There can be no doubt that selling your business stands as one of the most complex and important decisions you’ll likely ever make. It is quite often the case that a business represents decades, or even a lifetime, of dedicated work. In this article, we’ll examine some of the key steps that you should take when it comes time to sell.
One of the most important steps that any seller can take is to begin the sales process far in advance of the date that he or she plans to put the business on the market. Working with an experienced business broker or M&A advisor (and doing so preferably years in advance) is one of the single best ways to ensure that you’ll be ready to sell your business when the time comes. It will also help you to avoid the numerous pitfalls that potentially await.
A good brokerage professional can also help identify weaknesses in your business and help you address those issues; however, this is only the beginning. Your broker can help you with everything from strategy and negotiations, maintaining confidentiality and establishing the market value of your business, to connecting you with other seasoned professionals, such as accountants and lawyers.
A third key point that all sellers should consider is their own psychology. It is vital that all sellers remain flexible in their approach to selling their business and also remain respectful of prospective buyers. It is important that you put yourself in the shoes of your buyer and try to think of what they will need to feel confident in their decision.
The right seller psychology is also absolutely essential. Sellers should not attempt to rush or force a sale or overprice their business. In short, you need to keep “your head in the game” and as much as possible, keep your emotions out of the process.
Sellers also need to realize that the statistics strongly indicate that seller financing is likely. Only 75% of sellers ultimately receive their asking price, and businesses that are listed as “all cash” generally don’t sell. Reasonable sales terms will greatly increase the chances of successfully selling a business. It is common that sellers fail to realize just how much interest they can generate by financing the sale of their business. A reasonable down payment is also another way to improve the odds of selling a business. Being willing to offer financing makes a clear statement to a prospective buyer that you believe in the business and its ability to generate revenue. From a buyer’s perspective an “all cash” demand can be a red flag.
At the end of the day, an open mind and steady temperament will increase your chances of selling. You may want to sell your business and completely move on to new things. But the reality of selling a business is such that “walking away” may not be feasible. Transitioning your business into the hands of a new owner is usually more of an ongoing process than a “sign on the dotted line and receive a check” type of situation. Understanding this fact, and working closely with a business broker or M&A advisor in advance of selling your business, will help to streamline the sales process and greatly improve your chances of a successful outcome.
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ATLANTA, GA—More than 24,000 jobs were created across all regions of Georgia by economic development projects in Georgia during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2021, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced. These projects total over $8.43 billion in new investments, representing a 67% increase in new investments compared to the first nine months of the previous fiscal year. Likewise, job creation is up 49% over the same period during fiscal year 2020.
“Creating high-paying jobs for hardworking Georgians – no matter their zip code – has been a key priority of mine since day one,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “These numbers show that our continued, targeted investments in K-12 education, workforce development, and innovative partnerships are doing exactly what they’re supposed to – delivering opportunities to Georgians in every corner of the Peach State.”
During the third quarter of the fiscal year between January and March 2021, Georgia also further solidified its position as an internationally recognized tech hub and data center region with game-changing commitments from Airbnb, The Adecco Group, and Google. Microsoft also announced plans to build on their existing Georgia footprint to develop one of the company’s largest hubs in metro Atlanta. The company will also establish new data centers in Fulton and Douglas counties. Georgia’s significant fiscal year-to-date totals do not include complete details on the expected investments and job creation totals from Microsoft or Airbnb.
Georgia business expansions accounted for 68% of all projects and total investments as companies chose the state as the best locations for growth. New locations to the state accounted for 58% of new jobs in economic development projects from July 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021.
Food processing, manufacturing, and logistics and distribution industries in the state continued their robust pace of development, accounting for 63% of jobs created by economic development projects. Georgia’s automotive and information and technology industries also continued to flourish, accounting for nearly 5,000 new jobs generated three-quarters into the fiscal year.
A few examples of newly announced projects across the state include Freshly opening their first Southeastern U.S. facility in Cobb County, Sailfish Boats expanding in the southwest Georgia city of Cairo, and Feit Electric investing in their first East Coast distribution facility in McDonough. Brake pad supplier KB Autosys selected Meriwether County in west Georgia for their first U.S. automotive manufacturing facility, near customers in the region, such as Hyundai, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, and General Motors.
“Georgia’s economy is diverse, promising, and continuing to gain momentum,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “One year ago today, we faced an extremely volatile and uncertain economic future. I extend my thanks to all of our private and public sector partners for the incredible amount of resilience they have shown and for helping us maintain Georgia’s position as the No. 1 state to live, work, and raise a family.”
To view state announcements from the first three quarters of the fiscal year, visit www.georgia.org/newsroom.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.
Companies of all sizes frequently fail to handle customer complaints appropriately. In the digital era, where complaints can be seen by hundreds, thousands or go viral to millions, it is essential that customer complaints, especially serious ones or ones backed by considerable emotion, are treated seriously and dealt with in a timely manner.
If you are failing to provide good customer service, this should be corrected. After all, offering decent customer service is neither costly nor overly complicated. At its core, good customer service can be reduced down to this: listening to the customer, letting the customer know that their complaint has been acknowledged and catalogued, and working to remedy the situation.
A good positive attitude and staying calm when dealing with irritated or dissatisfied customers can go a long way towards keeping a customer happy and preventing them from spreading negative feedback in a public forum. Let’s look at five tips for effectively dealing with customer complaints.
Tip #1 – Take a Proactive Stance
A good attitude and a proactive stance can go a very long way towards calming an unhappy or angry customer. A disappointed customer wants to know that they are being heard and that steps are being taken to remedy their situation. Clearly communicating that you are working to fix the situation and doing so in a positive manner will satisfy most negative customer scenarios.
Tip #2 – Act Quickly to Fix the Problem
Once a customer is calm and is feeling a little better about your company, your next step is to fix the problem. When you promise to address a problem, you must follow through or risk damaging your company’s reputation. Failing to follow up on that promise could backfire and leave customers feeling that they were manipulated.
Tip #3 – Always Stay Calm
If a customer writes an email or posts a negative review online, then they are obviously very unhappy. But if a customer is angry enough to pick up the phone and call, you can be fairly certain that the customer is extremely upset. Don’t be surprised if this anger boils over on the phone call. That’s why your customer service people need to be ready to deal with that anger in a calm and collected manner. Customer service team members or salespeople should never match the anger of a customer. Instead, they should focus on demonstrating that they are committed to fixing the problem. It will benefit you to invest in employee training so that employees are ready to deal with angry or disappointed customers.
Tip #4 – Look for Customer Dissatisfaction Problem Patterns
If the same complaints and issues come up again and again, there’s a larger problem you must address. Don’t dismiss multiple customer complaints from different customers as a “headache.” Instead, view it as an opportunity to improve your goods and/or services. Once you have detected a negative customer service pattern, be sure that you and your team move quickly to remedy the problem. Your business will be stronger for doing so in the long run.
Tip #5 – Track Your Success
Never assume that you have successfully addressed customer service issues until customers have, in fact, verified that the situation is resolved. That’s why you should follow up with customers and ask for feedback via either questionnaires in the mail, email follow ups, or phone calls.
Customer complaints that are not appropriately addressed can fester and become larger problems. The time, effort, and money you invest in boosting the quality of your customer service team will yield significant positive results for the long-term.
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