It’s no secret that Metro Vancouver’s available land base is shrinking.
Add to that the pressures of triple net leases, high property taxes and a labour force that lives outside of the city, and it becomes clear that moving the operation could be in the cards.
When viewed through this lens, a pivot to Squamish meets virtually all of the criteria for businesses in the areas of both mergers and acquisitions (M&As).
As a leading, independent audit, tax and advisory firm based in Vancouver and Toronto, Baker Tilly WM LLP is uniquely positioned to address clients’ needs successfully in either scenario.
In the case of Baker Tilly partner Wilson Telford, he helps companies in the manufacturing sector with a myriad of issues with respect to M&As: long and short-term planning, assessing staffing levels and supply chain issues, and much more.
Telford breaks down these types of transactions chronologically, covering everything from pre-planning to long-term projections.
The exploratory phase
“When a client is looking to acquire an existing business in Squamish, they are most likely looking for synergies: either something they are currently missing from their existing operation or something they already have, but want to enhance or expand,” Telford explains.
In many cases, the client is looking to enter a new market. By acquiring an existing business, they can reduce or eliminate many issues that would arise from starting fresh, such as finding suitable office or retail space, hiring staff, determining supply chain suitability and avoiding time-consuming bureaucratic processes such as building permits and other licensing issues.
90 days out from the move – check the checklist
In many cases, there is no packing or moving, as the business being acquired in Squamish would be an addition to an existing business.
In a merger or acquisition, the significant considerations before the handover are staff retention, continuity for existing customers and considering the new acquisition's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
These will all impact the merger's success. Baker Tilly can help clients navigate these considerations with its experienced knowledge and expertise by identifying potential issues and guiding them through the process step by step to ensure they have the right tools for success.
“Acquiring an existing complimentary business in a new market can be far more cost-effective than starting from scratch,” Telford says. “You have the strengths of the existing brand recognition, clients, staff and local knowledge – these are all crucial in ensuring success when entering a new market.”
The move is done – what now?
Continuity will be key when taking over an existing business – this means that maintaining existing staff and the customer base is critical.
There will be plenty of opportunities in the first year to evaluate the existing operations from an internal perspective and form a plan to tackle any weaknesses, maintain the strengths and consider any untapped opportunities.
“Most importantly, if any threats to the success of the business were identified during the acquisition stage or during the first year, these will be focal points for the first year or two,” Telford says.
Outside of the day-to-day business operations, the city itself has innumerable perks. Squamish is a vibrant, growing community with many opportunities for investors or existing businesses to expand their operations.
Squamish also boasts a major port, a rail line and regional airport, and future float plane access.
And then there’s the work-life balance that only life outside of the city offers.
“I can be on a mountain bike trail in less than two minutes, I can be in Whistler in 30 minutes, and I can be on any number of lakes in less than 15 minutes,” Telford says.
For more information on how Wilson Telford and the rest of the team at Baker Tilly can help your business transition and succeed in Sea to Sky country, visit bakertilly.ca.