As far as growth strategies go, buying up competitors can be an inexpensive shortcut to new revenue, new technologies and talented people. Jennifer Floren, founder and CEO of Experience Inc., got all those things when she acquired three competing online recruiting companies. Floren, 34, was surprised, however, that the entrepreneurial spirit of her small Boston-based company was actually an advantage when bidding on other small, entrepreneur-run businesses.
Floren knew that large media companies had scooped up dotcoms in her market only to shutter them a short time later, so her acquisition offers emphasized that Experience would keep the employees and take care of the customers. In that light, all three companies decided that being part of another small company was their best option. "We had competition in all the acquisitions," says Floren. "The cultural fit made the difference."