Microsoft Dynamics and cloud technology partner, Encore Business Solutions, believes that culture eats strategy for breakfast. This is especially true when it comes to growth, which for the past few years has been driven by acquisitions.
Although opportunity and timing are important, for Encore there is one key element that needs to align between organizations – values. Encore’s COO, Ken Chartrand, shares, “Do our organizations treat customers in the same respectful manner? Do we both believe in building a culture where employees can thrive? Do we have a similar vision? These values-based questions are absolutely critical when assessing a potential partner.” It was these shared values that made Seattle-based Fine Solutions a perfect fit to join Encore and broaden its Pacific Northwest reach.
Encore also evaluates the business needs of both organizations when considering a partner. Chartrand explains that growth is important, but it needs to be for the right reasons. Making sure that growth opportunities align with Encore’s overall strategic vision is a pivotal step. Chartrand points out that they’ll continue to evaluate geography, customer base and talent pool for future acquisition opportunities. “We want to retain our top talent and provide them with opportunities to grow and thrive within our organization. Through strategic acquisitions like this one, we ensure that employees can be given new opportunities,” says Chartrand.
Acquisitions certainly aren’t as easy as waving a magic wand. Chartrand points out that there can be a variety of challenges that need to be worked through. “You’re working with entrepreneurs who have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to their business. They are passionate and looking out for the future of their staff which is why it’s so important to ensure that there are open communication lines to ensure a smooth transition.” Chartrand adds that integration is much easier when values align, “A common belief system and shared goals make challenges much easier to overcome.”
Choosing the right financing partner
Encore approaches the selection of its financing partners based on values as well. After working with First West Capital in 2014, it felt natural to continue the partnership to fund its newest acquisition. Chartrand describes his relationship with First West Capital quite simply saying, “First West Capital is my first phone call.” He continues, “I appreciate their fresh perspective on our business – we have the types of conversations that you wouldn’t expect from a capital provider, and I really appreciate the camaraderie.” He adds, “I get honest feedback and options when I need it. That’s very valuable when a deal is on the table.”
In addition to a great working relationship, Chartrand added that it was First West Capital’s ability to see beyond the numbers that make them unique among financing partners. Steve Chen, Managing Director of First West Capital, says, “Encore is a perfect example of how to successfully grow a business through acquisitions. We’re impressed at how they have maintained their cultural integrity and used it to attract like-minded businesses.
We’re really proud to continue our long-standing partnership with Encore.” Sharing a similar set of values and having a firm understanding of the business was one the reasons that First West Capital decided to partner with Encore in 2018 for their own business needs, engaging them to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Dynamics 365 for Sales). Chen explains, “We’re really lucky to have dynamic clients like Encore who teach us a thing or two! We’ve really been able to improve our own business processes through the new CRM system.”
Learn Fast. Fail Fast.
This is a mantra that is commonly heard at Encore and supports its culture of continuous learning and evolution. In a space that is fuelled by rapid change, it is critical that Encore change and grow as well. Chartrand shares, “We’re well-suited to handle the speed of change in our industry. We’re passionate about developing our people and our growth strategy allows us to stay nimble and true to our values. We genuinely love what we’re doing.” With a strong culture leading the way, Encore is poised for continued success.