Many people ask us whether this might be a good time to sell their company. Has the economy stabilized enough to make it worth their while? The short answer is, now is as good a time as any. But the question you really should be asking has nothing to do with what is happening in the economy. The right question should be “Is your company in saleable condition?” It is definitly the right time to rejuvenate and strengthen profitability so that in a year or two, your company is worth buying. And in the meantime, you will be rewarding the current investors… you!
So if you have been cutting costs and waiting in your comfort zone until buying cycles pick up, in hopes that you can survive till then, you have been playing the wrong game. Waiting is the least powerful thing you could do right now. If you really want to be in saleable condition, you need to get up out of that chair and learn how to add more tools to your bag of tricks beyond cutting expenses and paring back staff. Here are the three most powerful things you can do to improve your return on investment that will also help you start down the path of being a company and investor would actually want to buy:
1. Get Back to Basics: GIVE VALUE. Focus on standing in the shoes of your customer. What do they need that would improve the value they receive from your company and what would remove the hassles of doing business with you. Now is the time to innovate your product by building better service around it, helping solve the right problem for your customer. Get out in the field and start learning what frustrates them and then find a way to relieve that frustration. Give back. Be generous. Your efforts will be rewarded.
2. Think Bigger: NOT SMALLER. Build up your gross margin. Think of rounding up prices and mark ups. Do not give volume discounts, solve problems for customers instead. You will never make back a price discount with volume.
3. Forge Partnerships: JOINT VENTURE. You need to get to a broader market. Where can you add value to another company’s product or service? Team up. Bundle up. You sell their product to your channel, they sell yours to their channel. Now you both have a broader distribution channel. Keep each other warm this winter and it will pay off in spades come spring.
And while you are doing all that, start learning a lot more about what it takes to become saleable. It’s a lot more work than you think. Start by taking this quick quiz from the Globe & Mail It’s your time to get ahead of all the other business owners who prefer their comfort zone over the fast lane.