Lessons Around Acquisition as a Growth Strategy

March 13, 2024

2 years ago, Lauren Fraser from Thea Media grew her business through the acquisition of another company. These are Lauren’s insightful lessons around acquisition as a growth strategy.


Ever wondered why those two words ended up getting “a career” together?

Is there even such a thing as growing without pain?

(Don’t expect an answer to that question in this episode. 😂)

But it’s true…
So often we say that having a business isn’t easy. Scaling a business is hard work.

But what about growing your business through the acquisition of another company?

Could that be the short-cut we all dream of?

These were Lauren Fraser’s thoughts exactly.

Meet Lauren Fraser

Lauren is the owner and CEO of Thea Media .

She lives life on the Sunshine Coast in Australia and has been running her done-for -you online marketing business for 6 years. First, it was a casual affair to fund her digital nomad dream, then things got a bit more serious.

4 years in, business was growing rather fast.

Lauren wanted to get herself out of the account management role and more into a strategic CEO kinda role. As a result, systems and processes needed some serious attention.

That’s when she landed in my inbox.

Together, we went to work.

We introduced systems and processes, swapped her loyal notepad with a project management tool, opened a Slack account to make up for the lack of office space, and Lauren was on her merry way.

At least,… that’s what I thought.

Business Growth Through Acquisition - The Dream

Quietly, Lauren was having wild dreams about acquisition as a growth strategy for her business.

She wanted to shift from a “hero business model” (where the client expected to work with HER, even though she had several staff working for her) to an agency model where she would do the sales and then hand over to the team.

The business was doing well, flourishing. Finance added up. And Lauren, never shying away from a good opportunity, decided that if she wanted to do this, now was the time before she had the commitment of a family to look after.

So Lauren did her due diligence and then decided… to just do it.

Looking back, she says she was aware there was some risk involved in using acquisition as a growth strategy, but she was either positive enough or naïve enough to think it would be alright. That she would just figure it out and make it work.

She wasn’t prepared for what was to follow….

Business Growth Through Acquisition -The Reality Check

Overnight, Lauren’s team doubled, so did the amount of clients she was juggling.

Unlike her own handpicked, experienced contracting team, the new staff was “on the books”, quite junior and a total stranger to the systems and processes she carefully constructed.

On top of that, there was an office to go to.

The other side of the coin was equally challenging: taking on double the amount (already unhappy) clients who needed to go through re-onboarding, needed a new strategy, while creating a relationship with them.

What Lauren didn’t realise was that, with many of the new clients, patience was already wearing very thin. Minor mistakes ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

3 months in 70% of her new clients had left the building.

Lauren’s time went from a casual 4 days’ work spread out over 5 days, with time for lunch with a friend and a morning swim at the beach to a slurry of yelling clients and an 80 hours work week.

Sleep was evasive. Anxiety high.

Lessons From Growing Through Acquisition

Of all the thoughts she had had when acquiring the business, her worst fears had become reality.

The initial 12 months were riddled with mopping up the mess that was warped team dynamics, HR issues, and handling unhappy clients.

But that was the easy stuff.

The knock Lauren’s self-confidence took was a different beast. In the end, Lauren had to go back and look at WHY she did what she did.

Upon reflection, she figured out she embarked on her growth through acquisition adventure because of external expectations.

Because if you’re the owner of a successful business …

  • You can’t be working online. You need an office. 
  • You can’t head a remote team, you should front a big team of in office employees.
  • You can’t be fussy about who your clients are. The big name clients are the goal.
  • Oh, and…you should have awards. Lots of them. 

And the reality was… Lauren was hating ALL OF IT.

Despite the big goals and the relentless pushing, things weren’t working out.

At the time of the acquisition, Lauren had looked at the numbers again and again. She had realised the risk, and she knew she could handle the finances if the worst came to pass (which it did).

But, the biggest out of all the lessons from growing through acquisition: Lauren didn't spend enough time thinking about whether the new acquisition actually aligned with the life she wanted. With the business she wanted.

Getting Things Back On Track

But all the drama aside, I’m happy to report Lauren is not a quitter. Slowly but steadily, she clawed her way out of the mess and got things back on track.

A few things were crucial in her recovery after she used acquisition as a growth strategy for her business.

  • Systems and processes: Systems and processes, again, were a crucial piece of the puzzle. With things as they were, Lauren had little confidence in the delivery or the customer service.
    Then she remembered the quote from Atomic Habits: "You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems."
    So for a full 6 months, she put a stop to bringing on more clients while she got a renewed handle on processes and systems.
  • Perseverance: If Lauren learnt anything apart from staying in tune with what success looks like to you, it’s that perseverance is everything. Knowing that things were as bad as they were and she got through that was a powerful experience. But without perseverance, it wouldn’t have ended so well.
  • Embrace the learning and personal development: For Lauren, the road was hard, but the learning was massive. It reinforced her idea that personal development feeds positive growth in the business. Prioritising health, sleep, maybe some journaling and deep reflection. These things go hand in hand with building the business. Stop the learning and business stops growing. 

Business Growth Through Acquisition - Looking At The Future

2 years on, and things are rosy again in Lauren’s world.

The burning question: Would she consider business growth through acquisition again?


But she’s got a lot of learning under her belt. Also confidence.

But the biggest lesson around acquisition as a growth strategy for her was that when you acquire a business, it needs to fit the vision of what works for you.

You know… Business Your Way.

Get In Touch With Lauren Fraser From Thea Media

Thea Media serves health, wellness and beauty businesses across Australia with a focus on social media, search marketing and email marketing.

From start-ups to million dollar companies, Thea Media helps clients to increase online visibility so they can generate more traffic, more sales and scale their businesses.

Interested in working with Thea?

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