If you’re going to exit, open the door first! Feb 01, 2017

For business owners…

There are 3 occasions when business owner-managers consider selling:

– When things change unexpectedly such as ill health or bereavement;
– When they realise they have taken the business as far as they can or want to;
– When it’s getting near to retirement.

In all 3 cases the danger is that the sale process is started before sufficient groundwork is done to ensure maximum sale value.

As the owner-manager you are probably the key asset with the experience and expertise. The business dances to your tune. So if the value of your business is what’s left after you’ve gone, where does that leave you?

Getting that experience and expertise spread evenly amongst those who will remain in the business and allowing a business to dance to its own tune is hard. It’s a cultural change. It takes time. And while you are too busy running the business how is it going to happen?

Giving employees and managers permission to take ownership of the decision¬-making process and take responsibility for the outcomes is hard for both you and them to come to terms with. But it is essential to liberate the value in your business.

You may need new key people to start to fill the skills gap. That might be a cultural change too, if they are any good.

So the race is on to build that value into the business to remain after your exit.

It is not a quick fix. Cultural changes never are.

Re-engineering your business to build sustained value through and beyond the sale process requires time and a lot of skill. If your workforce have not seen that before they will be suspicious of your motives. That’s not a good thing whilst you are also trying to market the business! But introducing organisational changes for the benefit of everyone and for the long term success of the business is a perfect mask for the business sale process.