We are continually meeting with business owners who are working toward the day when they will sell their company and recognize that dream; the time when their hard work will really pay off. Before and during that process, it pays to keep an eye on the ball. Business owners make decisions every day that affect the health of their company. Many times, those decisions relate to employing capital in ways that create a return. We counsel clients not to forget the simple ways that value is protected and expanded in the firm;
No. 1: Engage your Employees
As a leader in your business, you must provide employees with a sense of stability and confidence. Let them know that you are in control of the situation and always be a force for optimism. You can begin by getting some exercise. Walk the hallways, making yourself visible and accessible. Though you might be full of anxiety, the last thing you should do is stay behind a closed office door. That will only increase suspicion and fear. Be honest about the challenges you face, but remain optimistic. For the last several years, employers have been fighting the opposite of fear – entitlement.
When the job market is good, employees have an increased sense of privilege and productivity suffers. At the other end of the spectrum, when the job market suffers and fear takes over a company culture, productivity suffers as well. It is a leader’s responsibility to manage the balance between too little anxiety and too much. Either extreme will be detrimental to productivity.
No. 2: Hug your Customers
Ask your customers how they are doing. After all, the health of your customer’s business drives the health of your business. Show them you care about their success. Ask them specifically what you can do to help. Approach your customers with a sense of humility. Spend some time listening and asking questions. Be proactive, and let them know that you are keenly interested in helping them to succeed.
No. 3: Lead with Balance
Some leaders tend to focus on costs, while others emphasize growth. Those who put too much emphasis on costs tend to be stranglers who inhibit growth. By contrast, those who focus too much on growth can out-strip their resources and eventually run short of capital. It pays to lead with balance. Stay open and take a careful look at the possibilities while making sure you understand the value of both sides of the coin.
No. 4: Change the Rules
Challenge every assumption about your business model. It could be time to try some radical ideas. Don’t let go of your core ideologies, but think hard about those longstanding habits that are no longer questioned. Make some tough decisions and change the rules. Be innovative and decisive. Try new ideas, measure their results, and try again. Often, ground-breaking changes come from the unanticipated corners of the market or even those outside the industry.
No. 5: Create a “Stop Doing” List
Productivity is a matter of output measured against input. Productivity goes up when work is more efficient, not when people work harder. The lesson here is that doing more doesn’t get you more. By doing the right things and cutting away unnecessary activities, you can increase your productivity. Make a habit of continually analyzing everything the firm does. Challenge your current habits. Analyze the routine. There might be things you’ve always done to generate business that are no longer working.
The majority of our business is derived from referrals. Please consider referring our services if you encounter a situation involving the potential purchase or sale of a business.
Ronald V. Chernak
Inspiring business relationships since 1982!