There are unique attributes of a company that make it more attractive to a possible acquirer and/or more valuable. Certainly, the numbers are important, but potential buyers will also look beyond them. Factors that make your company special or unique can often not only make the difference in a possible sale or merger, but also can dramatically increase value. Review the following to see if any of them apply to your company and if they are transferable to new ownership.
Brand name or identity
Do any of your products have a well recognizable name? It doesn’t have to be Kleenex or Coke, but a name that might be well known in a specific geographic region, or a name that is identified with a specific product. A product with a unique appearance, taste, or image is also a big plus. For example, Cape Cod Potato Chips have a unique regional identity, and also a distinctive taste. Both factors are big pluses when it comes time to sell.
Dominant market position
A company doesn’t have to be a Fortune 500 firm to have a dominant position in the market place. Being the major player in a niche market is a dominant position. Possible purchasers and acquirers, such as buy-out groups, look to the major players in a particular industry regardless of how small it is.
Newsletters and other publications have, over the years, built mailing lists and subscriber lists that create a unique loyalty base. Just as many personal services have created this base, a number of other factors have contributed to the building of it. The resulting loyalty may allow the company to charge a higher price for its product or service.
A long and favorable lease (assuming it can be transferred to a new owner) can be a big plus for a retail business. A recognizable franchise name can also be a big plus. Other examples of intangible assets that can create value are: customer lists, proprietary software, an effective advertising program, etc.
The ability to charge less for similar products is a unique factor. For example, Wal-Mart has built an empire on the ability to provide products at a very low price. Some companies do this by building alliances with designers or manufacturers. In some cases, these alliances develop into partnerships so that a lower price can be offered. Most companies are not in Wal-Mart’s category, but the same relationships can be built to create low costs and subsequent price advantages.
Difficulty of replication
A company that produces a product or service that cannot be easily replicated has an advantage over other firms. We all know that CPA and law firms have unique licensing attributes that prevent just anyone off of the street from creating competition. Some firms have government licensing or agreements that are granted on a very limited basis. Others provide tie-ins that limit others from competing. For example, a coffee company that provides free coffee makers with the use of their coffee.
Technology, trade secrets, specialized applications, confidentiality agreements protecting proprietary information – all of these can add value to a company. These factors may not be copyrighted or patented, but if a chain of confidentiality is built – then these items can be unique to the company.
There are certainly other unique factors that give a company a special appeal to a prospective purchaser and, at the same time, increase value. Many business owners have to go beyond the numbers and take an objective look at the factors that make their company unique.
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What do your customers/clients say about your or your company when you’re not around?
What do the employees say about you or your company when you’re not around?
Those things represent your external and internal brands, says brand guru Skot Waldron, and they can help or hurt you. Waldron spoke on June 30 to the Georgia Association of Business Brokers about building brand loyalty.
At the end of the day, we all crave loyalty, Waldron says. We want loyalty from our family members, loyalty from our customers, loyalty from employees, and loyalty from the companies we dedicate ourselves to. Your brand is typically associated with how you appear on the outside and how you communicate your value to the world. Skot pushes this idea by saying your brand starts on the inside and drives what’s on the outside.
Things that hurt your internal brand:
- Generic vision/mission/values that inspires no one.
- No self-awareness.
- Passive aggressiveness
- You aren’t consistent in your communication.
You damage your external brand by:
- Treating marketing as an expense vs. an investment.
- Staying busy with day-to-day tactics instead of focusing on a strategy.
- Not differentiating your product or service.
- Not knowing how to clearly and confidently talk about your product or service.
- Being inconsistent and lacking a cohesive message
that resonates with people.
Skot recommends that entrepreneurs and small business people should ask trusted colleagues these questions: What five words would you use to
describe me/my business? What are my/our top 3 strengths? What are my/our top 3 weaknesses?
Skot’s PPT Presentation “Why People Aren’t Loyal to Your Brand & What to Do About It,” is linked here:Why People Aren’t Loyal to Your Brand
For the past 18 years, Skot Waldron’s brand work for clients such as J.P. Morgan Chase, CDC, Georgia Tech, Royal Caribbean, Sesame Workshop, Chiquita, and The Coca-Cola Company has included both employee-centric and customer-centric projects.
He helps organizations communicate more effectively with their employees and customers with the goal of creating more alignment, consistency, and loyalty. Skot believes you have to be healthy on the inside (culture) in order to truly be healthy on the outside (brand and marketing). He helps with both.
In addition to running his own coaching and creative agency, Skot has been teaching brand development at the Miami Ad School in Atlanta. He has also traveled to different cities in the U.S. to conduct communication training and speaks about how the value of branding pertains to us as individuals, teams, families, and businesses.
The Georgia Association of Business Brokers, the state’s largest and most prominent association of professionals dedicated to the purchase and sale of businesses and franchises, is holding brief weekly meetings online during the pandemic. Business brokers, bankers, business attorneys and other professionals join the weekly calls to ask and answer questions about buying and selling a business during the pandemic. The GABB also maintains a listing service with hundreds of Georgia businesses for sale.
To join the GABB’s Tuesday meetings, please go to
Meeting ID: 955 0652 0094