Having recently spent an afternoon engrossed in the movie “House of Gucci”, one particular word that I paid attention to throughout was “LEGACY”. The notion of leaving something (upon your Exit) to be proud of, for the next generation/s (whether this be family or not) to continue and build on, was certainly one of the key storylines. Even though the Gucci story, in particular, turned ugly and lethal, the notion of Legacy for many other Business Owners does not appear to get the level of consideration it deserves, especially if there is no family member willing to take up the mantle when the Owner will/can not.
In addition, during one of the 2021 Melbourne-style lockdowns, I spent some time catching up on the latest from Changethis.com, with Decoding Family Business striking a chord. Not so much in terms of the insights, it provided (which I also agree with) but more about the greater meaning and therefore impact of “family”, whether the actual family members work in the business or not. Working with many businesses of all shapes and sizes over 10 years of Business Brokering, my view is that all business is a “family” business.
“If you’re part of such a [family] business or working for one, the business’s uniqueness will be no surprise to you. But that doesn’t mean you always understand how and why the business operates the way it does.”
Or even how decisions are made. Or whether, as a long-term employee, you should be included in some decisions, especially when it impacts your future directly… like the Exit of the Business Owner for example.
As noted in Decoding Family Business “… family businesses have three defining characteristics:
Some individuals, especially owners, have a huge impact.
Family businesses are held together by relationships, which are multidimensional and interlocking.
Everyone’s behavior is shaped by system dynamics, some of which you may not even realise.“
Remove the word “family” in regard to these points, and you could be talking about most small businesses going about their work, possibly in silence, where individuals can also be long-term employees (as opposed to direct family).
To be able to really unpack the desires and feelings of the Owner and associated loved ones is paramount to a successful sale of the business when it comes to Exit. But, so is the importance of the impact on long-serving employees, and customers, and suppliers. Each of these may ultimately influence the Business Owner, whether explicitly or not, in the details of the deal being agreed and the subsequent signing of a Contract of Sale in terms of formalising the decision.
Where long-serving employees, and customers, and suppliers are not family, even though sometimes they may be referred to as such, they are nonetheless the community that keeps the business alive and ticking. And it’s highly likely that they do/will have a vested interest in what happens to the business when it’s time for the Owner to move on.
Part of the Art of being a good Business Broker (which you must be to last 10 years in this industry) is to fundamentally understand the driving forces behind the decision-making within the business context, especially at Exit time.
In my experience, there are typically 3 reasons why an Owner/s is looking to sell:
PayDay is where it all starts. It is after all the most tangible. How much is it worth? How much does the Owner want? How big is the gap? What can be done about it?
And sometimes, it can be where it ends. What is the deal? Terms and conditions? Is this the best we can expect/accept? Time to move on…
However, what I’ve come to learn is that Freedom and Legacy definitely play a strong hand in the final outcome. It’s just that no monetary value can be placed on just how instrumental these are. To not apply the respectful amount of consideration in regard to how the Exit will impact those closest to the business, and who it will impact can come back and bite the Owner, just when they’re hoping for smooth sailing…
(to be continued…)
As explored in “Business is Personal; Small Business and Owners – a Love Letter” earlier this year, Small Business can be the most wonderful and fulfilling business-life partner you’re looking for.
And sometimes it is not…
When it comes to business, we like to think we are strategic and thorough in our approach. We want to believe we know where our talents and opportunities lie, we spend years (and a fortune) on gleaning advice and (maybe) attending training and professional development, we devote all our collective energies to progressing, keeping a vigilant and jealous eye on the progress of our rivals.
Consequently, when (as a business owner) we’re ready to exit, it should be the easy bit.
We don’t expect there to be any particular complexity in this part of the plan. We’ve decided we want to relax and have fun, and envisage the only obstacles to such goals might be finding the right buyer, so that the business is sold for a song. We adopt an almost laissez-faire, she’ll-be-right-mate attitude, and readily take up suggestions of others without rigorous scrutiny, sometimes, without thinking about things too much at all really.
What becomes painfully obvious when we do get serious is that is what we’ve missed for many years. We fail to note that our business is so much more that just-a-business and not worth nearly as much as we think we deserve, because we insist on being haphazard and even slow about the planning and execution of the Exit. We stick to being guided by internet searches, hearsay, unlearned opinions and muddled instinct when we should be harnessing reason and independent advice from those who play in this space. We end up being a lot more miserable than we might be because we have not taken this part of the business lifecycle more seriously.
And we don’t because we assume that what worked for others will work for us too.
It doesn’t readily occur to us to take our unique situation, both in terms of the business itself and what it means to us and our family and our staff and our suppliers and our customers and our community overall, into account. But most of all, personally and individually.
We’re always looking for clues as to when to even acknowledge the question of Exiting the Business in the first instance, and then when to think about actioning it. Here are 7 to get started:
- No Longer Enjoyable: some owners may not enjoy operating the business any more.
Whilst this might seem simplistic, it’s not. If we’re finding it’s a struggle to do what we once did with joy – why? is it the business itself? is it the people we are working with? is it what’s happening at home impacting on our workplace? Have we found something new to tickle our fancy? Are we just over it? Do we want to leave a legacy that is represented by our business, continuing well into the future, but want someone else to take the reins?
- Personal Debt: successful businesses can be sold to pay off owners personal debt.
Have we found ourselves in a position where we’re staying awake at night worrying about the amount of debt we’re carrying and/or meeting the repayment regime? Is the business the one asset that could be sold that will address this, freeing us up from the burden and for our next add-venture? Is it a choice between the business or the family home?
- Capitalisation: to reap the dividends for many years of hard working by capitalising.
“Capitalisation of profits implies plowing the money back into the business, or keeping it on the balance sheet for some future, yet-unidentified opportunity, or to return some or all of the profit to its shareholders, in the form of cash dividends or new shares” (investopedia.com) Do we really want to sell, or just be able to get some hard-fought-for funds out? Is selling shares a way to do this, and to eventually move the business on over time? Is it a way to at least share the load?
- Ill Health: the owner may need to sell on health grounds.
We’ve had a health check and the feedback is not what we wanted to hear. What do we do now? Do we put the business on the market tomorrow? Do we think all will be right and not worry about it? Do we start making calls to work out what options we have over what timeframes? Do we remonstrate ourselves for not having the business in a more saleable shape?
- Limited Potential: not seeing potential or poor performance.
What future does our business have? Is our business ready to take on new initiatives? Is it in an industry on the decline or incline? Can it be reworked, repurposed, recycled, or refurbished? Do we know what to do to bring it into the 21st century but don’t have the energy or the care factor? Do we not know what to do, and not really sure which way to turn or who to pay attention to? Is this as good as it’s going to get for the foreseeable future, and therefore now would be the time to move it on before there’s more deterioration?
- New Project: owners may want to free up time to pursue a new project in mind.
Freedom plays a big part in thinking about Exit. If we didn’t spend all our time running our business, what would we do instead? What could we do instead? What have we learnt through being a business owner that we can now apply to another path? What angle in our existing business have we discovered that excites us more? Would we actually prefer to be doing something completely different?
- Work/Life Balance: balancing work with life, or maybe even retirement.
Maybe we’ve just had enough…
We want more balance, whatever this means for us.
We don’t want to die with our particular appetites and intense sensations tragically unexplored.
If we use ourselves as our point of reference, what would our life without the business look like? What would we talk about?
How would we identify ourselves? to others?
What have we enjoyed in the past and might we recreate?
What might we learn to say no to and contrastingly, to emphasise going forward?
What’s becoming evident to us as the Business Owners that we are, is that what’s been happening of late (or for the last number of years) cannot continue. Even if we’ve done well, we probably can’t just shut the business down without affecting and upsetting many others, and maybe we don’t really want to do this either. So what are the real options?
Selling the business is definitely one…
If any or all of these possible considerations are resonating, it’s time to work out what to do. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it has highlighted how something can come out of nowhere and completely disrupt our world, whether we’ve been fabulous folk, excellent at business, or otherwise.
Let’s put this learning to good use…
Call me +61 3 8560 0524
FREE Appraisal from this viewpoint…
CONTACT ME https://www.theentrepreneurialmother.com.au/talk-to-me
Start this new financial year off with a line-in-the-sand Appraisal as to the worth of your business, so you can make informed decisions towards your ultimate goal of EXIT (whether this be planned or not!).
For you, this will be complimentary with my pleasure…
#appraisal #sellbusiness #buybusiness #businesssales #xcllusive #denisehall
It might just be, and here’s why… January is often when prospective business buyers have the time to sit down and do a bit of forward planning and subsequent investigating. So, if your business is not on our website xcllusive.com.au, or one of the other business-for-sale type sites, then it cannot be found. Meaning now is the time to do the pre-work to get the business on the market by end of 2018, in readiness for business shoppers at the start of 2019.
If you’re unsure when to pull the trigger, there are typically 3 considerations when thinking about selling your business:
- Financial (money driven)
- Freedom (personal driven)
- Legacy (business driven)
Whilst Financial is often the one that is led with (because it is the most tangible place to start), it is not the only reason to sell. Freedom and Legacy play equally important roles in determining when to go to market and even who to sell your business to.
With really good food, indulge your brain, learn business secrets from industry experts and revitalise your business by attending our Business Builders Bonanza Sales and Cashflow event on August 11.
If you want a little extra enticement, then come for the excellent catering that we supply. With 4 hours of seminar style learning with Q&A opportunities followed by a relaxed couple of hours to enjoy luxurious food and wine and continue to pick the brains of our speakers, this is not an event to miss. It’s a golden opportunity to expand your business goals and further your growth.
Jump in now and get your tickets here: https://rebrand.ly/SALESANDCASHFLOWMEETUP
This August, business operators will have the unique opportunity to access some of the finest experts in the small business realm, courtesy of a skills summit delivered directly to them online.
Featuring myself plus 60 presenters and spanning 11 days, the summit will cover all the essential areas of business, with topics including business mindset, identifying the ideal customer, wellbeing, the business bottom line, marketing and how to get out!
Attendees can pick and choose the presenters they wish to see, engage in question and answer forums, or enjoy the convenience of accessing information for three months after the event. And it all takes place in the comfort of a business operator’s office, home or even while they’re on holidays.
An initiative of Business Business Business, the Small Business Skills Summit was designed to offer business owners the best tools and expertise available in a convenient, accessible form.
“We know the power that knowledge and learning offer businesses, and we also get that the demands of being a small business owner make it hard to get away to attend seminars for days”
“That’s why this innovative seminar has been crafted to deliver skills and advice directly to their door.”
Months in the planning, the Small Business Skills Summit lineup features experts ranging from business coaches to PR and marketing professionals, accountants and seasoned entrepreneurs.
It will provide an insight into business best practice but also offer a forum for business operators to ask questions of presenters.
The summit is supported by handouts and a dedicated Facebook page where presenters will be available immediately after their presentation to take questions on the topics covered.
Business operators can opt to log on and watch a presentation, then take part in the Q&A on the day, or choose to watch the presentations at their leisure in the three months that follow.
Attendees can pick and choose the topics that interest them, or embrace the entire program for the full gamut of skills available.
The Small Business Skills Summit runs from August 6 to 16, with enrollments OPEN NOW