Knowing what the endgame is for your business provides you, the business owner, with a kind of “North Star” that helps you drown out all the noise around you that comes with having access to a wide array of options (and opinions) about how you can and should build your business.
WHY DOES BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF A SELLABLE BUSINESS MATTER?
Building the foundations of a sellable business
sets you up to achieve the goals you want out of your company,
regardless if you ultimately choose to sell it or not.
The beauty of setting your endgame to building a sellable business is that the foundations are 90% of the same as the fundamentals of building a business that can thrive for years to come with minimal involvement from you.
That’s because the key characteristics of a sellable business are universal characteristics of a great business. They are as follows:
The business has growth potential.
The business is scalable.
The business is sustainable.
The business is profitable.
Are these not the same goals you want to see for your business, regardless of whether you choose to sell it or hold it?
FEEL IT'S TOO EARLY
FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT
EXITING YOUR BUSINESS?
WATCH THIS VIDEO!
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A SELLABLE BUSINESS?
Here are the 6 areas of your business to drill into to build a sellable business:
Owner’s Vision, Leadership, and Role
Financial Management and Systems
Marketing & Sales Strategy
Pricing and Packaging Strategy
Customer Support and Success Strategy
Employee Management and People Strategy
The short answer is this:
Building a sellable business takes intention, focus, knowledge, and patience. Start with #1 above and work your way down to #6.
The long answer is this:
Every part of your business is interrelated so it can be a tough balancing act as you build up and/or pivot any one piece of your business. Certainly, it’s easier to build up a business from the start as a sellable business since it’s like painting on a blank canvas than it is to pivot a business that has been in operation for some time.
However, making that pivot is not impossible. I did it with my own company, after operating my business for three years, realized that I didn’t have most of the elements needed to be a sellable business and made the pivot with an established and growing customer list and with employees on my payroll. The process was extremely frustrating and stressful because I never done it before nor did I have a mentor or partner to advice and support me, and it was more expensive than I anticipated because I achieved it mostly by trial and error (and there were a lot of errors.)
Ultimately, I was successful because of hard work, grit, and a little luck, but I would never advise someone else to take the same path I did because there are simply better ways than doing it blindly and doing it alone. You need the right mindset, the right strategies, and the right support to build a sellable business.
WHY WORK WITH A BUSINESS THOUGHT PARTNER ON THIS?
The honest answer: To save you time and money by leveraging other people’s experience packaged in the form of thoughtful guidance, strategic hand-on consultation, and dedicated support for YOU, the business owner.
As a business thought partner who possesses personal experience in building a sellable business, I’ve been where you are and know where you are going. I’ve seen the process from start to finish. I’ve lived the experience of being a business owner with clients and employees depending on me to make sure my business survives a major pivot.
I know what it’s like to tear down a good business in order to build a great business, one that finally aligned with my endgame and one that I know would have thrived, if I chose not to sell it.
As your thought partner, I become your business partner who will consult, advise, strategize, and brainstorm with you to build and/or pivot your business to be a company that is scalable, sustainable, profitable and with future growth potential.
Ten years ago, I started my first company with no business experience, no mentor, and absolutely no clue as to what I was doing or getting myself into. So, I learned the hard way, through trial and error, making mistake after mistake, and bumping into walls constantly.
Along the way, I invested hours learning about business by reading books, watching videos, and listening to interviews and podcasts but it took be a long time (I believe, too long) before I figured out how to put it all together to reach my goal of exiting my company through M&A (merger & acquisition).
I look back now and realize how bold and lucky I was to not have crashed and burned my business, my physical health, and my mental well-being between when I was starting up and when I finally hit my stride.
Today, I want to help other business owners and 1st time entrepreneurs reap the benefit of my experience without having to spend years trying to figure things out on their own, pay for avoidable and expensive mistakes, and ride that rollercoaster of emotions that comes with building a business alone.
Tiffany’s theory, methodology, and approach to building a business is unique and different … in a very good way. Too many times have I been approached by people who have little to no experience in business claiming that they can help me become a better business owner.
As a business owner, I prefer to be consulted, guided, advised by someone who’s DONE IT BEFORE and from START to FINISH.
The business thought partner program addresses the concerns that EVERY entrepreneur has when starting, growing, and looking to exit from their business gracefully!
Industry: Business Services
SO, HOW DOES
THIS ALL WORK?
To work with a business thought partner, you have the option to create your own program, subscribe to only one- or two- meetings, or follow a prescribed 3-month program, as I will lay out below.
Think of a prescribed program as a pre-packaged way to work with your business thought partner based on popular demand. There will always be some tailoring of what we will be doing together and what outcomes we set to achieve for you and your specific business, but the general structure of a prescribed program was derived from prior experiences.
Below will give you an idea of how you can effectively use your time with a thought partner. This is a three-month program working towards building the foundations of a sellable business:
MEET #1: GENERAL ASSESSMENT (2 – 2.5 hours video call/in-person)
This is the most powerful part of our journey toward building the foundation of your sellable business. In this meeting, I review your business as it is today, tell you what and how I would go about improving areas that aren’t helping you become a sellable company, then create a roadmap with you on how to implement the missing pieces in your business.
You will leave this conversation with a clear sense of where you are today and how you can get to where you want to be.
MEET #2: MINDSET & DIRECTION (1-hour video call)
We focus on your mindset as an owner and chose ONE major area of focus that we will work up a strategy for to either build up or make a pivot in your company and set the outcomes we aim to achieve during our time together.
Here is what the discussion
focused on your mindset can look like:
Owner’s Vision, Leadership, and Role
Mindset is 80% of what’s needed to achieve any goal. The rest is strategy. Therefore, discussing what kind of mindset is needed to build a sellable company is a must. Being a business owner myself, I can attest to the fact that trying to analyze your own mind with your own mind is damn near impossible. You are way too close to the problem and to your own biases. Simply put, you can’t read the label from inside the jar. As an objective 3rd party, I will prompt you with a line of questions and then listen closely to your answers to pick up patterns, identify contrarian desires and wants, and spot limiting beliefs and internalized fears that can hold you back or certainly slow you down toward building a sellable business.
Possible Outcomes: Hear objective and experienced feedback to set you in the frame of mind that’s needed in to build a sellable business, sort through contrarian wants and desires, identify limiting beliefs and self-identified fears and internal challenges.
Here are the major areas of focus
that we can choose ONE of to focus on
and examples of possible outcomes that
we can achieve for you:
Financial Management and
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT & SYSTEMS
Having a sound financial system in place not only allows you to measure the progress of your business and monitor key performance indicators, but financial reports can also give you, as the business owner, insight into your business when you aren’t close to the day-to-day. Building a sellable business includes ways to methodically remove any dependence of the business and its daily operations from its owner. But as the owner, you will want to keep tabs on the business even from “afar,” which is where your financial system comes into play. Having a system that accurately captures and reports information in a useful matter is the key to you being able to manage your business from a distance.
Possible Outcomes: Establish a financial system that captures company data accurately and generates reports that are useful and knowledge of which numbers to look, what does it means, and what to do with the info.
PRICING AND (SERVICE) PACKAGING STRATEGY
One of the best things you can do for your business is to find ways to create a recurring revenue model. This can be done in a multitude of ways, beyond just charging a monthly subscription fee for access to something online. For service-based businesses, this often means productizing your services, which not only simplifies your sales process, but can also have positive and cost saving effect on how you operate and your cost of service. I started my business charging by the hour, then I changed to value pricing (flat rate by project), and then ultimately, I productized my services to create 3 simple, yet effective service packages that customer can choose from. The latter allowed me to grow my monthly recurring revenue by 40% in less than 6 months.
Possible Outcomes: Develop and implement a recurring revenue model for your business.
Employee Management and
EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT AND PEOPLE STRATEGY
Every business is in the “people” business. Being the owner of a service-based business, I tried and tested various ways to source, hire, onboard, train, and retain employees until I was able to have them deliver and operate at level that required little to no oversight from me. And the key was to achieve that result without being leveraged by any one employee in the company. Ultimately, it’s important for a sellable business to have a way to keep the talent pipeline filled (even when you don’t need someone yet), to have crystal clear roles and responsibilities (that also includes built-in redundancies), establish a culture that will foster the delivery of the work that you promised your customer, and to document processes and procedures (in a way that is actually useful) in the business so that you don’t have to worry about any one person leaving and devastating your company, including yourself.
Possible Outcomes: Implement a system to hire and train the right employees to help you deliver what you promise your customer and to Identify and eliminate any dependencies of the business from any key employee, including you.
SALES & MARKETING STRATEGY
Many businesses rely on word-of-mouth and referrals to generate leads and attract prospects, which is an unreliable way to consistently fill your sales pipeline, especially if the company’s strategy is simply that you, as the business owner, are the main rainmaker. In my own business, I made the hard shift of being the sole rainmaker of my company to establishing a brand and implementing a marketing strategy that can feed leads into my business and, eventually, a process to close sales without my involvement. To do so, I learned what each piece of the marketing funnel looked like and what activities to adopt to move prospects down the funnel and closer to the sale. This was one of the most significant projects I undertook that separated the business from me.
Possible Outcomes: Learn how to apply the marketing funnel to your business, devise a strategy on how to separate you and your business so you aren’t seen as one and the same in the sales process, and to create more than one avenue of bringing in leads to your business that can be converted to sales.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT AND SUCCESS STRATEGY
Increasing customer retention and loyalty or upselling to an existing customer is good for both increasing the top line revenue and for lowering expenses, as the cost to acquire new customer is typically higher than simply retaining and/or upselling to an existing customer that you have already earned the trust of. But I find that this part of the business is often taken for granted as business owners tend to focus more effort on getting new customers instead of delighting and pulling in existing customers deeper to your business. This leaves easy money on the table and a loop that can be (and must be) closed between operations and sales.
Possible Outcomes: A defined customer journey with clear points of opportunity to upsell or to deepen the customer retention and loyalty that is then embedded into your customer support, customer delivery, and sales process.
AN INDUSTRY SPECIFIC AREA
Some businesses, such as e-commerce, franchises, etc. will have industry specific challenges outside of the 6 areas of focus listed.
This is something you can plan for with your business thought partner to address an unique area that requires dedicated attention.
MEET #3 & #4: EXECUTION (1-hour video call every 2 weeks)
Once we set the area of focus and outcomes we want to achieve, we then utilize each execution meeting to refine, clarify, reshape our strategy or to roll-up-our-sleeves and put our heads down for an active working session, that may include but not be limited to producing a document, presentation, spreadsheet etc. As your business thought partner, I will be with you every step of the way and provide customized feedback, advice, and consultation pulled from my own experience as a business owner to guide you and to work side-by-side with you to reach the desired outcomes.
In between the video meetings, you and I will stay connected via email and chats so you can always connect with me to ask a question, do a check in, pick my brain, brainstorm together, ask for a refocus, discuss a new development, etc.
MEET #5 & #6: EXECUTION (1-hour video call every 2 weeks)
As we enter our third month, we will stay more focused than ever to work on the implementation of our strategy with the remaining two meetings.
WRAP-UP: COMMUNITY (Online Forum for Business Owners)
As we wrap-up our final meeting, you will be invited to join an online community of business owners to enjoy continued support of your and your business. This community is a forum where here you can ask questions and share real life challenges and get answers and feedback from other business owners like yourself and on occasion, me. This community is hosted by August 88 and members are typically curated by an application process to ensure the members are business owners with real business experience in the present or past and are willing to share and offer up their experience and support for others in the community. You will automatically receive a free trial once we conclude our 3-month program.
WALK AWAY WITH:
The CLARITY of mind, of thought, and of a way forward.
Defined ACTIONS that you can truly implement in your business today.
The feeling of being RE-ENERGIZED as a business owner with a new purpose and direction.
Knowledge, expertise, and shared experience that will ACCELERATE you toward you own success with the support of a business partner who’s done it before.
Knowing that you gained TRACTION toward your success as you are encouraged to pull yourself forward as your business thought partner gently pushes you ahead.
WHAT ELSE DO
I NEED TO KNOW?
Like you’ve heard before, there is no such thing as an overnight success. The same idea goes toward building a sellable business. There is no magic pill or program that will turn your business into a sellable one in less than a month and depending on the complexity of your business, maybe not even in less than a year.
I will not sugar-coat it for you. For my own business, most of my pivot was done in 4 years’ time with more tweaks to come for a following couple of years, and no part of those 4 years was easy. Keep in mind, I didn’t have the support of a mentor or advisor, so it likely took me longer than what was possible, but I did have a big advantage in the fact that I was pre-disposed to being process oriented and somewhat systematic in how I ran my business from the start because of my background as a financial auditor and operational accountant.
Regardless, I do not regret taking on those four years. Yes, they were hard, but they were the BEST years of my time as a business owner because I had a purpose and a clear direction of where I was going with my company. I was no longer treading water toward my goals, drowning in my own thoughts of the 100+ different ways I could of, should of, and might of run my company or feel like I was building the walls to my own prison.
I do not advise anyone to take the route I did and spend four years trying to figure it out on your own, especially if there is another way that is far more effective.
This prescribed 3-month program will get you started on building the foundations of a sellable business. If you find that our time together created enough value for you to continue, you can always elect to continue for another 3-months or more to start focusing on other areas of your business to build up or make a pivot in. Otherwise, you can simply circle back when you feel you want the support of a business thought partner.
Click on the button below to learn about support plans:
A LAST TAKE-AWAY:
The minimum bar I set for myself as your business thought partner is to point you in the right direction, get you moving and increase your momentum towards building a business that fulfills the reasons of why you got into business in the first place.
Achieving the right mindset and executing the strategies to build a sellable business allowed me to meet my endgame goals. I believe the same approach can help you, even if you choose to not sell your business and simply want a business that can run on its own for years to come.
Ultimately, to build a sellable business is to simply walk the same path toward building a great business, regardless of the ultimate exit.
Whatever your endgame is for yourself and your business, I hope I get the opportunity to be a part of your journey.