By Larry Prince
“I’m frustrated that my business is not growing!” is a common lament I’m hearing from business owners. Certainly, the pandemic has accelerated challenges and exposed issues owners have in running their business. Here’s are other expressions of emotion business owners are sharing:
- We’re stuck trying to find a path forward
- The same issues keep popping up
- My company is worth less than I expected
- I don’t enjoy running my business like I once did
Do you sometimes have these same thoughts? If so, it’s because these questions speak to the need to think differently about how you run and lead your company, regardless of the pandemic.
Let’s delve deeper. If you decided to sell your company, you’d smartly tap into the expertise of financial and exit planning experts. These professionals would conduct a deep dive analysis of your business to understand its market value and what makes up its valuation. The array of components that define the value of a company are typically known as business drivers. You’d learn, often with frustration, how much more your business could be worth, if you had simply strengthened a few of these particular value drivers. Companies that sell for more money possess greater discipline in effectively implementing a plan of excellence for each driver.
If you don’t want to sell your business today, then what is the importance of running your company as if you were going to sell it? The answer is simple: Do so means possessing a stronger understanding of your strengths and areas to improve. By tapping into your strengths and closing the value gap, your business is more apt to grow in scalable and sustainable ways. Not doing so literally means you are leaving real dollars on the table.
Here are six of the top discipline gaps to address to add value to your company:
- Management: Strong and aligned leadership from the top, providing clear vision and direction
- People: Highly engaged employees who possess commitment, role clarity and confidence on how to succeed
- Sales: Well-organized and well-run sales function, including generating recurring and predictable revenue. Requires a strong understanding of your market, customer needs and the competition
- Operations: Effective and efficient processes and workflow management methods
- Financial: Instituting smart financial controls and ensuring that monthly oversight methods are in place
- Strategy: Shaping and planning for the future by setting specific goals that address market opportunities and challenges
Give each driver thought – then meet with your management team and spend time to discuss:
- Where are we strong? Why?
- Where do we need to improve? Why?
- What don’t we know that we need to learn?
- What are our priorities?
- What should we stop doing, start doing, do differently or do better?
By holding a deep dive discussion with your management team, you’re engaging them in the process, assessing their thinking and transferring ownership for decision-making from your shoulders, to a team of people. The process will also help you to re-set goals, purpose and expectations with them. Carve out at least one day a month with your team to work on your business.
To illustrate further, let’s dive into The Sales Function. Too often, business owners rely on the talents of a few motivated salespeople. Unfortunately, once these people leave or market needs change, business owners find themselves in a sales void. Build a strong and scalable sales process based upon the following timeless mantra: The Right People holding the Right Conversations with the Right Targeted Clients asking for the Right Type of Earned Business. This simple business refrain becomes your roadmap for hiring and developing your salespeople, crafting the right sales messages, deciding whom to target and the type of business you seek.
To “Run Your Business Like You’re Going to Sell It” takes motivation, commitment and discipline. Whether you are looking to sell or exit from your business in the coming years, or simply desire to build your business for sustainable growth, employing these driver practices sets you up for scalable success and personal goal satisfaction.