Tag Archives: jerry mills

Selling the Company

6 Steps to Selling Your Business

If you’re a typical small business owner, you spend more of your time working on today’s issues than tomorrow’s potential. That may keep the doors open for now, but what about when you’re ready to retire, or no longer have the will or energy to run your business?

As mid to large businesses grow, owners typically realize they’ll need to find a way out, but most small business owners do not have an exit strategy. Rather than simply selling inventory and closing the doors, the suggestion is that small business owners can increase their wealth by capitalizing on the goodwill or customer base they’ve built up. Here are some basic business practices that many entrepreneurs overlook, but can help keep the company buffed up and ready for the marketplace.

Key Business Practices:

1. Write down the business processes You can’t sell a business that is in your head. So, you need to write it down. Entrepreneurs don’t typically like dealing with details and the fine points, but you must document how everything works in your organization. For example, spell out the roles of management and employees, not titles, but their actual responsibilities. Or describe a typical customer visit. Franchise companies list these types of details; a small business owner can use the same tactics to show the value of their company to a potential buyer.

2. Set financial goals You cannot sell a business that is not making money. And, how do you know if you’re growing if you don’t know where you started and where you’re going? Once you’ve set some target goals, measure them on a regular basis. Look at the internal processes of your business and make sure they are still working for your customers and your company alike. You may be pleasing customers, but are you making money? Know what your return on investment is, so you can explain it to those interested in buying your company.

3. Have a marketing budget and plan Many small business owners don’t allocate money for marketing. A marketing plan, with a corresponding budget, is key to attracting and keeping customers. One rule of thumb is to spend the equivalent of one staff salary on your marketing and advertising. Think of it as your “silent” employee working 24/7. Market awareness of your brand and demonstrated customer loyalty can dramatically increase the value to potential purchasers. Marketing is the last thing you cut even if times are bad.

4. Keep track of customer information Often, the most valuable aspect of a business to a potential buyer is your customer list, especially if your potential buyer is a competitor. Keeping track of customer contact information including name, address, phone number and email (along with permission to contact them electronically) is a must. Being able to deliver customer profiles and buying habits to a new owner demonstrates how well your business is run and makes your customer list invaluable. If business owners don’t have customer data, they’ll be in trouble.

5. Keep employees in the loop Your staff represents your company to customers and buyers alike. Make sure they know your goals. Communicate with your employees and ask for ideas. They can help you dress the business up for sale. If you’ve decided to sell because the business is in trouble, let them know. It is unlikely to be a surprise and few things demoralize a staff more than having to rely on water cooler rumors. Try to avoid staff salary cuts if possible. Your people are the face of your business and a salary cut may backfire. Try looking at your business processes and finding ways to save money instead.

6. Get professional advice Identify the areas of your operation that need improvement and look for specialized help to simplify your processes. Make sure to test them before the potential buyer does. There are consulting professionals on a part-time basis who have knowledge implementing transition strategies for businesses and can help you, for a reduced fee.

So, don’t ignore one of the most vital elements of your business plan, the exit strategy. With careful planning and monitoring from day one, your last days of business can bring rich rewards.

Business Management

Leadership Vs. Management: What’s The Difference?

Leadership and management, management and leadership; some individuals see these terms as interchangeable synonyms. However, there are several important differences.

First, let’s differentiate between a manager and a leader. Managers are to exercise executive, administrative and supervisory direction of a team, group or organization. A leader, on the other hand, is future-focused and works to influence or guide a group of individuals to achieve a common goal through inspiration rather than task completion.

So what are the key differences, and what skills and traits are necessary to succeed as a manager and as a leader? A manager generally receives his/her authority based on his/her role. A leader’s authority is innate in his/her approach. A common expression also tells us that leadership is doing the right thing, while management is doing things right.

Jerry L. Mills, founder of B2B CFO, says that every organization has three types of employees: finders, minders and grinders.

The Finder: The entrepreneur, the visionary, the leader, the idea generator and the catalyst for future change — finders work in the future.

The Minder: The administrative, accounting and operational staff of the company — minders are historians; they work in the past.

The Grinder: The people who do the physical work of the company, grinders may be construction workers out in the field or telemarketers at a desk. Grinders work for today and are not concerned about the future or the past.

When organizations work in tandem allowing each employee to both know and execute his/her role, things run smoothly.

As a business owner, at times I’ve made the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. I have learned to recognize in others and within myself the traits most important to posses in order to maintain a clear vision. I have also learned what traits I need as a manager to help our business succeed. These traits are cross disciplinary and can be applied whether you work in plumbing, finance or the arts.

Business Leaders Skills

Lead by example 

Pitch in wherever needed. A leader cannot be afraid to get his/her hands dirty. When your employees are in the trenches, you’re in the trenches.

Passion 

Your leader must believe in what he/she is doing as well as the work the company, organization or team is engaged in. This is not an instance where faking it until you make it will work.

Organization 

Without clear organization, your company will be chasing its own tail and wasting valuable time.

Delegate 

The leader cannot do or be everything to everyone. Successful delegation includes giving ownership of the work their assigned.

Communicate Effectively 

Employees, or grinders, need to know their work is important. Be precise, specific and concise.

Business Management Skills

Great customer service skills 

No matter the business, no matter the location, no matter the service, a manager cannot succeed without being service-minded.

Self-motivation and dependability 

Managers must be capable of doing their job without being micromanaged. They must be committed to putting their all into the job every day. Managers need to be capable of making even the most challenging of circumstances a success.

Integrity and trustworthiness 

By hiring someone that you can trust, you’ll reduce your own stress levels. The business owner will be able to place his/her focus on growing the business.

Be a team player 

Managers must be committed to their team. A manager is the liaison who has to be able to work well and communicate with both employees and executives.

Conflict resolution abilities 

Serving as liaison allows the manager to be in the know from both ends. They need to be able to see conflicts as they arise and nip them in the bud before they turn devastating.