As the Owner, you know all the wonderful things about your company. But that doesn't mean a Buyer automatically does. You will have to tell them. Making someone work for it isn't the smartest strategy. It's not just numbers Buyers need to consider purchasing your business.
You know who your best technical staff are, the ones who are the most loyal and the small circle you can count on any time. The folks I like to describe as 'in a crunch it's always the same bunch'. The staff with huge potential who are consistently growing and assuming more responsibility. The key people you've been grooming to take over management. The loyal, hard working day to day heartbeat of your organisation.
This is the knowledge gained over years of working together week after week. Experienced Buyers can acquire some of the information via staff interviews, but not near what you can provide. If you think you can hide the dirt, think again. Maybe you can for a while, but the truth always seems to surface. The Buyer of today is typically seasoned and short on a capacity for BS.
You know how great your relationships are with specific large key and smaller long-term customers, but the Buyer doesn't until you show them. You know the ideas and opportunities that have been on the back burner and are ready for moving forward.
You need to dig out all the great things about your business, the obvious and the not so obvious. The things you take for granted and the stuff you just do because, well you've been doing it forever. The new innovations and the upcoming industry trends you spotted years ago and have prepared for. The relationships with friendly competitors and the strategic alliances.
And don't forget the numbers. They will be requested in every configuration and scrutinised with a magnifying glass. Knowing how to present them is key. If you can't anticipate the requests and respond quickly the momentum can get lost pretty easily.
Yes, after the NDA.
It's not about bragging or blowing your own horn. More like sharing the many accomplishments you and your staff have achieved over likely, give or take, 30 years of blood, sweat and tears. Sales, well run processes, reputation, innovations and industry standing are all important. The successes you've attained need to be recognised and you need to be compensated for them.
You can't expect a potential Buyer to just uncover the information or glean it all from your conversations and retain it on their own. The data has to be packaged, wrapped in a bow and presented like it was the greatest gift they will ever receive.
As with many large purchases the decision will be made by more than one person. The Buyer may make the final decision, but they will consult with others.
Your company story needs to be told with as much impact and backup detail as your most important sale ever. But more so, it needs to be transportable to other offices and the many conversations that will go on while a Buyer is considering the purchase of your business. And frankly, you or your representatives will not be in all those meetings and conversations.
So remember, as you move down the path of transition, you can't keep the wonderful things about your business, both the obvious and the hidden value a secret. If you expect to sell for top dollar and on your terms you need to clearly tell the complete story in an interesting, informative and exciting way.
The trick is to dig it all out and communicate all of your company greatness in an easy to digest format. Present it so anyone can get your story quickly and easily. You don't always know who is being told about you and under what circumstances. What you do know is, they will be influencing the purchase decision. Or the potential Buyer wouldn't be talking to them in the first place.
Subtle or heavy influencer, they can only comment on what they've been told. You can control the story more or less. Shouldn't you make it more than less.