Growing your telephone answering service via sales and marketing allows for controlled, sustainable business development. In most cases, using a sales and marketing strategy stands as the preferred method to offset client attrition and provide incremental week-after-week growth. The alternative to answering service growth via sales and marketing is growth via acquisition. Just because pursuing a sales and marketing growth strategy is ideal in most cases, doesn’t mean you should disregard growth via acquisition. Here are some worthy reasons to choose acquisition as an engine to grow your answering service. If the Deal is Too Good to Pass Up: Sometimes an acquisition opportunity is too good to say “no” to. Perhaps the asking price is favorable. Maybe the acquired answering service will offer you operational synergies that will provide operational efficiencies, a new labor market to tap, or access to top staff. If You’re Flush with Cash: When you have cash reserves (or ready access to money on affordable terms), it may be a great time to acquire an answering service. This is even more true if you meet one or more of the other criteria on this list. Investing your money in an answering service will potentially provide you with one of the best returns on your investment. If Your Team Has Acquisition Experience: Having staff with acquisition experience is also another reason to consider buying an answering service. In fact, your team may even become bored without having another deal to chase, integrate, and optimize. Just be sure not to forget the optimize part. Acquiring another answering service will give them something exciting to do and will help retain them as employees. If it Will Provide Tax Benefits: Check with your tax advisor before pursuing this one, but when properly structured, an acquisition can delay taxes or provide nice offsetting deductions. Each deal provides a different situation with different tax scenarios. This can even change from one year to the next. Though your attorney should draft the agreements, your tax accountant should play a key role in this. If you Have an Underutilized Facility or Staff: Having an operations room half used or a building with empty space, hints that you have the easy capacity to add an acquisition into the mix. Another scenario is having extra employees, not that this happens often in the answering service industry. Instead of laying off staff or cutting hours, redeploy them to work on the acquisition. If You Struggle to Grow Through Sales and Marketing: The last reason why you might want to pursue a growth via acquisition strategy for your answering service is perhaps the most common. It occurs when sales and marketing efforts don’t produce the desired results. Maybe the cost per sale is too great or the number of sales is too low. In either situation, making a strategic acquisition may just offer a better return on investment. Growth via acquisition is a viable strategy. Just be sure to pursue it for the right reasons. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider and consultancy for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-901-7706 to arrange a private consultation about buying or selling an answering service.Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.