Successful advertisement – Search successor, Offer company

Entrepreneurs often have an emotional relationship with their company. No wonder: a company history is full of sweat and tears. Leave your life’s work to someone else? This is not an easy thought for many self-employed people. But sooner or later, every entrepreneur has to think about succession.

This was also the case for Hans-Georg Herr and his calibration service QM Herr – there was no successor in sight. In this interview, the two explain how he came to work with his successor Falko Kreißig.

Herr: At the age of 66, it was time to find a successor for my company with eight employees. I wanted to hand it over to younger hands. My two sons had moved on to other careers, my employees were great technicians, but not entrepreneurs. So an advertisement in the economy in the southwest should help.

Kreißig: It was time for me to find a new challenge. I was an employed salesman for measuring and testing technology, a trained industrial electronics technician. I liked the idea of being my own boss. On my way to vacation while reading Wirtschaft im Südwesten in February 2016, I came across the advertisement: “Successor wanted for accredited calibration laboratory”. I hadn’t done any targeted research for such an opportunity at the time, but I applied.

Mr.: I knew straight away that this applicant was not a profiteer who just wanted to invest. Someone here was interested in continuing my business in my spirit and also taking on my employees.

Kreißig: The first telephone contact …

Mr.: I just went for a walk …

Kreißig: After that, everything happened very quickly … Herr: We were soon talking about details, even openly about customers, orders, financial matters. We sought advice from the IHK Südlicher Oberrhein.

Kreißig: There was great sympathy between us right from the start, otherwise neither of us would have done it.

I quickly realized that I had found a new owner who would put as much heart and soul into the company as I had done.

Kreißig: I resigned from my job and became assistant to the management at QM Herr in June 2016. I then spent a month working very closely alongside Hans-Georg Herr, getting to know the company better.

Mr.: Then we went to my bank together …

Kreißig:… and I founded a new limited company, QMK GmbH, which then bought QM-Herr Kalibrierdienst on July 1, 2016.

Mr.: Together we visited my customers to introduce the new owner.

Kreißig: That was a big step for me: becoming an entrepreneur at the age of 32. But at least I haven’t had to look after a family yet.

Herr: That was different for me. I was 49 years old when I founded QM-Herr Kalibrierdienst in 1999, had a house and a family. My employer, where I was last employed as a quality assurance manager, was insolvent. I only received rejections on my applications as an employee. I was unemployed for two months.

Kreißig: But chance also came to your aid …

Mr.: Yes, that’s right. A client for whom I was providing a metering service advised me to set up my own business. And after experiencing four managing directors in three years at my last employer, I thought: “You can do that too!” Kreißig: And that’s how it was.

Mr.: Exactly. Measuring services were our main task in the beginning. Then I started supporting companies with certification in accordance with the EN ISO 9001 quality management standard. These companies subsequently remained customers of my calibration service.

Kreißig: Some of these companies are my customers today. They have gone along with the change.

Herr: And also the move.

Kreißig: Yes, we have been in larger premises in Schallstadt since October 2017. We now have 16 employees, including twelve full-time staff, so a move was urgently needed. We also have more room to grow here.

Herr: And so the company lives on. Just as I had imagined when I placed the ad in the economy in the southwest.

Source: Article from TOOLBOX, IHK Südlicher Oberrhein

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