How a Business Transition Plan Enhances Selling Your Business

A transition plan that allows the business owner to sell the business for the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time to the most qualified buyer is generally the top of the wish list for most business owners. Because the business owner lives and breathes their business they become emotionally attached to their customers, employees, suppliers and other business partners as the business is a reflection of who they are.

Deciding to sell the business and move to a new role is much more complicated than most business owners realize. Sure, you can start by putting the business on the market and see what happens, but that’s not a good strategy. If customers, suppliers, competitors or others find out, it can severely damage the business.

So where does the business owner start? It’s my suggestion that one of the starting places is with a transition plan. A transition plan, at its simplest level, is an attempt to define the needs of the business owner and then systematically move to their desired outcome. And I am not just talking about the actual process of selling the business. I would suggest the owner go back to some more basic level and understand why they are selling, what they hope to achieve and probably most important of all, what are they planning on moving to and are they excited about it. If they are not excited about it, chances are they will do all the work to get the business ready for sale, advertise and market the business, qualify the buyers, negotiate a deal, do all the due diligence, prepare to close escrow and then change their mind because they would prefer to continue owning and operating the business than playing endless rounds of golf or become a full-time babysitter looking after the grand kids etc.

So what should be included in the transition plan? The questions and answers can be endless. It’s what makes sense to the owner and their specific situation. Some sample ideas include the following:

• Why does the business owner want to transition the ownership of the business?
• Are there any suitable candidates and if so, why? (The answer could be family or a current employee or a local larger competitor or…)
• If not, why not? (Is the industry the business is in dying out, are there new technologies coming that make this business behind the times etc.)
• Are there any specifics that would prevent the business transitioning that need to be removed?
• What is actually being transitioned?
• Is the owner the business or is the business an independent asset that would be attractive to a buyer?
• How involved day to day is the current owner and if they are heavily involved, are processes and procedures written down that would help a new owner and encourage them to take the risk and buy the business?
• What is the owner’s financial situation? That is, can they afford to retire?
• Does the owner rely on a weekly or monthly income from the business that if stopped because they no longer own the business they can still survive?
• What is the current owner transitioning to?

There is no shortage of questions to ask. The important thing is to ask the questions and keep asking them until they are all answered or its clear what the next steps need to be. The goal of building a transition plan is to clearly help the owner arrive at a decision that makes perfect sense to them and be empowered for any next steps that they take.

Business Failure – Causes and Tips to Avoid Them

For most people the ultimate purpose of starting a business is to make money, much more than you could ever hope to make in a paid job. In their anxiety to earn money most new entrepreneurs venture out ignoring some of the basic requirements necessary to run a successful business, resulting in business failure. Failure can indeed be a very costly affair. On the other hand successful entrepreneurs are those who really did their homework and knew what running a business was all about.
Here are some of the major factors that cause business failure and the steps that should be taken to avoid them.

1. Lack of Proper Planning:

One of the major reasons for the failure of a business is the lack of planning which is the most fundamental factor around which revolves the success of a business. Set out your goals and prepare a strategic plan. Formulate a short term plan and a long term plan. It is these plans that will guide you every step of the way. If you are unable to prepare one yourself get outside help before starting your business. If you are already in business and if you don’t have a plan, your first priority should be to prepare one immediately.

2. Unsuitable Location:

Before starting a brick and mortar business it is extremely important that you choose the proper location for your business. You have to study several factors before choosing the location. The factors you should consider to eliminate business failure are:

  • Is there a demand for your products?
  • Are there too many competitors.
  • Is there sufficient parking space for vehicles?
  • Is there sufficient movement of people in the area?

These factors are very critical for the success or failure of a business. Hence locating the business even with the best of products in the wrong place can be disastrous.

3. Lack of Capital:

In spite of having started successfully we have witnessed the failure of several businesses due to cash flow problems. A proper business plan will clearly indicate the capital necessary and the cash flow requirements to operate and sustain the business. Once your financial requirements are known and if you do not have the necessary capital, you can obtain a loan from your bank, insurance company or from the SBA. Thus you will be able to devote all your attention to your business and avoid business failure and unnecessary stress

4. Bad Management:

More often than not the failure of a business can be traced back to bad or sub standard management. Many new entrepreneurs lack sufficient skills and expertise to run a business successfully. If you are running a business, especially a small business, you should be knowledgeable about purchasing, marketing, finance and production. If you are not skilled in certain areas the best option is to employ someone skilled in those specific areas thus solving your management problems. Good management means that you also keep a watchful eye over your competitors and come up with your own formula to beat them.

5. Lack of Public Awareness:

Stocking your store with the best of products and at competitive prices is great but that will not draw in the customers unless the public is made aware your business. A misconception among some entrepreneurs is that money spent on advertising is waste of money. It pays to advertise so be prepared to spend some money on advertising and promoting your business. A well written jingle with captivating music, advertisements in local newspapers and attractive brochures are great ways of promoting your business.
A professional looking website is an absolute necessity today. Similarly joining social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be very useful. Unless you take these steps and keep up with the present trend, your competitor will certainly have an edge over you.

Conclusion:

There may be ups and downs in your business but never ever think of failure or quitting. Remain motivated, think positively and work with determination. Follow the above tips and success will be yours.

Small Business Internet Marketing

3 Keys That Create A Foundation

Small business internet marketing provides small-business owners and service providers with several inexpensive, viable, and high-return marketing opportunities. This article will identify 3 critical yet easy to ignore Internet marketing tactics that can each help a business get more customers. More importantly, these tactics lay the groundwork for other inexpensive, high-impact online marketing efforts down the line.

They are:

  • web design
  • keyword research
  • and Google maps listings.

Having an effective and well-designed website is a critical first step that every business must take as it markets itself online. Web design should be simple, and should follow direct response marketing principles. Web design does not need to be overly expensive. While it is common for some web designers charge as much as $5000 or more to build a website, almost every small business should be able to have an effective website build for around $1000. Unfortunately expensive web design, while it may be attractive, rarely considers direct marketing principles. As a result, small businesses often spend too much money building their website and leave themselves without enough money to effectively market that website after it is complete. The primary purpose of effective small business websites is to prompt the visitor to take action by making a purchase, calling the business, going to the business, etc. Websites should not be online brochures that simply provide information but do not elicit a response from the visitor.

A second key to effective small business Internet marketing is effective keyword research. Every business needs to have a solid understanding of what words and key phrases potential customers are using to find their service or products online. Without this knowledge, almost every other marketing activity that a business engages in becomes far less effective than it could be if that business was targeting the correct key phrases. Keyword research is especially effective for off-line local businesses because, with proper targeting, those businesses can very often shoot to the top of the search engines because they are targeting location-specific keywords, which tend to be far less competitive than more generalized keywords. For example, the keyword “plumbers in Atlanta” tends to be far less competitive then the keyword “plumbing services”. In the beginning of any Internet marketing campaign, effective and focused keyword research is the key to maximizing your marketing efforts.

The third key for effective small business Internet marketing is having Google maps listings, also known as Google local listings. Effective Google maps listings provide small businesses with the opportunity to leapfrog all of their competition in the search engines for their targeted search terms. Google gives local business and service providers preference over nonlocal search engine listings for searches that are done in the area that the business serves. More importantly, it is absolutely free for any small business to create a local listing on Google, as well as other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. In order to get the best results, local businesses should also create free listings in other business directories such as Yelp and CitySearch. Local listings provide small businesses with an excellent opportunity to enjoy increased visibility in their local market at a bare minimum cost.

There are several other small business Internet marketing strategies available to every business owner. These 3 strategies are all highly effective and all are a great place for any small business to begin its online marketing efforts. Even for business that don’t actually sell anything online… plumbers, chiropractors, lawyers, car salesman… the list goes on and on… these strategies lay the groundwork for future marketing efforts that increase visibility as well as market reach, which almost always leads to more profit for the business owner