I’m sure you are a bit disturbed (or interested) by my use of the word “Window Dressing” when it comes to your business. To most people this is can be a negative or fluffy term rather than something that is based on facts and figures. They think it is being sneaky or “pulling the wool over your eyes” (a great old phrase) and manipulating what is really happening. All of that, while it might be what you think, isn’t what I’m talking about.
What I’m talking about is how to improve some key aspects that a buyer will look for, above and beyond the financials of how much it is worth based on the numbers. There are other significant areas that are often overlooked by business owners when it comes to selling their business for the highest price…and these go beyond the traditional evaluations of the numbers.
In most cases someone selling your business will want you to focus on all the numbers so the due diligence comes up with a high valuation number. Nothing wrong with this…but there is more. Here are 4 things you can do to “Window Dress” your business that will definitely have a positive impact on your selling price.
Four Ways To Create a Successful Sale
Get your Customers on your side
Find out what they have to say about the experience dealing with your organization. Learn from them what they like and they don’t like about dealing with all aspects of your business. Do a lot of this and learn as much as you can…this is invaluable information and information that your future buyer will want to know or learn about as well.
Once you find out what it is that they love about you, do more of that. When you find out where you are broken with regard to the experience you deliver, develop specific plans to fix those so you can improve your overall customer experience. Just think how much more “attractive” you will appear to a future buyer if they talk to your customers and they rave about how awesome it is to deal with you.
Stand out from the crowd
If you look like every business in your industry then it’s easy to formulate an “industry assessment” of what you might be worth. Being lumped into the same bucket as your competitors is usually not a positive way to value your company but is often times what happens. If you are in an industry known for having low margins or other attributes, these can be assumed with you as well.
This is where “differentiation” is vital if you are looking to sell a business. If you have done things that clearly set you apart from your competitors, such as your customer experience, knowledge base, employees, culture, etc. then you have a much better argument of why you wouldn’t be valued the same as your competition. Standing out and being clearly differentiated will always help you sell your business faster and for more money.
What are people saying about you
Your “Brand” today isn’t what you advertise or talk about…its what others are saying about you…behind your back. When someone tells someone else about you, what do they say? Do you even know? Getting a consistent “Brand Message” is critically important today and is a great way to “window dress” the organization to look much more attractive to a potential buyer.
If the buyer does their homework and talks to customers, vendors, suppliers, or others and they hear the same awesome message coming from all of them, your market value will increase. It can be very expensive to establish a memorable and consistent brand in the market…getting this in place is worth its weight in gold!
How you help others makes you stand out
One of the biggest compliments a company can receive from its audience (customers, vendors, suppliers, partners, etc.) is that they are always helping make my life (or business) better. When people feel that what you do is helping them improve, they are happy to share that with others. Is your audience doing this for you?
If not, this is a great opportunity to endear yourself to your audience more than you are today. Demonstrating through a variety of ways (content, events, classes, etc.) how you help your audience goes a long way to reinforcing the first 3 items on this list. It is like adding high powered fertilizer to these items…they grow and flourish faster and bigger than ever.
Some might call these “fluffy” or “window dressing” a company rather than focusing on improving cash flow, reducing inventory costs, lowering debt, increasing sales or a host of other items. But when it comes to selling your business, these are more than window dressing, this is real profitability. Customers have proven over and over they will “pay more money” and “be more loyal” to organizations that have these as part of their organization. They simply translate to getting your more value for your company.
What to do next…
If you would like to learn more about these 4 items and how you might want to inject them into your business just let us know and we would be happy to talk you through what these mean and what they involve…and of course how they can help your individual business. While we don’t do these for a company, we are lawyers, we know people that you can talk to that can help you make these changes and help you “window dress” your company to higher valuations.
Also, if you just want to better understand how you can minimize and lower your risks (which every business owner wants) then please read some more about risk management and how you can help determine your own risk. I’d also be happy to meet with you (complimentary of course) to discuss your own personal situation further and give you some insights about how you might want to proceed.
I hope you have found this helpful and given you a different way to look at your business. If it has, please share this with others inside your company and your colleagues who are running or leading other businesses. Our primary mission at Generations Law Group, LLP is to help everyone find productive ways to lower their business AND personal risk. This is just one way you can start to do this…but it will tell you a lot about you and what has happened over the past few years with regard to your business risk. Let’s make sure your risk is as low as it can be while you continue to grow.