There’s a choice to make when it comes to being a business owner looking for a succession plan. You can make your business run fast or you can let it jog-along, in a confused state and chancing that you will serendipitously find a willing buyer. We help owners move out of the way (of themselves) and let the next best runner take the baton.
Here’s my view on what has to happen for the betterment of the aging SME owner-business landscape:
- Recognise the symptoms and treat the cause. When it comes time to getting the business ready for sale, let’s get real. What is the point in the owner starting a coaching program with one of the many coaching franchises in an attempt to improve their management style and delegation skills when that person has zero passion for being in the business day to day for another two to three years. If the owner can be made to feel comfortable with the option to fire themselves and get a new manager to grow the business once again, then the owner will stand a much greater chance of realising a healthy business sale price. Owner-managers have options. Firing themselves is often the best option.
- What worked before 2008 doesn’t work now and wont work again. The cards have been drastically shuffled and there is an entirely new game being played. Whereas previously would-be entrepreneurs could copy business models that worked in the US, and stand a reasonable chance of success when importing that model into Australia, that hopeful game has gone – thankfully. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the volume of franchisees going into administration on a daily basis in Australia and you will see that this is true. Long rest the franchisee! Business managers (not owners – they have been fired, remember) need to unashamedly reinvent their business and cooperate with competitors. Yes, that’s right, co-operate with competitors. Do something different. Do anything different. Be bold, be brave or be gone!
- Keep it simple and focus on the customer value proposition. Has the customer’s needs changed? Have you bothered to ask? The game has changed for you and it certainly will have changed for your customers upstream. Talk to them and find out what their challenges are. Are they the same challenge and need as you face, or are they uniquely different. If your needs and your customers are uniquely different that is good. If they are the same, quickly start lookingfor ways to be a solver and not part of the problem. Would it make more sense for you and your customer to now be one organisation and you retrench or retrain some of your staff to meet the customer’s higher need. Can your customer afford to buy you or will you need to include a third company to provide the finance. Perhaps your company can be the catalyst for your customer to merge with one of their competitors and then together the two merged businesses may need to bring your services in-house.
Lloyds is the world’s leading insurance market. Their management turn risks into profits. What are you doing to turn risks into profit for your business?