I HAVEN'T HAD A VACATION IN THREE YEARS.
I AM OVERWHELMED WITH MY PRIORITIES.
I SPEND ALL OF MY TIME IN MY BUSINESS AND NOT ENOUGH TIME WITH MY FAMILY.
CLIENT PROJECTS ARE NOT GETTING DONE ON TIME.
Have you developed a Block Schedule and set clear boundaries with your Team? Develop an Organization Chart with Position Descriptions that define employees responsibilities, delegate, communicate expectations and desired results with weekly accountability and reviews and set the review times in your Block Schedule.
OUR EMPLOYEE TURNOVER IS TOO HIGH.
MY BUSINESS PARTNER IS A JERK.
Partnerships are difficult. Have you sat down with someone else to help facilitate an open and transparent conversation between you and your partner? Trust is key to partnerships and trust is the result of a good relationship which is the result of good communication. If you are not communicating, you have a challenged relationship and trust will be an issue. You must mend the relationship and regain trust or your business will decline and eventually fail … unless one of you elects to by the other out.
WE'RE HAVING QUALITY ISSUES WITH OUR PRODUCTS.
I CAN'T FIND GOOD HELP TO GROW MY BUSINESS.
MY EMPLOYEES ARE COASTING ON ME. THERE'S NO WORK ETHIC HERE & OUR BUSINESS CULTURE SUCKS.
MY EMPLOYEES ARE COMPLAINING THAT WE DON'T OFFER ANY TRAINING.
If an Employee leaves for money, they’ll leave for money every time. If you create a culture where Employees want to work for you vs have to, and you hire good Core Values aligned with your Business Core Values, and provide positive Leadership, Employees are less likely to leave for money and will always prefer to stay in the right environment for fair compensation.
WE KEEP HIRING IDiOTS.
MY BEST EMPLOYEE JUST GOT POACHED BY ANOTHER FIRM.
Have you established a training program and with a Career Track? Any Employee worth keeping wants to grow in their position and compensation and they need to know there is a plan for them to make this happen. Lack of a Career Track or Plan leads to a sense of hopelessness, poor moral, and loss of motivation and ultimately costly turnover. It might also lead to dishonesty, and, in the worse-case scenario, theft.
THE CAREER PATH HERE IS NON-EXISTENT AND EMPLOYEES ARE BITCHING ABOUT IT.
How Transparent is your Culture? How Transparent is your Leadership? Do most of your managers blame others or not disclose issues and challenges for fear of Repercussions? Creating a Team that is unified in your Mission and Goals requires open Communication and Trust. This starts with Leadership. It may be time for some Crucial Conversations. Start off by letting all parties know they are safe.
THERE'S A LOT OF INFIGHTING WITHIN MY MANAGEMENT TEAM.
WE ARE SEVERELY UNDERSTAFFED AND I'M WORRIED THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING BURNED OUT.
Have you reviewed your Financial Forecast and growth projections to determine future hiring needs, and do your Gross Margins support hiring Overhead to support the growth? Have you met with your Team and asked them their concerns and requested solutions to better manage the work load until you can hire?
MY BUSINESS PARTNER JUST PASSED AWAY.
Does your business partner have a spouse? Do you have a life insurance policy tied to a buy sell agreement that you can utilize to buy his or her shares? Do you want to continue running your business without your partner? Will you need to replace the Talents and Skills that your business partner brought to your business?
I WOULD LIKE TO FRANCHISE THIS BUSINESS BUT I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO GET STARTED.
Franchising requires that you have Systems in place for virtually every aspect of your business from beginning to the end of your Client of Customer Life Cycle. You can document this in a Client Lifecycle Map and begin recording the Systems and Processes. Once you have all of your Systems and Processes mapped and recorded, the first step is to open a second location or operation to test the validity of your Business and your Client Life Cycle map and Processes. The success of one operation is different than showing how to duplicate another location/operation. Research if Franchising or Licensing is what you want to do? Then you can begin working with a Franchise Attorney to start the process.
I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING IN THIS BUSINESS IF IT IS GOING TO GET DONE RIGHT.
Doing everything yourself will limit the growth of your business. As John Maxwell says in “The Law of the Lid,” Leadership is what limits business growth. For a business to grow, it requires leadership. It also requires Leadership to delegate responsibilities. If you are doing everything, then you either have the wrong team, or you have not clearly communicated your expectations to others. Have you communicated your expectations?
INVENTORY SHRINKAGE IS GOING THROUGH THE ROOF LATELY. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?
MY EMPLOYEES CAN'T SEEM TO DO ANYTHING WITHOUT MY DIRECTION.
Do you have a clear outline of each Employee’s Position Description? Have you gone over their responsibilities? Most importantly, have you communicated your Expectations and the Results you want from them? All Employees should be contributing value to your business and most positions are aligned with driving Revenue, Delivering the Product, or Service and improving or supporting efficiencies. Determine what metrics each of your Employee’s impact and how those metrics affect your Financial Performance. Set up Pay for Performance incentives linked to these metrics and others and have your Employees report to you weekly. Do you have a written Organization Chart identifying who does what in your Organization?
MY EMPLOYEES DO NOT LISTEN TO ME.
What style of Leadership do you practice? Have you given your employees reason to avoid you? Do your employees trust you? Do you encourage and praise your employees when they or the company does well? Do you keep your commitments to your Employees? Are you realistic about your expectations with your Employees? Do you overstate problems or issues?
MY EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE.
If your Employees are not accountable, you either have the wrong team, or, you have not clearly communicated your expectations to your employees. Have you communicated your expectations? Do you have a clear outline of each Employee’s Position Description? Have you gone over their responsibilities? Most importantly, have you communicated your Expectations and the Results you want from them? All Employees should be contributing value to your business and most positions are aligned with driving Revenue, Delivering the Product or Service, and improving or supporting efficiencies. Determine what metrics each of your Employee’s impacts and how those metrics affect your Financial Performance. Set up Pay for Performance incentives linked to these metrics and others and have your Employees report to you weekly. Do you have a written Organization Chart identifying who does what in your Organization?
WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GET NEW CUSTOMERS.
Do you have a Marketing Plan in place and does it include multiple strategies for driving new opportunities? Who are your customers and where do they look for your product or services? Are you Marketing in the right areas? Are you getting opportunities and not Converting them into new Customers? These are an issue of Sales and how you Present and Close.
SALES HAVE BEEN SLOW FOR MONTHS.
WE NEED MORE LEADS AND OPPORTUNITIES.
Leads and Opportunities come from Marketing Activities and consistent Action taken to generate leads. Do you have a Marketing Plan in place that outlines multiple Marketing Strategies? Identify who and where your customers are, and target your Strategies and invest your resources in these strategies and you will generate more leads and opportunities.
I AM STUCK AT THIS SIZE AND CAN'T GROW TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
Are you stuck because of your Experience and Capacity or because you don’t know what to do to grow to the next level? Develop a Strategic Growth Plan with a Financial Forecast of the Revenue Growth you wish to see, and then, identify the Staff, the Marketing, the Resources, as well as the Steps to take to get to that Revenue Growth.
WE ARE SEEING OPPORTUNITIES BUT WE ARE NOT CLOSING SALES.
If your business is getting leads and opportunities, but not closing them as Customers, then the gap may be in how you are presenting your product or service in terms of Collateral Material and the Sales Presentation. It may be in your Value Proposition and/or Pricing and it may be simple Training. Are you asking for the Sale?
I NEED HELP WITH MY WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA.
Your Web Site and Social Media are an important part of the overall Marketing Plan, but they are not what will grow your business. What will grow your business are the Activities and Actions taken to bring opportunities to your Web and Social Media. There are many experts who can help you with your Web and Social Media, but you or someone in your business will need to Actively develop it and drive opportunities to engage.
THE COMPETITORS' ADVERTISING IS WAY BETTER THAN OURS.
THIS IS A COMMODITY BUSINESS. HOW CAN WE DIFFERENTIATE OURSELVES ON ANYTHING BUT PRICE?
Value in terms of Service, Quality of Service or Product, and appealing to the Customer’s emotional needs through a well structured Marketing and Service delivery program. Many stores and restaurants sell coffee. Why do consumers go to Starbucks? For the experience. They feel good when they go in and when they leave.
I HAVE NO CLUE WHY WE JUST LOST THAT BIG SALE.
OUR DISTRIBUTION PARTNERS DON'T SEEM TO BE MOTIVATED TO SELL OUR STUFF.
What is your Commission Structure and is it sufficient to motivate your distribution partners to sell your products? Are your distribution partners selling competing products? Have you asked your distribution partners what you can do to help them sell more of your products? Is it Pricing? Is it the Commission? Is it the Product?
CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS ARE UP.
An increase in Customer Complaints comes from results not meeting expectations. Look at who and how you are delivering your products or services. Do you ask your customers why they are complaining? This will identify if the complaints are due to poor product, service, or price. Price is all about perceived value. Customers will pay a high price if value is delivered.
SALES ARE DOWN FROM LAST YEAR.
What did you forecast for Sales this year and what were your strategies to achieve higher sales? Did you execute those strategies? Sales are a result of Leads or Opportunities, Conversion of Customers, and average Transaction size. Which of these is trending lower than last year … Leads, Conversion rate, or, average Transaction size?
I'VE GOT A STACK OF BUSINESS CARDS THAT ARE GOOD LEADS, BUT THEY'RE JUST BEEN SITTING IN A BOX.
Business cards are all opportunities. Enter the contact information into an Excel worksheet, then upload to a CRM (Customer Resource Management) software to begin marketing. First call and have a conversation, send a letter next to thank them and keep your opportunities open, then, set them up on the CRM follow up calendar and start a drip e-mail campaign that is personalized.
HOW CAN I GET A LIST OF GOOD PROSPECTS FOR OUR BUSINESS? WE NEED TO START TALKING TO MORE PEOPLE.
MY SALES GUYS DON'T KNOW HOW TO SELL BIG DEALS.
Have your Sales people been trained on how to sell big deals? It may be that your sales team have a predetermined outcome on customers that will and will not buy. Some sales members make assumptions that certain customers will not buy big deals–a self defeating attitude. Listen to your Sales members’ pitch approaches and accompany them on sales calls.
I NEED TO SELL THIS BUSINESS.
Do you want to sell because you are burned out, not making enough money, or have you made good money and it is time to cash in on your hard work? The key to selling is having an Exit Strategy to determine the value of your business and if that value is acceptable to you, knowing the tax consequences, the terms of a sale (all cash or will you carry), who are the likely buyers, and, who would likely pay the most for your business. The more buyers you have looking, the higher the demand and price.
I HAVE NO VIABLE SUCCESSOR FOR THIS BUSINESS.
Do you have an Exit Strategy? A goal on when you want to transition? Have you determined what gaps exist today that need to be closed before selling? What type of experience, talent and core values are you looking for in a Successor for your business? What have you done to begin finding and then grooming a Successor?
NONE OF MY KIDS HAS ANY DESIRE TO WORK FOR MY COMPANY.
Most small businesses do not succeed to second generations and even fewer to third generations. Ongoing success in a business, requires a solid Exit Strategy that you can maximize how much and to whom you sell your business to in the future. You will typically do better by selling to a Strategic Buyer that is outside of your Family.
WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO SELL THIS BUSINESS FOR FIVE YEARS NOW, AND WE HAVEN'T RECEIVED A VIABLE OFFER.
A viable offer may be a factor of your Selling price, your terms, the type of business, the community, and market opportunity or pool of qualified investors. What are you doing to market your business outside of your community/area/ Are you being realistic on your selling price? Are you marketing the real benefits of our business today, and, most importantly the future potential of your business?
THIS BUSINESS IS LIKE A JAIL SENTENCE.
Many entrepreneurs go into business for better income and more freedom, only to find that they are locked into their business and can not leave. Have you set up a growth plan? A growth plan requires you to Forecast where you want your business to grow in terms of Revenue to provide you the resources to hire a solid Support Team that provides you more freedom while also paying you more income. Do you have a written growth plan? This will provide you a road map and identify what key strategies and actions you need to take to “get out of jail”.
I WANT TO RETIRE.
The key to a successful business sale is having an Exit Strategy to maximize the Value of your business sale while minimizing your tax obligations. Depending on the work you’ve done to prepare for selling your business will determine the timing and price. Start with a price you would like to sell your business for and then determine what your value is today, and, if it is feasible.
I'M GETTING A DIVORCE AND MY SPOUSE WANTS THE BUSINESS.
Selling a business is difficult, but selling a business due to a divorce is very challenging if you don’t have a Buy Sell Agreement. You will need to move forward on the basis of a Buy Sell Agreement if you do not have one. Determine the Value of the business through a third party CPA or Business Valuation expert. Based on what percentage of the business you each own, you decide if you are willing to sell to your spouse based on your percentage and the valuation. Discuss and agree to terms of the sale. It’s strongly encouraged that you to hire a mediator or attorney to help negotiate and draft all documents.
I'M READY TO SHUT THIS THING DOWN. I'M AT MY WIT'S END.
Many entrepreneurs go into business for better income and more freedom only to find that they are not suited for running and growing a business. Are you at your wits end because of Sales, Employees, Customers, Cash Flow, or not enough Income for you? Develop a Forecast where you want your business to grow in terms of Revenue to provide you the resources to hire a solid Support Team that provides you more freedom while also paying you more income. If you simply want to get out of your business, it’s recommended you develop an Exit Strategy. The key to selling is having an Exit Strategy to determine the value of your business and if that value is acceptable to you, knowing the tax consequences, the terms of a sale (all cash or will you carry), who are the likely buyers, and who would likely pay the most for your business. The more buyers you have looking, the higher the demand and price.
I DID NOT SEE MY EXACT PAIN POINTS SO HERE ARE THE ONES MOST IMPACTING ME AND MY BUSINESS TODAY.
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