Based on anecdotal evidence I would say it’s quite common prior to selling a house that the owner invests in grooming the house for sale. I’m seeing a lot of contracting company signage next to the realtors “For Sale” signs. This grooming work can be quite extensive, including remodeling the kitchen, the master bathroom, stairway carpets, new roof, maybe some landscaping. Of course there is no guarantee that a prospective buyer will like it. However there’s a lot of competition out there and you want your house to stand out. You want your house to look remarkable at that price point, in that location relative to the competition.

Selling a business has similarities to selling a house. Preparation can make a huge difference to the price. Staging a house is about illusion, it’s the way David Copperfield would sell a house states Elizabeth Weintraub in Well staging a business is not an illusion, it’s real, but it is preparation nevertheless. Staging a business is something that can take years and every business owner should be doing it. There is no downside and you build a much better business, a more valuable business, every year whether you sell it or not. But I’m not seeing owners taking this approach! As the owner of a business maybe you have head trash. For example I’m never going to sell my business so why groom it? Really? This is the wrong mindset. Why not scale a business in a way that will also be valuable to an acquirer? Why not deploy an options strategy? That is to give yourself more options not less. Health, key staff leaving, technology, can all transform your view of exiting.

So here is the Roadmap to both scale your business and to increase the probability that outside investors will find it attractive. Practical tip: start to attack these items in a methodical manner using a set of 100-day action plans.

  1. Revisit the fundamental business you are in.
  2. Reevaluate your target audience.
  3. Develop concept statements that represent your current positioning and several new alternatives.
  4. Evaluate them for market potential, differentiating qualities, believability, and relevance.
  5. Examine the competition, your unique skills, and your value proposition.
  6. Define the exact set of activities that will define a market that you can excel in. A market in which you can truly be a global player over time.
  1. Reconcile your positioning with all of your current internal and external marketing communications.
  2. Define the voice of your company, that special narrative that will be remembered by prospects and compel them to take action.
  1. Define a comprehensive sales process that aligns your messaging with sales scripts that deliver rich conversations with your prospects.
  2. Teach sales professionals how to sound like businessman, put costs around problems, look for symptoms of live issues that have severe consequences.
  3. Teach curiosity and awareness of a prospect’s world, in their language.
  4.  Explain and develop Engagement Strategies to realize a far higher level of traction between you and your customers.
  1. Make sure that your product portfolio aligns with your positioning.
  2. Build the best products by bringing the right people together in a continuous cycle of innovation.
  3. Build a culture inside your business that is always challenging itself to stay ahead of the curve.
  4. And when it comes to actually developing and shipping product, use a DSMO approach, aligning Development, Sales, and Marketing & Operations to ensure that the product or service is market ready at launch date.
  5. Build a new approach to innovation, aligning development teams with marketing, sales and operations teams. This guarantees that the whole company is fit for every product/service launch including the post launch integration into your systems.
  1. From PepsiCo to Facebook to local world-class players that are not household names; the problem of talent acquisition and retention is huge.
  2.  Create a series of low cost actions that dramatically improves your odds in the Talent War.
  3. Tactics such as the creation of internal universities to train your workforce,
  4.  Create innovative incentive schemes, design new organizational structures that drive projects instead of departments.
  5. Create a new approach to recruitment to capture the best talent when you need it. Always be recruiting for your bench.
  1. Today’s technology allows us to measure a plethora of key performance indicators (KPIs) with the speed and accuracy only dreamt about 10 years ago.
  2. Utilize data visualization technology to stay focused and current on your key KPIs.
  3. The key is to understand that, who you are, is what you measure.
  4. This is one great example of the holistic nature of Staging, Grooming a business, linking the Positioning with the Metrics, you create a set of KPIs both financial and non-financial that measure the right stuff.
  5. Building on your existing metrics creates an enhanced reporting system that generates clear actions required.
  6. This allows you to audit the signals, keeping management agile and alert.
Business Models:
  1. It’s really quite logical that an acquirer would want to buy a company with a reliable, long-term stream of revenue and profits.
  2. Therefore the psychology behind any business model designed to maximize your exit value is all about predictable sales and earnings growth.
  3. Examine the various ways of bringing your product to market and the economics of various scenarios.
  4. Now whether you ever plan to sell your business or raise investment money or borrow long-term finance from your bank, there is no downside in building a more reliable business.
  5. Review, test and evolve better ways of making money.
  6. This includes everything from simple trade terms and contract improvements to radical new business models.
Capital structure:
  1. Examine your capital structure and ensure you have the firepower to execute your plan.
  2. What is your Budget telling you that you need, to fund the business?
  3. Are you funding the long-term needs of the business with short-term capital?
  1. Finally risk assessment is about ensuring you remain agile to change.
  2. It ensures you have reviewed the material risks within your business.
  3. We often use SWOT analysis and scenario planning to test a client’s readiness for change.
  4. It ensures you have a strategy to mitigate those risks whether they relate to financial matters, succession issues, contract exposures, customer dependencies, internal control gaps, accounting treatment, or forecasting ability.
  5. Create a new enhanced set of light, simple processes to ensure that all compliance, regulatory and control issues are dealt with as a normal part of trading.

And if you want to hear this stuff live – come to a great Bootcamp event in Boston’s new innovative District Hall – Image above.

We are currently scaling niche software/hardware busnesses in the materials testing space and in IP wireless mesh routing technology. Annual Sales running at $5m to $50m? Want to scale not just grow? Reach out to Ian.