Buying a Business That’s Gone Bankrupt
The good, the bad and the ugly of buying a business out of bankruptcy.
Twenty-seven years ago I embarked on an incomparable journey that had a big impact on my professional life. I was presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a renowned Bobcat dealership that had just gone bankruptcy. As if it wasn’t hard enough to buying a company out of bankruptcy, it was even harder to convince the Bobcat organization that a 28 year old, the youngest person to have owned a dealership and who had never even been in a Bobcat, could turn it around.
Bankruptcy, often deemed the ugly beast of business, is a challenging situation for anyone to navigate. This Bobcat dealership, a local icon, had to liquidate everything, leaving behind a legacy filled with heavy hearts. This part of the adventure was the worst, witnessing a family at the auction watching everything being sold off left me with a lifelong impression and it still leaves me with lingering feeling of sadness.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. Amid the turmoil, we uncovered a treasure of immense value - an awesome core team. This determined and talented group of individuals, along with an impressive following of dedicated customers, formed the backbone of our reconstructed company. Remarkably loyal, we had customers reaching out after 15 years of purchasing their Bobcats for the first time, showcasing the reliability of these machines.
We focused on expanding our Bobcat rental fleet to around 40 units, complete with a huge selection of attachments, stocked our parts for quick turnaround on customer requests and we started being open from 6am to 6pm to help better serve our customers. Unlike the prior owners who focused on sales, we put our energy and resources into growing our rentals, parts and being open longer hours. These changes made a big difference and really set us apart in building a very successful dealership.
Finally, the great part of this journey was the joy it brought to the youngest members of our family. The sight of our children being fascinated and excited by the Bobcats, their faces lighting up every time they came to the shop has been etched into my memory ever since. Moving on from the business does spark a twinge of regret for not having kept a few of these amazing machines.
Today, I love watching the Bobcats in action around the area which I live . It's a constant reminder of our journey - and the power of a great team, a great brand and a dedication to customer service.
The journey of acquiring a bankrupt company is not much different than the essence of life. There is the good, the great, and the ugly, which are all integral parts of our adventure, shaping our experiences and molding us into better versions of ourselves.