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How to Keep Your Small Business Merger From Crashing

How to Keep Your Small Business Merger From Crashing
Photograph by Derris Lanier/Getty Images

Mark Hemmeter, founder and chief executive officer of Denver-based Office Evolution, was admiring the bright, modern furniture he’d purchased for the reception area of a company he’d acquired in Colorado Springs, Colo. Then he overheard a client grousing on the telephone: “These new guys came in, and it looks like Disneyland out front now!”

The 2007 incident was an early sign of trouble in an expansion attempt that eventually fizzled. In 2009, Hemmeter sold the company back to its original owner at a loss. “It was an expensive lesson,” he says. He’s now expanding his 10-year-old, 25-employee virtual-office business via franchising.