by year-end, you’ll have a more attractive answering service to put on the market.

But when you complete these steps, you may decide you don’t want to sell after all. Either way, you and your answering service will come out ahead.


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