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Louis Gudema on Exit This Way

Listen to Louis Gudema on Exit This Way

Louis GudemaLouis Gudema,
 the founder of Revenue & Associates in Newton, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss:

A Strategic Time To Start Or Increase Marketing

Louis Gudema has dedicated his 30+ year career to marketing, sales and business development; starting with work for Coleco Toys at the height of Cabbage Patch Kids craze. He has worked with a wide range of companies from small companies and startups up to the Fortune 25. For a dozen years he owned and ran his own marketing agency, which he sold in 2009, so he is very personally familiar with running and successfully exiting a small business. Since then he has been VP of Business Development for two other digital marketing agencies, and for companies in the edtech and mobile application development spaces, while also working with other client companies on their business growth.

Louie joins us here today on Exit This Way™ to address a topic that if owners were to pursue it before transitioning out of their business, could reap them higher rewards than if they settle for selling their business as is.

That topic is marketing. As Louis says, most companies don’t market well, if at all, but by doing so they could significantly increase their revenues, profits – and sale price.

Louis first explained that most owners think their business is worth more than it is. But when they seek that sale price, they won’t get it. But if in those last 6 months to 2 years, if they start or increase their marketing efforts, then they can ‘bend the revenue curve’ and increase profits. With that, an owner will have a different story to tell buyers.  ‘We did $x over the last ten years, and $XX in the last couple years with some marketing, as the buyer, you can do even better.’

Why Bother?

Louis described the situation where half of all sellers are disappointed in the price they get at sale.

The benefits of marketing now to the seller is an increase in value leading to a happier retirement. That increase in value benefits the company for a long time, and is worth the sprint to the finish line.

The reason to bother, is that there is a clear return on investment in marketing in the last six month to deliver more profits (highest profits) and transform company value to command a higher sales price.

Louis presented a number of approaches and quick fixes to increase leads and sales by marketing to existing customers, quick changes to get more conversions from your website, and just talking to current customers. Check out what he has to say about email frequency – it will surprise you.

His advice to owners getting ready to sell their business is do not learn to do marketing yourself at this point. Rather, hire an expert, who can help you determine what tactics will work best for you and fast hitting.

Bull’s Eye

Louis outlined his three stage approach to strategic marketing using the concept of a bull’s eye. The inner circle of that bull’s eye includes those approaches that are the fastest way to new leads using to best advantage the assets you already have. He listed and positioned a number of options. The second circle is to reach those prospects already seeking what you offer/deliver – that’s where online search marketing comes in. And the third circle/ the outermost circle takes the longest to build – because you are building for long term awareness among customers, using social media, event marketing, etc.

Depending on the program, owners can expect to see measurable results from these new marketing programs in weeks to months. Online conversion tools can build leads within weeks. Customer interviews can produce results in months. Remarketing programs can work quickly too.

According to Louis, there are good measurable results owners should aim for that will strengthen their selling position when negotiating with buyers. He shared what to look for.

Biggest Mistake

Louis says there are two ‘biggest mistakes’ that companies make around marketing and growth strategies.

  1. They don’t understand the strategic value of marketing. The first step is understanding the customer, the market and the competition – which is harder than ever today.
  2. Too many companies don’t do marketing at all at any level. They don’t do the strategic work, the advertising and promotions that have an impact on both topline and bottom-line results.

Listen to Louis’s full interview here.

 

 

Curt Feldman on Exit This Way™

Listen to Curt Feldman on Exit This Way
Curt FeldmanCurt Feldman 
CPA, Partner at Shepherd & Goldstein in Framingham, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss:

A Right Brain Perspective From A Left Brain Accountant

Curt Feldman is a CPA and Partner in charge of the Framingham office of Shephert & Goldstein, a CPA and business consulting firm. Curt applies his passion and commitment to helping his clients achieve their business and personal financial goals. He has also obtained his investment advisory and insurance licenses.

Curt balances his professional dedication with a strong community focus. He is currently the Treasurer for the Metrowest English as a Second Language organization (MWESL). He is also an active participant with Interise, an organization dedicated to assisting small business owners developing their companies.

Curt speaks regularly on tax, accounting and business issues facing small business owners, business development and customer service strategies. He has also authored numerous articles on business development, tax and accounting issues.

Curt is a graduate of Boston University School of Management, Summa Cum Laude with a BS degree in Accounting, He is a member of the American Institute and Massachusetts Society of CPA’s.

Underlying facts about private business owners

Curt started with some underlying facts about private business owners. As much as owners recognize the importance of protecting their business, they spend the majority of their time working in their business and not on their business:

  • 90% of their wealth is tied up in the value of the business, which is a very illiquid asset.
  • 80% of private business owners are not actively trying to increase the value of their business.
  • The average entrepreneur spends about 80,000 hours working in their business but they only spend about 6 hours planning for any transition.

Curt offered one explanation of why this is, planning for the exit from your business, is not natural for a business owner, something they may only do one time in their life. It’s a scary thought, so it’s easier to just work in the business day-to-day and ‘hope’ for the best.

Common thoughts business owners have before they decide to sell

Curt sees common threads among owners before they decide to sell their business. Typically, they start talking about working less. And when you ask when they’d like to sell – they always say 5 more years – no matter when you ask.

  • They don’t know the value of their business
  • They don’t know what they need to plan for the sale
  • They don’t know how much savings they need to accumulate to pay for the next phase of their lives
  • They don’t know how to increase the value of their business
  • They don’t know the process of how they’ll ‘get out’
  • They should be concerned that (if) the business is too dependent on them – which decreases the value of a business
  • They don’t know where to start, they are frozen in fear, and wind up not doing anything.

When do you know it’s the right time to sell?

Ideally, you want to sell at the peak of your business value. But who really knows when that is. As Curt says, that’s a fleeting moment in time and only in hindsight do you really know the answer.

Look at your personal situation and your business’ lifecycle. Curt used the example of the driverless car – how could that impact your business? He recommends looking ahead to the impact of such systemic changes on your product or services. Roadside services for truckers will be impacted when the trucks will be driverless. Taxis are being impacted by Uber and Lyft.  So timing is important to get out of a particular business based on what you see is the future of that business, and the economics of that industry.

Curt explained how essential it is for owners to look at the macro economic factors surrounding your business, in addition to being attentive to the internal micro economic factors you face every day.

Additional topics Curt discussed in this invaluable interview:

  • The need for strategic planning for the business owner who will be selling their business.
  • Some of the emotional obstacles business owners face before deciding to sell their business?
  • Some consequences of not planning for a sale.
  • Some benefits of proper advance planning
  • Recommended transition planning steps
  • Key personal things a business owner should consider before selling
  • How do you determine the value of the business
  • What are important factors in increasing the risks in the business and lowering the value
  • Tax considerations of selling your business – stock or asset sale
  • Transition strategy objectives and timeline

 

Listen to Curt’s full interview here.

 

 

 

David McLaren on Exit This Way™

Listen to David McLaren on Exit This Way™

David McLarenDavid McLarenCPA, CGMA, CRFAC, the founder and owner of McLaren Associates CPA in Shrewsbury, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss:

Accountancy Beyond The Spreadsheet

David McLaren is the founder and owner of McLaren Associates CPA. David began his career in 1985 as an accountant for Colony Farms. He advanced to head accountant for Randolph Press and later moved to Meola’s Dairy where he served in the capacity as internal auditor.

In the nineties, David served as an accountant at United Parcel Service while teaching at Bentley College. He then worked as staff accountant for Greenberg, Rosenblatt, Kull and Bitsoli, CPAs in Worcester. He spent nearly a decade as a supervisor at Shepherd & Goldstein, CPAs where his accomplishments included organizing and growing their Cape Cod office.

David worked as director of finance at Qinetiq Trusted Information Management, Inc., a computer forensics firm with offices in the United States and Europe; working with the FBI, Ministry of Defense in the UK, and the Department of Defense in the USA. He served as controller at Atlantic Construction Services, Inc. and as accountant at Goulet, Salvidio & Associates, CPAs in Worcester.

David holds a degree in accountancy cum laude from Bentley College and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition, David has been recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as a “40 Under Forty” winner.

Tax Strategist

David started the conversation by putting the role of an accountant who does your taxes in perspective. He reminded us that there’s more to being an accountant than just putting historical numbers on a form. As a tax strategist, a pro-active accountant is doing you a favor by knowing the tax laws to save you a great deal of money. Beyond that, he highlighted that there’s significant value showing clients where their money is going.

David clarified what a tax strategist can do, referencing industry specific deductions and credits in the tax law back to 1945, to save money, steps to take, or get 9% of profits back.

Double-edged Sword

David described the challenge owners face of the double-edged sword. They want to take aggressive deductions to reduce taxes. But this will hurt your business value down the road, spending a lot and not making any money. David explained the advantages of using credits instead because credits are add-backs, so they don’t hurt your valuation, and actually add value.

Match Deductions with Cash Flows

Understanding your client, what keeps them up at night so we can help make the business work the best possible. As that strategist, David looks at the whole business, the risk profile before they may want to sell. He shows owners three of the top concerns to get them in the best position possible.

Focus

David sees his job is to focus clients on what their goal is for cash flow, exit strategy, taxes, loans and banking and making the entire’ thing’ work. He says accountants tend not to do this and just historically records numbers on tax forms rather than proactively work with clients on their goals.

Process Improvement

David sees his job is to assist clients with process improvement or process creation. The more the business relies on the client/owner, the less value it has, as another buyer cannot walk in their shoes. He identifies issues, problems or risk. Many times this may take a great deal of convincing.

Proactive!

David made the distinction that most accountants are reactive and wait for the phone to ring, leaving it up to the client to address the issues, figure things out and come up with questions on their own. When you take accountancy beyond the spreadsheet, a tax strategist is going to be looking at your business proactively to identify the three things an owner should do that will give them the highest return, best bang for their buck.

Red Flags

Red flags on tax returns can be big issues triggering a government audit. Even if you are doing everything perfectly, David says audits cause an unnecessary distraction from your business and cause damage, even when you are not doing anything wrong.  The government will treat you like you are doing something wrong.

Most accountants may not even know what the latest things are that cause audits and red flags. That’s why David recommends using an accountant who knows all the current laws, who represents clients in front of the IRS regularly, and is current on how the IRS looks at your returns.

The distraction from your business can be costly. If you will be audited he recommends simply paying someone to represent you. ‘You’ll never get a benefit from being audited’.

David recommends using one accountant to do your taxes, review operations for any red flags and to design your tax strategy because you don’t want one accountant disagreeing with how another accountant looked at your numbers.

Ask

David things accountants should be asking owners what keeps them up at night. But how many accountants actually ask their clients what is keeping them up and try to help?  Most do not act as a partner, but should. Great accountants do get to know their clients, are proactive tax strategists and know what keeps their clients up at night to help fix the issues.

Listen to David’s full interview here.

Mark Lee on Exit This Way™

Listen to Mark D. Lee on Exit This Way™

Mark D. LeeMark D. Lee, President of Business Legacy Consulting in North Attleboro, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss: It’s Not Just About the Numbers – It’s How Well You Keep Score

Mark Lee has a passion for helping business owners succeed. He provides a full range of consulting and financial services to his clients, with an emphasis on operational strategies that maximize profits and cash flow, while minimizing taxes. He has extensive experience in corporate and individual taxation, business planning, business evaluation of business systems, and general management services. His experience includes a broad range of industries including manufacturers, high technology, restaurants, real estate, consulting, and auto dealerships.

After starting his career working in public accounting, Mark went to work for a Fortune 100 high technology company. While with this company, he held senior management roles in taxation, accounting operations and financial business management, and he ran a service business. Mark is not just an advisor to businesses; he actually has hands-on experience running and growing businesses like yours.

It’s Not Just About the Numbers – It’s How Well You Keep Score

Mark started the conversation by explaining why your financial statements need to be in great shape. When you want to sell your business, your private financials become public. Mark explained that it is in your best interest to have high quality credible numbers to share. With systems, you as the owner/seller know what is going on in your business, you have systems in place and you can demonstrate that you are getting good information to make decisions. His example was inventory. As the owner you need a system that delivers accurate numbers, units, costs, and aging.

He said that you should be working with good financial statements anyway but that it becomes much more important when a third party take a look to determine how much your business is worth.

There are four levels of financial statements. Mark explained these four levels:

a. Prepared Financial Statements – The lowest level, generated by your accounting software
b. Compiled Financial Statements – Formally generated financial statements, but with no professional review
c. Reviewed Financial Statements – Reviewed by a CPA, provide some assurance of credibility and accuracy
d. Audited Financial Statements – The gold standard, these statements properly reflect the position of the company

The higher you go, financial statements give the buyer more credibility. Costs and credibility increase in parallel. Mark emphasized that audited financials pay for themselves when the buyer doe due diligence, because the audit increases their belief in those financial statements, so buyers have less skepticism about your numbers.

People and Systems

Mark talked about examples of owners relying on people who don’t know enough. In complex situations, it’s hard to have everything recorded the way it should be. It’s easy for a company to have more variables than their accounting system was designed for.

Owners like to look at systems, like accounting, and staff as overhead. Rather, Mark suggested they should view systems and staff as differentiators for their business to make their life easier. When an owner does not value these functions, it ends up costing them time, and money.

When it takes 2 or 4 weeks for an owner to get reports, it creates a dangerous situation where the owner does not have the information to make the best decisions. It’s hard to know where you are earning your money, what part of your business makes you money. Mark gave an example of a company with 3 business units but only one was profitable. Only when they focused on that one profitable unit were they able to sell well.

Profitability vs. Tax Minimization

Mark also advised that every owner should know their profitability by business unit.

For most of their business life, owners have focused on tax minimization. Mark says that strategy could hurt the value of your business when you go to sell, because when you go to sell, you need to maximize profitability. You need a track record of a number of years (preferably 3-5 years) of good profitability to demonstrate future viability for the buyer.

Not All CPAs are the Same

Mark talked about what you need and how to determine if you have the right CPA working on your behalf and why the right CPA is a critical part of your exit planning team.

Listen to Mark’s full interview here.

Kevin Manley on Exit This Way™

Listen to Kevin Manley on Exit This Way™

Kevin ManleyKevin Manley, Managing Partner at The Exit Advisors and Manley Strategic in Daytona Beach, FL. returned to join host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ for part 2 of Entrepreneur to Exit Planner, It’s All About Value.

Kevin Manley, founder of The Exit Advisors and Manley Strategic, is a noted business & exit strategist and entrepreneur. Kevin holds an MBA, a Masters in Engineering, and a CExP.  He has founded, advised, and/or invested in a variety of companies in consumer electronics, medical technology, philanthropic technology, real estate development, etc. In 1995 Kevin co-founded Yesmail.com, an online e-marketing solutions company. He and his co-founders took Yesmail public in 1999, and sold it to CMGI in 2000 for over $700M.  This 5-year process involved name changes, strategic focus changes, smart advisors, luck, great timing, and great people.

Kevin helps owners of both startups and established businesses maximize their company’s value and formulate a plan to grow their business, leverage their talent, improve their focus, utilize technology, enhance overall stability, and develop and implement an exit/transition strategy.

Entrepreneur to Exit Planner, It’s All About Value

Kevin was an entrepreneur in the heyday of technology, and  now is an exit planner working with owners to create value in terms of positioning for an exit.

What makes your perspective unique as an Exit Planner/Exit Strategist?

Kevin says exit planning is just a different mindset thinking about your business to get to the exit, and that’s the hard part of being an exit planner. In a startup, if you’re raising money, you have to think about the exit upfront, build in to your business plan. So, Kevin talks to owners about their business entrepreneurially, to show them what it looks like from another party’s perspective.

Building value – what does that mean to you and what does that mean for clients?

Kevin gets owners started on the process of rethinking the business operating without them. His simple examples included: recurring revenue, stability and predictability of cash flow, risk. In terms of risk he pointed out lack of customer diversity, of being hit by a bus, not having passwords written down somewhere to address business continuity concerns.

Kevin will lead the discussion with an owner starting with value and increasing that value to make their business more valuable to a third party.

Kevin gave some easy practical steps to put in place for basic continuity planning such as succession planning with basic instructions to successor/spouse in case of an owner’s death. He recommended that ideally an exit planner should be brought in as soon as that succession plan, 8-10 years out, is just a glimmer because it can take that long to groom and transition to successors.

Universal Exit Objectives

Kevin shared what he called the Universal Exit Objectives

  • When do you want to leave?
  • How much do you need?
  • Who do you want to succeed you?

He said that if an owner writes down the answer to any one of these three questions, they join the 8% of all owners who have written anything down. And only 12% of owners have had a discussion about their exit with their professional advisors.

Risk Reduction

In the decision to reduce risk, he recommends that owners want the option to transfer ownership to their children, to insiders or to a third party. Transfer to a third party is always an option in an effective exit plan. When owners assume liquidation is their exit plan and they intend to ride it out until they can’t, he tells them, that essentially they have not plan.

Every business needs an exit plan. Why?

Exit planning is a valuable and necessary service to give owners more options. Kevin has asked owners who have successfully exited their businesses: what was the trigger to start planning? What did it take to be ready to speak with an exit planner?

The answer was they had to get to a point of thinking about: ‘What’s next for me? What’s next for my life, outside the business?’ If owners can’t see that, there’s no reason to make any changes. He’s found that scare tactics from the outside, and he mentioned a few, don’t work.

Kevin educates owners that an exit planner is owner-centric, focused on what the owner wants to have happen as an owner of that business, whereas some of your other advisors; your accountant or attorney for example, may be more reactive to what is happening in the business.

He says that for smaller companies, early exit planning can make manageable changes result in a huge difference for the owner.

Kevin has seen that if owners have thought about an exit, it’s usually just down one path, as if it’s their only path. Put an exit planner in the mix and you can identify several paths to consider. Owners don’t usually take time to consider an alternate path, or as Kevin did at Yesmail, change their business model.

He suggested ways to create recurring revenues or productize what you have. You could end up getting acquired for that one product.

Kevin suggests that an exit planner comes in to a company to have those conversations, to explore options, because they always have their eye on the exit. ‘We talk about the business today but talking about value and sellability with an eye on the exit.’

In contrast, he made the distinction that a business coach or turnaround coach is worried about keeping you in business, helping with your executive team and leadership issues. Whereas, as an exit planner, Kevin will keep an eye on those things too, but always with a focus on how you the owner will exit the business.

Kevin went on to offer tips on personal income tax planning to consider before and after an exit and full circle back to value and the importance of getting a third party business valuation.

Listen to Kevin’s full interview here.

Kevin Manley on Exit This Way™

Listen to Kevin Manley on Exit This Way™

Kevin ManleyKevin Manley, Managing Partner at The Exit Advisors and Manley Strategic in Daytona Beach, FL. joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss Entrepreneur to Exit Planner, It’s All About Value.

Kevin Manley, founder of The Exit Advisors and Manley Strategic, is a noted business & exit strategist and entrepreneur. Kevin holds an MBA, a Masters in Engineering, and a CExP.  He has founded, advised, and/or invested in a variety of companies in consumer electronics, medical technology, philanthropic technology, real estate development, etc. In 1995 Kevin co-founded Yesmail.com, an online e-marketing solutions company. He and his co-founders took Yesmail public in 1999, and sold it to CMGI in 2000 for over $700M.  This 5-year process involved name changes, strategic focus changes, smart advisors, luck, great timing, and great people.

Kevin helps owners of both startups and established businesses maximize their company’s value and formulate a plan to grow their business, leverage their talent, improve their focus, utilize technology, enhance overall stability, and develop and implement an exit/transition strategy.

Entrepreneur to Exit Planner, It’s All About Value

Kevin was an entrepreneur in the heyday of technology so I asked him what he learned from that experience that helps him serve clients today.

Kevin briefly told the story of his parents owning their own business and his desire to own his own business. He recognized the internet would be big and decided to become the expert.

It’s a Game

In building his company, he understood and explains to owners that it’s a game, especially when you are navigating to the end. He was very specific that you must identify what others will value in your business and maximize that. You must focus on what will be most valuable to someone else. So, at Yesmail, they had a ‘laser focus’ on what made them most valuable.

As they were trying to raise capital, they realized they did not know what game they were playing. But they got good advisors and their CPA led them to real investors.

Have an Exit Plan

They had to put their plan and their business model on paper in order to get that. That became their exit plan. He says you have to have the exit plan to have the opportunity. If they had not had that exit plan to keep them focused, they would have failed. His advice now is to have an exit plan and work backwards from there to answer the question: How do we get to that?

They hired a CEO who helped turn a me-too company into a valuable company with a unique offering which drew investor interest and led to a buyer. In his blog, Kevin tells the story in more detail of how they had an IPO followed immediately by the sale to CMGI.

After the Exit

Kevin also talked about the story after the exit; in terms of the decisions and options to take an earnout, to go with the business to the new owners, accepting lockup clauses and for how long.

Participatory Exit

In retrospect, Kevin said he had enjoyed owning the business and that he had provided a living for his employees. His employees all benefited from their stock options when the company sold, so that participatory exit for everyone on the team was hugely rewarding to him. Rather than keeping their exit plan quiet, their team knew the plan. Indeed, their exit plan added comfort for all employees, not just the owners.

Kevin admitted there was a bit of luck and timing to the sale of his business, selling one week before the NASDAQ peak. He also explained the impact of that on him personally, as the reality of a stock purchase lock up prevented him from liquidating any of his stock for one year. He and all the founders then sold stock and did just fine, but they had to watch the stock drop from 160 to 40 before they could sell.

It’s an insightful and compelling story to hear. Listen to Kevin’s full interview here.

 

Keith Loris on Exit This Way™

Listen to Keith Loris on Exit This Way™

Keith LorisKeith Loris, President and CEO of Sales Renewal Corporation in Concord, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss The Challenges of Small Business Marketing and Why It’s Important Before You Sell Your Business.

Keith Loris is adept at leveraging marketing and technology to efficiently and effectively drive leads and sales.  Prior to founding Sales Renewal, Keith, during his 29 year career, has held executive level sales, marketing & technology positions at technology companies such as Sageful, SoftLock, ServiceSoft, Xerox and NYNEX.  Keith earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Vassar College, and a master’s degree in computer science from New York University. In addition, Keith holds three patents in the use of neural networks and lexical analysis for image & pattern recognition.

The Challenges of Small Business Marketing and Why It’s Important Before You Sell Your Business

Historically, marketing has been seen as a cost center and businesses have consistently under-invested in this area, when it’s marketing  that can increase topline or bottomline results, revenue and profitability. As a marketing expert, Keith explained a bit about the importance of growing revenue in the year or two before you sell your business.

He referenced guidelines from the US Small Business Administration which say you should budget for 7-10% of revenues to be applied to marketing efforts. He also identified competitive strengths as being marketing assets to include in your marketing strategy.

Asset Allocation

Keith used the analogy of retirement account investing – that asset allocation is key in portfolio theory. In the same way, a company’s marketing strategy should be to invest in a diverse portfolio of marketing assets, not just focused on a few tactics. He said each company needs to look at their marketing effort to see where you can maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

Risk/Value Tradeoffs in Marketing

Just like in other operations and leadership area, before you sell, Keith emphasized the need to ‘fix’ marketing procedures that are based on the owner or one person’s personality. He talked about the risk/value tradeoff of one person being integral to all marketing efforts. Instead, he suggested building out a system, policies and procedures to evaluate and appraise marketing efforts to externalize the owner’s expertise and experience. When you use metrics, your marketing efforts are like a machine, those metrics can be measured and become predictive.

Beyond growing topline revenue, Keith explained how putting in place tangible systems and processes for marketing that can be appraised, gives you a basis for analysis. Historically, because analysis is hard, owners settle for listening to their gut. Or worse, as Keith’s story goes, they get a referral to a marketing person who works with different kinds of companies in a totally different industry, and they wonder why they don’t get a return on their investment in marketing.

Keith talked about three categories of businesses in terms of how they grow their revenue- which is a factor buyers want to understand. He described in real estate vernacular as: ‘fixer-upper’, ‘as is’ and ‘best in class’. Good analysis and use of big data for marketing can position a business as ‘best in class’.

Good Guys

Keith made a distinction between the people you hire to do marketing as ‘good guys’ vs. the marketing team that is aligned with your economic interests. Just because they are good guys does not mean you will see the ROI you seek from their efforts. In contrast, a marketing approach that is tied to you topline and bottom line financial interests can be found and expected. This is the basis of his unique business model, because he believes benchmarking results of all marketing efforts helps you identify who your target market really is, where to find them, and to develop a coherent plan to reach them.

He went on to compare different marketing models, the mistakes of single tactic marketing approaches, and missed opportunities if marketing stagnates in the year or two before you sell your business.

Listen to the full interview here.

 

Boston Business Journal Quotes Kerri Salls

BBJ quote 042216

Transition planning takes years not months.

Owners should build a transition plan early and use that as a framework for every decision they make to better prepare the business, their team, themselves, their family and their finances for their optimum outcome.

How to Double Your Company’s Revenue (and Valuation) in 3 Simple Steps

Tuesday, January 26, Anaheim CA
Wednesday, January 27, Solana Beach, Del Mar CA
Thursday, January 28, Los Angeles CA

Get your company on the road
to Rapid Growth of
Revenue, Profit and Asset Value

 

Discover the simple steps you can take now to Accelerate Revenue Growth and operating results in this free breakfast seminar. This seminar is a brisk overview of how to achieve revenue goals and build value by discovering and leveraging the unique Value Drivers of your company.

Value growth & exit strategists Kerri Salls and Scott Warner will demonstrate how discovering the key drivers of your business can significantly accelerate growth of revenue, earnings and enterprise value. Learn how to create   reliable forecasts that lead to significantly higher valuations.

This 45 minute seminar provides an in-depth look at the how using the right tools and data can substantially simplify executive decision-making and create the leverage to grow your company.

Who should attend

  • CEOs and business owners looking to accelerate growth of revenue, earnings and the intrinsic value of their organization whether to capture that value in a liquidity event or simply to produce greater cash flow.
  • CEO advisors looking to learn more about this topic to better serve clients.

This seminar is most appropriate for companies with current annual revenues of $2M to $50M.

Cost: Free (breakfast included)

Schedule

7:00 Breakfast & Registration

7:30 Seminar starts

8:15 Q&A

We will be available for a few private consultations after the program. Contact us to register for your 30 minute session between 8:30 – 1.

Dates/Locations

Tuesday, January 26
Business Expo Center
1960 S. Anaheim Way, Anaheim,CA 92805

Wednesday, January 27
Courtyard Marriott Solana Beach/Del Mar
717 South Highway 101  Solana Beach,  California

Thursday, January 28
Zuber Lawlor and Del Duca (Sponsor)
777 South Figueroa Street 37th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017

Presented By

Your Momentum Partners at This Way Out Group LLC

Kerri Salls and Scott Warner

kerri_salls_1_color 204x201 cropped framed

Scott Warner

Registration

Preregistration is required. Registration closes January 22.
Limited seating at each venue. Register early.

Register here.

 

Portfolio Integration Failure is Private Equity Top Concern

Integration Failure

A 2014 Deloitte survey of private equity groups raised an area of concern that has always been costly to buyers and sellers but not addressed. In this survey, 54% of the private equity groups see the failure to integrate upon acquisition is an area of concern. They said:

“the inability to integrate effectively ranked not only as the most critical area of concern when pursuing a transaction, but also THE top concern for companies striving to achieve success in an M&A deal.”

And 87% of these survey participants identified the risk of integration failure as their 1st or 2nd most important concern.

Why is portfolio integration so important to private equity groups?

In pursuing a deal, the assumption is that portfolio integration will ensure that the goals, assumptions, and returns that the acquisition promised you, are achieved.

What does not get addressed is the planning and process of integration to achieve those goals, assumptions and financial returns. Acquirers over simplify the integration. They assume that integration involves visiting the acquisition for a week/month for six months and then they’ll naturally be acclimated and assimilated into their processes and culture.

The costs of not addressing integration before and after the deal

  • The cost to buyers – the deal implodes before you break even on the investment
  • The costs to sellers – the deal implodes before you achieve your earn out

In terms of survival, the best research we’ve found says:

  • Businesses under $5M at sale – only 3:10 deals survive three years
  • Business over $5M in Lower Middle Market at sale – only 5:10 deals survive three years

But that means up to 50-70% of all transactions result in a net loss! That’s a high risk to incur on every deal for both buyers and sellers.

Areas of Integration

That high risk of integration failure is avoidable. Successful integration includes a range of activities over an intended timeline leading up to the transaction and through a transition period. Start by opening a discussion in advance of the transaction to scope out differences and changes to address throughout integration. The basics start with:

  • Corporate culture differences
  • Employee retention and integration
  • Economies of Scale
  • Geographic Differences
  • Cross-selling Opportunities
  • Reporting structures
  • Accountability

Tradeoffs

Buyer and Seller should agree on who should be involved in the integration process. When the seller is engaged in a positive way, he has a voice to ensure company success, team integration, and he can be a champion of the deal for everyone. However, when the seller is engaged in a negative way, because he may be opposed to the plan terms and outcome, he may unintentionally sabotage the plan.

Seller Sabotage

Seller sabotage is real. But it’s rarely intentional. Without a transition plan and integration plan, the seller maybe just can’t let go. There may be too much friction between how she ran the business and how the acquirer or private equity group will run the business.

Most owners figure they can plan for their reinvention ‘after they get the deal done’, which is too late. Without a reinvention plan of purpose and passion pulling them forward, they fall back to what they have always known and their role in the ‘business family’ they have always had – which immediately handicaps integration success and their total return on the transaction itself.

Your integration plan can mitigate or prevent seller sabotage. Incorporate an integration plan into every transaction and transition plan.

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