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Introducing my ‘transition before transaction’ approach

March 03, 2016 by Klaus Uhlig
Real estate is a hot topic of conversation in Toronto these days. It’s a sellers market and everyone seems to know someone who either sold their home for way over asking or bought a home in a huge bidding war. As such, many real estate agents are lining up to help homeowners complete these high-value transactions.

But some homeowners are selling in this market because they must; because they’ve been in their home for decades and it’s time to go. For these people, it’s often a difficult and emotional time and they need a real estate agent who is not just focused on completing the transaction but who values the process and the steps they need to go through to comfortably transition to the next stage of life.

I call this the ‘Transition before Transaction’ approach. And it’s an approach that applies just as much in the business world as it does in the real estate world.

Over the past several years, virtually all of the major works we’ve completed have been for clients who want to get their house in order and prepare themselves for some sort of significant transition. These transitions are usually the sale of their business or the purchase of another business. Either way, it’s a significant shake up to their every day way of work life.

Over the next five to 10 years, more than 500,000 Canadian businesses will be involved in a transition. And more than 50 percent of those companies will have revenues of less than $100 million (our sweet spot). As such, I’ve taken a hard look at what we do here at to figure out what we can do to help these companies with their transition – both before, during and after a transaction.

Throughout the phases of the mergers and acquisitions process, there are numerous points along the continuum where’s specialities can add value to smooth the transition and make the process more comfortable and simpler for everyone. Websites need to be assessed, brands need a face-lift, communication collateral needs to be produced.

At, we can:

• conduct brand audits and market research to help determine how to best position a business for sale
• roll out a fresh look and collateral to help a business attract the best possible attention
• mitigate the aftershocks of a purchase or sale with clear communication and messaging to invested stakeholders
• manage the cultural shift, navigate the brand mash-up and positioning, review the messaging and manage the strategic rollout of the new, post M&A company

The transition before transaction approach is a kinder, gentler approach to M&As. I am excited about this shift in strategic direction and over the coming weeks and months I will continue to share details about it here on this blog.