Survival of the Fittest - Page 8 of 10

Survival of the Fittest

you begin to repackage your business with certain brand attributes,” continues Morrison, “you allow your clients to begin to engage you, get [to know] you, and also buy from you—which in turn leads to you becoming more successful.”

3It just takes one. Morrison says first-time business owners tend to fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people. He recommends entrepreneurs pick one thing to focus their efforts on initially. Remember to “grow rich in a niche.”

4 Uncover the underperforming. Three key areas many business owners are not using effectively: resources, relationships, and results. Resources: What are the tangible resources or products you already have that you can turn into a new revenue stream or properly market? Relationships: Who do you know? Who do you know who may know someone else? Results: So, what have you done?

5 Time management = great results. Assign each business activity to a time of day. “You can’t walk in two different directions at the same time,” asserts Morrison. “So, why try to speak on the phone and answer e-mails [at the same time]?” For example, every 90 minutes of a day, focus on one thing and one thing only.

A Graceful (and Lucrative) Exit
Succession planning lets you profit from your business even after you leave
By Tamara E. Holmes
“You work your whole life to build a great _company,” says Julie Gordon White, principal of the Richmond, California-based BlueKey Business Brokerage M&A, which assists clients in buying, growing, or selling a business. “And the goal should be to exit with a nice cash benefit.” Developing an exit strategy is just as important as creating your business plan, because you want to exit your business as successfully as you operate it.

There are four main paths to exiting a business. Here is how to determine which plan will work for you:

Selling to a third party If you choose this option, start planning at least three years in advance since a buyer and a lender will use three years’ worth of tax and profit and loss statements to evaluate your business, says Gordon White.

For a percentage of the transaction, an investment banker or a business broker can guide you through the selling process from beginning to end, helping you determine what your business is worth and identifying prospective buyers. The size of your business generally dictates which one you use: investment bankers typically work with businesses that have revenues of $30 million or more, says Gordon White.

The exit strategy will also determine when to sell. Owners should “stay in the business long enough to develop enough value so the money they receive is enough for the rest of their lives,” says John H. Brown, author of How To Run Your Business So You Can Leave it in Style (Business Enterprise Press; $24.95).

Brown says the key benefit to selling to a third party is maximizing your profit. He suggests business owners who want to walk away from the business entirely explore this option.

Keeping it in the family Early