|Posted on August 15, 2017 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
What are Quality Leads?
Potential customers are potential customers, right? Anyone who walks into your store or picks up the phone to call your business could be convinced to purchase from you, right? Not necessarily, but this is a common assumption most business owners make. Quality leads are the people who are most likely to buy your product or service. They are the qualified buyers who comprise your target market. Anyone might walk in off the street to browse a furniture store – regardless of whether or not they are in the market for a new couch. This lead is solely interested in browsing, and is not likely to be converted into a customer. A quality lead example would be someone looking for a new kitchen table, and who specifically drove to that same store because a friend had raved about the service they received. These are the kinds of leads business owners need to focus on.
|Posted on June 10, 2017 at 5:20 PM||comments (0)|
Create Added Value in Your Business and make 1+1 =3
How do you keep your product or service offering(s) fresh, while growing and maintaining your client or customer base? How do you create a business that is valuable for a future owner? The answer is by adding value to your products and services and building value in your business as a whole. Added value is a marketing or customer relations strategy that can take the form of a product or service which is added to the original offering in your business for free, or as part of a discounted package. It, like all other elements in your marketing toolkit, is designed to attract new customers and retain existing ones. An example would be if you owned a gift shop, you could offer complementary gift wrapping with every purchase.
Everyone can add value to their business. Better yet, everyone can afford to add value to their business. Adding value does not have to blow your marketing budget, or take up hours of your time. There are many ways – big and small – to enhance your business in the eyes of your clients and customers. The key to adding value is determining what your customers and target market perceive as valuable. You must understand their needs, wants, troubles and inconveniences in order to entice them with solutions through added value products and services. Adding value will add to your profits, but if you don’t focus on generally helping your customers and clients, you’ll have a difficult time attracting them
There are many ways to enhance your offer and your business value, depending on your budget and the resources you have access to. Here are a few: (1) Feature Your Expertise: Your intellectual property is a free resource that you have at your disposal to share with your clients. This will make them feel as though they have an inside track. You might want to consider adding it to your business, making it a value-added service. (2) Expert Corner: Supplement your website and newsletter with columns on topics of interest to your customers and of relevance to your service. This will position you as the expert in the marketplace, and give your clients helpful information they won’t receive from the competition. (3) Do-It-Yourself Tips: This is a great tool for seasonal marketing. Provide your clients with this information on your website, in your newsletter, or on take away notes or cards in your store or office. Ideas include recipes, craft ideas, gift ideas – all of which are branded with your company logo and contact information. More Ideas to come! For more articles, tips, tools and a free report on how to build your dream business, go to www.endgamebydesign.com
|Posted on September 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
You’ve just made a major decision about your life. You want to sell your business or leave the company you are working for and start your retirement. However, retirement cannot be solely about travelling, enjoying your grandkids, or some other activity you desire, especially since you have anywhere from 10 to 30+ years ahead of you. How do you transition out of a business to not running a business or step away from your long-term career?
With the Baby Boomer generation headed towards making a transition in the near future, it is imperative that individuals do not end up without a plan for what they will do next. Too often, business owners who leave the business (or individuals leaving their careers) will think that they can deal with their lives in a positive manner once the transition is done. However, the following negative experiences are likely to occur in the case where the business owner has not planned for this stage of their lives:
• “Retirement Remorse” – People who don’t have a plan for a fulfilling new future and don’t know what they are going to do with all the free time they suddenly have will often become depressed, bored, and angry with themselves or others. They miss their old lives, because at least then they had something interesting and meaningful to do. They often wish they could go back to “the way things were”.
• “Retirement Rut” – Often, individuals who have successfully left their full time positions will find themselves spending their time on meaningless and purposeless activities just to keep busy. They become dissatisfied with their lives because these activities don’t give them a sense of meaning or purpose.
• “Post Transition Stress Disorder” (The other PTSD) – This is often experienced by individuals who have left their companies without doing proper thought-provoking planning for their lives prior to leaving. They often have a loss of enthusiasm for life, they feel that there is nothing to look forward to, and that life has no more meaning and purpose. These individuals will often end up making poor life decisions and rash personal choices in order to make sense out of life once again.
• “Gray Divorce” – The rate of Baby Boomers that end up in a divorce is markedly increasing. Spouses are often not prepared for the “full nest” syndrome that occurs when the business owner/individual is now home 24/7.
So what does a person do to plan a purposeful and meaningful life post transition? The answer lies in doing internal preparation as well as external preparation for their retirement years. One of the most important activities an individual should do to prepare themselves internally for the transition is to come up with a list of all of their fears, problems and challenges they have surrounding this change. Then, they need to really expand their thinking about how these negative conditions can be turned around into opportunities. Another activity a person should consider is how to define themselves into a whole person – not a person defined by what they are pre-transition. One exercise to consider would be to list all of their accomplishments they have done throughout their lives on a personal vs. professional level. They can also brainstorm through all of the life transitions they have gone through and analyze and become aware of the lessons learned by going through past transitions. Often this can provide individuals with new insights on how these lessons learned can be applied to the future transition in a positive manner.
Next, an individual should do some thought-provoking exercises on what provides meaning and purpose to them as a whole person, not just as a business owner or career professional. What brings them joy? What makes them happy? What gives them a sense of direction in their personal lives? What gives them positive self-worth? The more an individual can give answers to these questions, the better!
The external preparation involves an individual coming up with lifestyle ideas in the following areas:
• Physical Health Activities
• Intellectual Stimulation
• Recreational/Creative Activities
• Activities with Spouse/Partner
• Activities with Family Members
• Residence – where Ideally do I want to be?
• Social Connections
• Income Producing Work
• Volunteer/Philanthropic Activities
Once a person has brainstormed ideas for each of these areas, the time comes to make a final decision on what they want to do for each of these areas and which ones provide the most meaning and purpose for themselves. Then, individuals can come up with a tactical plan on how they are going to implement these activities into their lives post-transition, and how to prioritize them.
Of course, these suggestions are only a small part of what a person can do (and should do) to make a successful transition out of a business or career. Couples should work on developing these plans together. Often, it makes sense to seek out a professional consultant who is trained and/or certified in transition planning. These individuals can provide a systematic process that takes into account many of the mental and emotional issues and concerns that an individual may be facing with the pending transition. They often have proven tools, exercises and programs to make the process successful and positive for the individual.
If you are looking at transitioning in the near future, don’t make the mistake that many individuals do, which is essentially ending up on the “other side” without a comprehensive plan for your lifestyle that will provide you with ongoing meaning and purpose. Take the time for planning and you will experience a wonderful retirement and quality of life after your transition!
|Posted on August 29, 2016 at 5:25 PM||comments (0)|
10 Things That Make Your Business More Valuable - Often 70% Higher Than That of Your Industry Peers!
If you are like most small business owners, a majority of your wealth is tied up in your company. Increasing the value of your largest asset can have a much faster impact on your overall financial picture than a bump in the stock market or the value of your home. Building value in a business creates more profit now, but it can result in a significant return when you decide to transition out of your business. This article provides you with some tips on what creates value and what drives value in your company.
The value of your company is partly determined by your industry. For example, cloud-based software companies are generally worth a lot more than printing companies these days. However, when businesses in the same industry are analyzed, major variations exist with respect to valuation. Because of the large number of Baby Boomer owners within the small business community, it is crucial for these business owners to consider building value now so they can obtain higher competitive offers when they transition out of the business. Here are ten things that will make your business more valuable than its industry peer group:
1. Recurring Revenue
The more revenue you have from automatically recurring contracts or subscriptions, the more valuable your business will be to a future buyer. Even if subscriptions are not the norm in your industry, you should be able to find some form of recurring revenue that will make your company much more valuable than those of your competitors.
2. Something Different
Buyers buy what they cannot easily replicate on their own, which means companies with a unique product or service that is difficult for a competitor to knock off are more valuable than a company that sells the same commodity as everyone else in their industry.
Acquirers looking to fuel their top line revenue growth through acquisition will pay a premium for your business if it is growing much faster than your industry overall.
Tired old companies often try to buy sex appeal through the acquisition of a trendy young company in their industry. If you are the "darling" of your industry trade media, expect to get a premium offer.
If you have a great location with natural physical characteristics that are difficult to replicate (imagine an oceanfront restaurant on a strip of beach where the city has stopped granting new licenses to operate), you'll have buyers who understand your industry interested in your location as well as your business.
Buyers will pay a premium for companies that naturally hedge the loss of a single customer. Ensure that no customer amounts to more than 10 percent of your revenue and your company will be more valuable than an industry peer with just a few big customers.
If you've mastered a way to win customers and documented your sales funnel with a predictable set of conversion rates, your secret customer-acquiring formula will make your business more valuable to a buyer than an industry peer who does not have a clue where their next customer will come from.
8. Clean Books
Companies that invest in audited statements have financials that are generally viewed by buyers as more trustworthy and therefore worth more. You may want to get your books reviewed professionally each year even if audited statements are not the norm in your industry.
9. A "2iC"
Companies with a second-in-command who has agreed to stay on post-sale are more valuable than businesses where all the power and knowledge are in the hands of the owner.
10. Happy Customers
Being able to objectively demonstrate that your customers are happy and intend to re-purchase in the future and consistently make referrals will make your business more valuable than an industry peer that does not have a means of tracking customer satisfaction.
Like a rising tide that lifts all boats, your industry typically defines a range of multiples within which your business is likely to sell for; but whether you fall at the bottom or top of the range comes down to factors that have nothing to do with What You Do, but instead, How You Do It. Consider the following eight value drivers:
(a) Financial Performance: Your history of producing revenue and profit combined with the professionalism of your record keeping;
(b) Growth Potential: Your likelihood to grow your business in the future and at what rate;
(c) The Switzerland Structure: How dependent your business is on any one employee, customer, or supplier;
(d) The Valuation Teeter-Totter: Whether your business is a cash suck or a cash spigot;
(e) The Hierarchy of Recurring Revenue: The proportion and quality of automatic, annuity-based revenue you collect each month;
(f) The Monopoly Control: How well differentiated your business is from competitors in your industry;
(g) Customer Satisfaction: The likelihood that your customers will re-purchase and also refer you; and
(h) Hub & Spoke: How your business would perform if you were unexpectedly unable to work for a period of three months.
By working on these value drivers, your business can build significant value over time and, with the right tools and resources, you may be in the position to get offers of over 70% more than your industry peers. And, the sooner you start, you can not only expect a more valuable business, but a much more profitable one in the short term.
Are you interested in finding out where your business stands in terms of value now and how it scores against the Value Drivers?
Get your free VALUE BUILDER SCORE by going to www.endgamebydesign.com
The link on the home page will lead you to a short questionnaire to complete to get your score.
You can also get a Value Builder Assessment and meeting with a Certified Value Builder who will go in detail over your score and specific scores per value driver. You will come away with new solutions and a detailed report. See details on www.endgamebydesign.come
|Posted on July 12, 2016 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
Most business owners invest incredible amounts of time and energy to their business, but they do not adequately plan for the future. What happens to the business in the event of premature death, disability, divorce, or internal discord? Without a plan, these events can be devastating to the company, to the employees, to the vendors, and to all of the families involved. 90% of business owners do not have an exit strategy in place yet 100% of all owners will exit someday in some way, positively or negatively.
Education is key. Most business owners fail to plan for the future because they do not know the incredible posibilities that exist for them for exiting as well as what exists outside the business. Knowing the options removes an element of fear and replaces it with excitement. This awareness gives the business owner new goals to set their sights on.
It is important to start the process early, ideally at least five years before the date of transition. Business owners who invest the time to develop an effective exit strategy and grow value during this time typically get offers for their business that are about 70% higher than others in the same industry.
The best exit strategies require that you work with a team of professionals. A good transition specialist will work collaboratively with your CPA, business attorney, financial advisor, estate planner and other consultants as necessary to maximize the value of the business prior to transition and design the exit plan.
Business Advisors such as us here at EndGame By Design will work to improve several factors ("Value Drivers") affecting the value of your business. Some of these factors include getting consistent cash flow processes, profit growth, expandabiliy, dependency on key employees/vendors/clients, future growth and a host of others. The more valuable the business, the more options the business owner has.
The first step in the exit planning process is to get an idea of what options exist now and what possibly could occur in the future. Again, the sooner a business owner engages in the process, the better the outcome.