Most businesses owners begin with the end in mind, and so when they set up a business, they visualise an exit plan. Creating a sustainable business model makes sense regardless of whether you’re a new start-up or if your business is long in the tooth. By taking the necessary steps now to make your business as valuable as possible, not only will you have a desirable business proposition for potential buyers in the future, but you also create a profitable present.
First things first; take a look at your systems. You could have the best-paying customers in the world receiving unparalleled customer service delivering an unbeatable product offering, but if your internal systems are a mess, you could very quickly lose the confidence of your potential buyer. IT systems are the backbone of most business so make sure you invest in a system that is smooth running and allows your business to run harmoniously.
The next step is to look at your employees. As with most teams, you’ll have a couple of 100%ers; staff members that if you cut them, they would bleed your company. The majority of your team might be great but a little rough around the edges, and in most companies, you always have those few staff members the rest of the team have to carry over the finish line. The brutal approach could be to drop any dead weight – however, by investing in your people, you invest in your future, so a much more profitable solution would be to identify your staff members strengths and play to them. Also, highlight any weaknesses and key areas of improvement so that you can action the appropriate training. What can you change within the organisation to make them want to be there? It is not always about money. By speaking to your staff, you can find what actually drives them and what makes them feel valued. Within reason you can start to look at what steps you can take to make it happen.
Your service offering
After you have systemised processes in place, and a team personally invested in the success of the organisation, you want to look at your service offering. Is it clear what you do as an organisation? Is your service compelling to customers? What separates you from your competition? Why should people buy what you have to sell? What benefits do they get from your service offering? What are other businesses doing better than you? What are your weaknesses when compared to the rest of the market? Is that something you need to change and if so, what are you doing about it? In a world where every industry is continuously evolving and improving, these are the sort of questions you need to keep asking yourself to ensure that what you have to offer is the best it can possibly be.
Your customer base
Your current customer base will go with your business, and so it is crucial that you choose your clients wisely. This tends to run parallel with your service offering. Are you operating a highly transactional based business with a huge footfall but lower quality products with a cheap price tag? Or do you value quality over quantity? People know like-minded people, and so if you attract quality customers who pay on time and are loyal; when they recommend your services, they tend to bring you more customers of the same calibre. Which is brilliant news for you and any potential future buyer. However, this rule does also apply to volatile, poor paying customers so be mindful who you attract.
With a plethora of feedback platforms and social media being a massive driving force behind a number of buying decisions, it’s incredibly difficult to hide away from terrible reviews if you have a lousy service offering. While no business is perfect, people do make mistakes, and customers can sometimes bend the truth when leaving a review, in general, you can tell the difference between a handful of complaints and a business you should avoid at all costs. A potential buyer is less likely to want to invest if they have an uphill battle before they even get started. On the flip side, if you have a proven track record and an excellent reputation in your industry, your business is more like to attract interest.
The bottom line is that potential buyers look for a company where they can see potential. Maximising on your growth before looking to sell can take away future value and minimise your sales potential. It is a lot more lucrative to sell while your expanding and so if you look at these five key areas, you can start adding a great deal of value to your business today.