When the owner of a business makes the decision to sell, he or she is taking a giant step that involves the emotions as well as the marketplace, each with its own set of complexities. Those sellers who are tempted to undertake the transaction on their own should understand both the process and the emotional environment that this process is set against. The steps outlined below are just some of the items for a successful sale. While these might seem daunting to the do-it-yourselfer, by engaging the help of a business intermediary, the seller can feel confident about what is often one of the major decisions of a lifetime.
1. Set the stage.
What kind of impression will the business make on prospective buyers? The seller may be happy with a weathered sign (the rustic look) or weeds poking up through the pavement (the natural look), but the buyer might only think, “What a mess!” Equally problematic can be improvements planned by the seller that appeal to his or her sense of aesthetics but that will, in fact, do nothing to benefit the sale. Instead of guessing what might make a difference and what might not, sellers would be wise to seek the advice of a business broker–a professional with experience in dealing regularly with buyers and with an eye experienced in properly setting the business scene.
2. Get the record(s) straight.
Although outward appearance does count, what’s inside the books is even more important. Ultimately, a business will sell according to the numbers. The business broker can offer the seller invaluable assistance in the presentation of the financials.
3. Weigh price against value.
All sellers naturally want to get the best possible price for their business. However, they also need to be realistic. To determine the best price, a business broker will use industry-tested pricing techniques that include ratios based on sales of similar businesses, as well as historical data on the type of business for sale.
4. Market professionally.
Engaging the services of a business broker is the key to the successful marketing of a business. The business broker will prepare a marketing strategy and offer advice about essential marketing tools–everything from a business description to media advertising. Through their professional networks and access to data on prospective buyers, business brokers can get the word out about the business far more effectively than any owner could manage on an individual basis.
There is no doubt that the times are definitely changing. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift across many industries, and the simple fact is that many industries will never return to the old normal. Success in the 21st century will require a good deal of adaptation and the ability to evaluate where you stand today and where you need to be tomorrow.
One of the cornerstones of being successful in life and in business is to embrace flexible thinking. A flexible approach to problems can lead to finding new and highly effective ways of tackling problems. Being able to find success in the 21st century is about much more than simply riding the next technological wave or trend. Instead, it is about being amongst the first to use flexible thinking to spot trends and developments ahead of the competition and exploit those developments first. Technology and the world are changing faster than ever. Being able to utilize fluid, flexible thinking to identify problems and then seek out cutting-edge solutions to those problems will be a key aspect for success in this century.
A Solid Plan
Flexible thinking is essential for success, but so is having a plan. Just as business leaders needed a plan to achieve final success two-thousand years ago, the same holds true today. In many ways, evolving technology has not reshaped basic logic.
You’ll want your business plan to strike the right balance between being rigid and flexible. At the same time, you’ll need a solid business plan that includes specific written goals and concrete time frames.
The days of ignoring technology or “working around” it are simply gone. The modern business landscape has integrated not just digital marketing, but digital financial transactions as well. This trend is only going to become more pronounced in the coming years.
The business landscape means understanding and embracing the fact that commerce now has a massive digital component at every level. The pandemic has served to accelerate this fact and has very likely permanently changed how business will be conducted in the future. Whether it is meeting clients or customers online for a Zoom or Skype meeting, embracing digital marketing, or a range of other changes, it is essential for business owners to recognize change and incorporate it into their business and their long-term plans.
You can try to fight the future, but in the end you will fail. Charting the right course for the future means having the right mindset and a great support team in your corner. Business Brokers and M&A Advisors are experts at helping business owners prepare their businesses for sale. Demonstrating that your business has adapted to the dynamic and ever-changing environment will help you make your business much more attractive to prospective buyers.
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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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.
The post 5 Tips for Dealing with Customer Complaints appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.
Finalizing a deal is usually a complex process with lots of room for error, misunderstandings, miscalculations, and good old-fashioned wild cards. That’s why it is critical to carefully think through the deal process well in advance. In this article, we’ll explore the top ten steps you can take to avoid wrecking a good deal.
- Confidentiality – Topping our “how not to wreck a deal list” is confidentiality. Everyone involved in the deal MUST take steps to avoid a breach. Experienced business brokers are experts at maintaining confidentiality.
- Flexibility – Inflexibility can absolutely destroy a deal. You shouldn’t go into a deal expecting to have all of your terms met.
- Be Open to Negotiations – Sellers are used to being their own bosses, but when it comes to successfully selling a business, no factor is quite as important as a willingness to negotiate.
- Advance Preparation – Sellers should have several years of well-prepared records and legal and accounting documents on hand. You can be 100% certain that any serious buyer will want to see your records and take a look at your financials.
- A Reasonable Selling Price – An inflated price will decrease the number of buyers that take a serious look at a business. Additionally, an unreasonable price may make a seller look uninformed. Business brokers and M&A advisors are experts at handling valuations. One of the single best ways to boost your chances of finalizing a sale is to establish a fair and justifiable price for your business.
- Maintain Operations – Far too often sellers lose track of the day-to-day operations once their business goes on the market It is absolutely vital that sellers continue operating their business as though it may never sell. It can take months or years to sell a business. The last thing any seller wants is for their business to lose value when they are in the process of trying to sell.
- Keep up the Momentum – A lack of momentum can kill a deal. Working with a business broker or M&A advisor is an easy way to make sure you maintain momentum throughout the process.
- Consider Your Buyer’s Needs – Serious buyers will need a variety of information from sellers in order to obtain financing. You can expect buyers to need appraisals of assets, information on environmental regulations, and more. Sellers should have this kind of key information ready and waiting.
- Encourage Competition – In general, it is a good idea to create a competitive situation – one in which prospective buyers know that there is more than one interested party. Brokerage industry professionals understand the delicacies of presenting this information.
- Seller Participation – Finally, sellers must stay involved in the entire process, and that includes being willing to help buyers during the transition. Showing a willingness to help during the transition period will help to foster goodwill and trust.
There are many reasons why a deal could potentially fall apart. You may not be able to control every single variable, but by following the ten key tips outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to increasing your chances of successfully completing a deal.
The post The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Wrecking a Deal appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.