Build: Improving Value

Enhancing the value of your business takes on new importance when you are looking at cashing out. How do you secure employees and customers? How do systems and processes affect your sale price? What specific areas of improvement will make your business more attractive?

After the Exit; "Nothing Will Change"

“Nothing will change.” It is almost de rigueur for an acquirer to include that in his or her opening comments to the incumbent staff of a just-purchased business. Sometimes it is the seller’s attempt at making folks feel better. “Don’t …
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Exiting a "Time and Place" Business

“The purpose of middlemen in the marketplace is to provide time and place utility.” I remember the light bulb going on in Economics 101 when my professor said that.  Suddenly, I understood the concept of added value. Someone had to get the …
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The Unsellable Company

What does an unsellable company look like? Some business brokers will assert that there is a buyer for any business. That may be true, but historically four out of every five small businesses listed for sale fail to sell. In …
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A Transition to Exit Planning

It is time for a new direction. This marks my 400th posting to this site. I’ve enjoyed writing weekly about the daily issues and opportunities of business owners for almost ten years, but it is time for a change. Awake …
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Stop Managing

Why would anyone advise business owners to stop managing? Management is a proven science. From the time and motion studies of Frederick Winslow Taylor in the late 1800s, to Matthew Kelly and Patrick Lencione’s Dream Manager, we are constantly in …
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Protecting Your Best Asset

If you are planning your exit from the business, what is the best asset that you have to sell? Unless you have patented product, exclusive rights, or long-term customer contracts, you answer was likely “Our people.” Even if you have …
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Is Your Business Built on Individual Heroics?

Great employees are a wonderful gift, but individual heroics aren’t healthy for your business. Someday, you will start thinking about leaving the business. Perhaps you already do. When you begin planning for your transition, what will your company systems sound like …
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Good Customers Can Be Bad

When can good customers be bad? What could be wrong with a customer who buys a lot, pays promptly, and never has a service problem? They might be buying too much. No matter how strong or comfortable a sales relationship is, …
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Selling to Employees: Is Your Exit Strategy Right in Front of You?

When I interview a prospective client for exit planning assistance, we usually explore selling to employees. The first reaction is always “That won’t work. They don’t have any money.” If you have a company with reasonable cash flow, a talented …
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What is the Right Price?

Of all the misconceptions by business owners, the ones surrounding their company’s value are both the most common and often wildly inaccurate. I’ve been working for the last couple of months on the training videos for advisors in our new product, The ExitMap®. …
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The 7 Deadly Sins of an Entrepreneur -- Reprise

I make no claim that using the Seven Deadly Sins as a metaphor for business behavior is original. Of course, the original concept is a codifying of “undesirable” human behaviors, or sins. The work probably comes from the Latin word …
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The Seventh Entrepreneurial Sin -- Pride

Every business owner should be proud of his or her business. If you are the founder, you built every system, and probably landed the biggest customers. If you bought the business, you took what was in place and made it …
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The Sixth Entrepreneurial Sin -- Envy

This week we start on the two remaining deadly sins of an entrepreneur. Envy and Pride are the strategic sins. The first two (Lust and Gluttony) are operational; they interfere with how you function as an owner and leader. The …
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The Fifth Entrepreneurial Sin -- Greed

Few small business owners identify with the bloated income of Wall Street Tycoons. To accuse an entrepreneur of Greed brings up memories of the Gordon Gekko 1980’s, when “Greed is Good” seemed to be the motto of 30-something Boomers focused …
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The Fourth Entrepreneurial Sin -- Wrath

We continue the Seven Deadly Entrepreneurial Sins series that we started here. We’ve covered the two Operational Sins (Lust and Gluttony) that make you less effective as an owner. Sloth is the first of the Tactical sins; those that make …
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