Posts tagged with: valuable business

Will Your Business Be More Valuable this Time Next Year?

For many, January is a time of rebirth and resolutions. It’s a month to reflect on last year’s achievements and to set goals for the year ahead. July 1, six months later, is a good time to revisit goals, resolutions, and progress made towards this year’s achievements.

 

Some people set personal goals like losing weight or quitting a nasty habit, and most company owners set business goals that focus on hitting certain revenue or profit milestones. But if your goal is to own a more valuable business this year, you may want to commit to at least one of the following business resolutions:

 

  • Take a two-week (or even three-week) vacation without checking in with the office (i.e., no cell phone). When you return, you’ll see how well your company performed and where you need to make a key hire or create a new system.

 

  • Write down at least one process per month. You know you need to document your systems, but you may be overwhelmed by the task of taking what’s inside your head and putting it down in writing for others to follow. Resolve to document one system a month and by the end of the year you’ll own a more sellable company.

 

  • Offload at least one customer relationship. If you’re like most business owners, you’re still your company’s best salesperson, but this can be a liability in the eyes of an acquirer, which is why you should wean your customers off relying on you personally as their point person. By the time you sell, none of your key customers should think of you as their relationship manager.

 

  • Cultivate a new relationship with a new supplier. Having a “go to” group of suppliers is great, but an over-reliance on one or two suppliers can create a liability for your business. By spreading some of your business to other suppliers, you keep your best suppliers hungry and you can make a case to an acquirer that you have other sources of supply for your critical inputs.

 

  • Create a recurring revenue stream. Valuable companies can look into the future and see where their revenue is going to come from. Recurring revenue models can vary from charging customers a small amount for a special level of service to offering a warranty or service contract.

 

  • Find your lease (and any other key contracts). When it comes time to sell your company, a buyer will want to see your lease and understand your obligations to your landlord. Having your lease handy can save time and avoid any nasty surprises at the eleventh hour in the process of selling your company.

 

  • Check your contracts and make sure they would survive a change of ownership of your company. If not, talk to your lawyer about adding a line to your agreements that states the obligations of the contract “surviving” in the event of a change of ownership of your company.

 

  • Start tracking your Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS methodology is the best predictor that your customers will re-purchase from you and/or refer you, which are two key indicators of a healthy and successful company. It’s also why many strategic acquirers and private equity companies use NPS as a way to measure the health of their acquisition targets during due diligence.

 

  • Get your Sellability Score. Every goal starts with a benchmark of where you’re at today, and by understanding your company’s Sellability Score, you can pinpoint how you’re doing now and which areas of your business are dragging down your company’s value.

 

A lot of company owners set New Year’s resolutions around their revenue or profits for the year ahead, but those goals are blunt instruments. Instead of just building a bigger company, also consider making this the year you build a more valuable one.  Pick two resolutions from the list above to execute before the end of the year. Email me what you will do. I’ll keep you accountable to make yours a more valuable business.

Prevention IS Better Than Cure

To grow a valuable business – one you can sell – you need to set up your company so that it is no longer reliant on you. This can be easier said than done, especially when, like a PR consultant or plumber, what you are selling is your expertise.

To scale up a knowledge-based business, you first have to figure out how to impart your knowledge to your employees, so that they can deliver the goods. However it can be difficult to condense years of school and on-the-job learning into a few weeks of employee training. The more specialized your knowledge, the harder it is to hand off work to juniors.

The key to scaling up a service business can often be found by offering the service that prevents customers from having to call you in the first place. You have to shift from selling the cure to selling the prevention.

Fixing what is broken is typically a hard task to teach; however, preventing things from breaking in the first place can be easier to train others to do.

For example, it takes years for a dentist to acquire the education and experience to successfully complete a root canal, but it’s relatively easy to train a hygienist to perform a regularly scheduled cleaning.

It’s almost effortless for a real estate manager to hire someone to clean the eaves trough once a month, but repairing the flooded basement caused by the clogged gutters can be quite complex.

For a master car mechanic, overhauling an engine that has seized up takes years of training, but preventing the problem by regularly changing a customer’s oil is something a high school student can be taught to do.

For an IT services company, restoring a customer’s network after a virus has invaded often takes the know-how of the boss, but preventing the virus by installing and monitoring the latest software patches is something a junior can easily be trained to do.

When you’re selling your expertise, it can be tough to hire a team to do the work for you. As ironic as it sounds, sometimes the key to getting out of doing the work is to offer a preventive service, which not only maintains your business income, but also eliminates the need for someone to call you in the first place.

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