how-to-sell-my-business

How to sell my business and retire early

Those who read ActionCOACH eBooks or blog posts regularly will know how critical it is to spend more and more time away from your business, so that the money you make is not merely a reflection of how many hours you’ve put in. That’s the power of passive income.

One great step to becoming a financially-free entrepreneur is selling the business. You may have googled ‘how to sell my business’ and found tips from all kinds of sources, credible or not! That’s why ActionCOACH, the World’s Number 1 Business Coaching Firm, has developed the following 5 steps to help you sell your business for the best possible figure.

The prospect of selling a business is exciting, because it means the possibility of you taking a break, retiring early, or starting a new venture all together. But there’s quite a bit of work involved if you want to sell your business to the right investor at the right price. For example, be aware that to get the best sale value, it takes a good year of preparation before you even put your company on the market.

Here are 5 tips that really work when selling a business:

1. Sell your business the way you’d sell a house.

Selling a business and selling a house are similar in a lot of ways; most people wouldn’t let people tour their home without making some cosmetic changes and cleaning up before offering it for sale. The same is true for your business.

So, run the next year with good financials, keep your paperwork up-to-date and document everything. Outline each and every responsibility of each job and include key performance indicators that clearly establish what is expected of each player and group. Next, get your “house” in order. Over the next 12 months, give your business a fresh coat of paint and get it tidy.

2. Decide on your game plan.

Speak with professional advisors to seek guidance on the best plan for selling your business. Those might be Coaches, Accountants or the like; they can add immeasurably to your chance of successfully selling your business.
In your initial discussion, you’ll get a better idea of who your potential buyer could be, and how to best position your company to get the most value in the marketplace.

3. Learn valuations for your industry or category

During these discussions, you should get some solid information about the valuation models buyers will use for your company in your particular industry or category.

Different industries and different businesses use different multiples. Some use multiples of profit, some revenues, and others cash flow. You’ll also learn where the goodwill value in your business is going to come from.

You may be in a business where stock and inventory levels will figure into the equation, or one where your database is your most valuable asset. Perhaps you own some particularly valuable intellectual property. Or is it simply the earning power of the business that you’ll sell? Knowing what you have to work with, or need to focus on, will give you confidence in putting together a solid informational and sales package for prospective buyers.

4. Plan your information and sales kits

During the process, you will be putting together all of your materials in an overall information and sales package. Buyers will want to access information as part of their own due diligence, and the more information you can provide in a ‘kit’ the better and easier the sales process will be. Include these items:

● Samples of all of your marketing materials

● An overview of your financials

● Contracts for your team

● Inventory of your assets

5. Prep your team

Create and then implement a good communications plan with your team and management about your goals and objectives, your desired outcome and your reasons for the sale.

You may also want to seek outside guidance on this process as well, as communicating a sale can be tricky. The last thing you want is panic in your organisation before you’ve even got the sale. For help with this part of the process call ActionCOACH on <PHONE>.

Meet with your accountant or lawyer to make sure what kind of sale is right for you so you don’t pay more taxes than you need to as a result of the sale.

Finally, try to be patient. Around 30% of deals fall through in the due-diligence phase of the process. While all of the prep work can be exhausting, the more work you can put into positioning and ‘packaging’ your business, the quicker and easier the sales process will be, and the more value you’ll get in return. For more information on any of the details in this article, read our eBook Selling your Business here.

ActionCOACH can get you on track to sell your business for the best possible value. Contact us 02 9146 4439.

time-management-tools

4 Time Management Tools to help you work 10 fewer hours each week

Want to get some time back for yourself, but afraid that your business’ productivity or profits will suffer?
We hear this from so many business owners who don’t have the strategies or time management tools to confidently step away and enjoy some free time to recharge or think about their next business idea.

Ironically and unfortunately, most business owners are so busy making a living that they do not have time to really make a significant amount of money. But surely you didn’t leave your old job, take risks and devote your time to building a business only to earn yourself a monthly wage by working harder than you ever have before? So let’s find you some free time.

ActionCOACH is highly experienced in assisting business owners to work less and make more. Here are four time management tools anyone can use to make more money in less time.

Tool One: Fire Extraneous Customers

Customers who are a waste of time are like shoplifters who specialize in stealing our valuable time. We need to get rid of them or transform them into paying customers. You know who they are. The ones who don’t pay their invoices on time, never stop complaining or can’t be satisfied, those who tie up sales reps, customer service personnel, supervisors, and managers.

How do you get rid of them? You can either delete dead-end leads from the client database or send selected clients to a more appropriate business that matches their price demands.

Also consider whether you need to eliminate the magnets that are attracting those unwanted customers in the first place. Freebies for signing up might be a great plan for attracting new business, but might not be attracting your ideal customer. Remember, profit is the goal and the most important barometer of success.

Tool Two: Double the Conversion Rates of Transactions

The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones. While most people crawl toward retirement on the same income, increasing profits in a business can be done in a matter of days or weeks. To prepare for a profit-boosting initiative, gather accounting data and metrics to get a clear picture of where profits come from, how many contacts are made with customers each month, and how many customers make actual purchases. Next, launch a marketing and advertising push in order to generate new customer leads, encourage existing customers to buy more, and to promote the most profitable products or services in the inventory. Let’s look at an example of this business tool in action: Assume that the business is open 40 hours per week, or approximately 160 hours per month.

To gain 10 hours per week (or take 10 hours off without losing money) it is necessary to reap 40 hours’ worth of extra profits per month (10 hours a week times 4 weeks = 40 hours). One week is 25 percent of a 4-week month. So to gain 10 hours per week it is therefore necessary to increase conversion rates – in other words, sales and profits – by a mere 25 percent. Do this by attracting more customers; by making an extra quarter of profit margin on each dollar in sales, or by lowering overhead by 25 percent.

Apply enough effort and energy to the task and it is possible to double profits in a single month. Then an entrepreneur can afford to take an entire week off every month.

Step Three: Run Businesses on Autopilot

Now the business owner has enviable options. One possibility is to close down the business for 10 hours each week, take time off, and settle for making the same amount of money per month that was generated before boosting profits by 25 percent. Another alternative, however, is for the clever entrepreneur to leverage that newfound success for progressive changes and forward momentum. They will maintain the same hours of operation, capture the extra 25 percent in profits, and then wisely reinvest those profits in greater time saving initiatives.

By working smarter, not harder, through organized systems, cutting-edge technology, innovative advertising, and dynamic employee training, the entrepreneur can prepare to put the business into the hands of capable others – which is the next step toward personal freedom. Bill Gates became the richest man in America not by making computer software, but by inventing a system for selling software around the world without having to be physically involved in each of the transactions.

Those who keep enhancing that approach and applying that kind of formula are soon retired from the business completely with a steady stream of monthly income to live on, invest in new ventures, spend on hobbies and vacations, and fulfil lifelong dreams.

Tool Four: Activate the Passive Mode of Making Money

Most people work an entire lifetime to accumulate enough assets and savings to let them enjoy passive income. Many work a lifetime and still don’t achieve it, so they are never truly free to retire or do whatever they please. Real success and wealth is only realized by those whose money works overtime for them to generate passive income. When investments and businesses are generating positive cash flow and net profits, they add to one’s bank account constantly and continually.

But you need free time (start with the extra 10 hours per week) to expand profit centres, open new businesses, sell them for a profit, and launch into other investments. The key to early retirement or rapid wealth is to build passive income throughout life, rather than trying to simply accumulate a portfolio of assets. If passive income is there, then the potential to acquire assets is made possible.

Putting it All Together: Time and Money with More of Both to Spare

Enjoying one’s ideal lifestyle becomes a fulltime occupation, thanks to the fact that it is possible to easily work 10 hours less each week without giving up productivity or income. Repeat the formula and reap 20 free hours a week. Double that and soon the nine-to-five schedule of most workers becomes transformed into 40 liberated hours of free time each week. Using the four tools outlined above will allow you to quickly reach full time retirement with plenty of money for a pleasurable and rewarding lifestyle spent with family and friends.

More information on time management tools can be found in our eBook called The Real Guide to Productive and Effective Time Management Skills here.

For advice unique to your business circumstances, call ActionCOACH today, on 02 9146 4439.

good-leadership-skills

How to develop good leadership skills when starting your business

What’s on your business card? Managing Director? Owner? CEO? Yes, by definition and title you are the leader of your organisation. However, the ability to empower your teams and steer the business toward success (while not doing everything yourself) is a skill that is not automatic to all business owners. More often than not; good leadership skills must be learned.

What attitude should a great leader have?

While individual skills can be learned and practiced (explained later in this article), there is an overall attitude that must be embraced by leaders when they start their business. That is, a managerial perspective. An example of poor managerial perspective is if a business is not working, a poor leader simply hires more employees. Throwing extra bodies at the problem only aggravates the situation because it fails to address the underlying root cause. Growing larger only generates a much bigger company with problems that are expanded, magnified, and much more expensive to remedy. For more on this topic, read our eBook on achieving synergy in business.

While (quite naturally) individual leaders have many unique traits, ALL leaders do share a kindred spirit, a certain type of constitution, and a special drive and willingness. And they CAN be learned!

12 characteristics common to ALL successful leaders

1. Confidence – Confidence is a hallmark of all good leaders. Not all of us are born with confidence, but that does not mean we are not capable of it. Many confident people gain their sense of self-esteem and faith in their ability to greet challenges by acting – even when they lack the confidence – and then gaining strength and belief in themselves by seeing the results and gaining the praise and respect of others.
2. A Sense of Ownership – Taking responsibility for getting things done – and doing them with care and attention – means to act like an owner. Rather than viewing a problem as someone else’s, the good leader sees it as their own and takes pride in finding a solution, leaving things in better shape than they were before. While a sense of ownership makes for a stellar employee, the good leader knows that the goal is not to be owned by the enslavement of too much responsibility. Rather than controlling situations in an attempt to possess them, the good leader teaches other people how to take charge. In that way the clever leader uses individual accountability in the ultimate pursuit of profitability, teamwork, and overall success.
3. Ability to Communicate – Excellent leaders recognize that the most important part of any business is the human element. And communication is the key to successful relationships with people. A good leader works to hone communication skills, whether those are written, spoken, or non-verbal messages conveyed through body language. And to support communication, they may even take on foreign language or public speaking classes, computer and telecom technology, search engine optimization, or specialized writing such as that needed for grants, business proposals, mission statements, or policy manuals. Above all, a good leader develops a keen ability to listen and hear what others are trying to say, because the best communicators got that way by first being the best listeners.
4. Passion for Learning – Good leaders are often “autodidactic” learners, which means that much of what they know they learned not in a formal classroom setting but instead on their own by seeking out information, asking questions, and doing personal reading and research. They also are quick to learn from their own mistakes, which means they are less prone to keep repeating them due to arrogance, ego, or a blindness to one’s own faults, shortcomings, or errors in judgement. They entertain the views of others and perspectives that may be unlike their own, for instance, in order to be better students of human nature. In this way they continue to enrich themselves with knowledge while also making a concerted effort to grow that knowledge by sharing it with others who are also front row students of life’s valuable and unlimited lessons.
5. Team Player – Those who go into business for themselves but do not utilize teamwork wind up without the team but still have all the work to get done. They shoulder the whole burden for themselves, and wind up just trading their old job for a new and more demanding one – in an attempt to be self-employed. But the new venture carries greater personal and financial risks. On the other hand, team players know how to succeed by employing the physics of interpersonal synergy and dynamic relationships. Successful leaders leverage teamwork to get the heavy lifting done without breaking stride.
6. System-Oriented – Like mathematical formulas, good systems allow us to reproduce great results every time – with less and less exertion of energy or resources. Great leaders rely upon systems before they rely upon people, and they look for system-based solutions before searching for human resource solutions. If the person gets the job done but falls sick or leaves, the job is threatened. But if a system is created to get the job done, anyone can step in and follow the blueprint to get the desired result. Similarly, when troubleshooting and problem solving, a good leader will first examine and study the system – because a flaw in the system will produce a flawed outcome each and every time. Designing, implementing, and perfecting systems is one of the most useful and rewarding skills of a leader.
7. Dedicated – Good leaders dedicate themselves to the fulfilment of their plans, visions, and dreams, and that tenacity of purpose generates electricity throughout the whole organization. One of the biggest reasons that companies fail is because they lose focus. Target a goal, clarify the objective, refine the brand, and narrow the margin of error. Regardless of what the effort might involve, a true leader brings a single-minded dedication to the task by being committed to a positive outcome and ready and willing to do the needful. No matter what that might mean in terms of rising to meet a challenge or acting above and beyond the call of duty, the leader shows steadfast dedication.
8. Grateful – Being grateful for what we have opens us up to receive more, and one reason that is true is because those who are grateful appreciate what they are given. They respect it and nurture it. They do their best to make it grow instead of allowing it to dwindle away due to neglect. True leaders learn to take nothing for granted in this world. That gives them the agility and flexibility to adapt to changes and demands, while it also invests in them a thankfulness that reminds them that riches and wealth are not about “stuff”, but are about fulfilment, satisfaction, and the pleasure that comes from one’s accomplishments and contributions.
9. Optimistic – A positive outlook is essential for good leaders, who learns to see setbacks as bargain priced tuition for the valuable business lessons gained through first-hand experience. Past shortcomings, failures, or disappointments are relegated to the past so that they cannot continue to haunt the present or obstruct the future. And when things go right and business prospers, this further fuels the optimism and positive mind-set of a leader, helping to give impetus and momentum for greater accomplishments and increased hopefulness.
10. Gregarious – Because business is all about people, great leaders tend to be socially outgoing. They get excited about sharing ideas, products, and services, and that excitement is contagious to their employees, clients, friends, and other contacts both within and beyond the business sphere. But women and men who work hard as leaders also relish the unique opportunity to have fun doing something that they love as their primary vocation. Human resource experts, career counsellors, and business psychologists all agree that those who do jobs they enjoy and are good at have higher rates of success and broader measures of satisfaction.
11. Leads by Example – Great leaders not only lead themselves through self-motivation as self-starters who jump into tasks with enthusiasm, but they are also skilled at leading others. They know the importance of teamwork, and they understand the need to appreciate others, support them, and reward them accordingly. As renowned business consultant and retired United States Air Force Major General Perry M. Smith once wrote, “Leaders who share their power and their time can accomplish extraordinary things. The best leaders understand that leadership is the liberation of talent; hence they gain power not only by constantly giving it away, but also by not grabbing it back.”
12. Not Afraid of Risk or Success – Many people could be successful if they only took chances. And many people who do take chances and become somewhat successful find the realization of their dreams an overwhelming possibility, so they sabotage their continued success by retreating back into a comfort zone of smallness. Good leaders prioritize their approach to life so that the fear of failure, frustration, boredom, drudgery, and dissatisfaction far outweighs the lingering fear of success.
Adopting these traits of the successful leader can give us a wonderfully inspiring boost of confidence, foresight, and determination when we realize that we, too, share that winning attitude. Use the above as a checklist to build good leadership skills and become a better leader for your business.

For one-on-one leadership skills coaching that can help you and your business go from good to great, contact ActionCoach here or download a copy of this eBook called “Run your business like a well-oiled machine” here.

Build your dream team: the secret to attracting and retaining talent.

Brilliant people don’t just appear in your office one morning and start working perfectly in your business. It takes some skill and a proven process for attracting and retaining talent (great talent!). Rest assured, you don’t need an HR degree or a great deal of recruiting experience to attract a winning team. ActionCOACH has a five-hour recruitment process that will bring in the talent but first you need to ensure that your business is one that will appeal to great talent – they have to be attracted to work there and to stay there!

 

Why must a business be attractive to talent?

Good or bad, the people you get and retain are the people you deserve! And, if you want a great business, that doesn’t depend on you being there all the time, then you need a winning team.  The more work you put into becoming really good at recruiting and retaining talent, the better the result will be for you and your business. Never underestimate the potential of a team that works well together towards your company vision… especially if they can do it while you’re on a beach somewhere with no internet access.

 

Six keys to a winning team that will attract and retain talent:

 

Key Element One – Strong Leadership. Your Team will look to you for guidance, growth, decisions and development. No matter which leadership style you have; strive to hand out praise, champion the team’s new ideas, teach people, make timely decisions, listen to your team and be enthusiastic about the business. These are the actions common to history’s successful business leaders.

 

Key Element Two – Common Goals. The company Vision, Mission and Goals should be shared with everyone in your team (new and existing). Before anyone signs up to a job, they want to know what they are getting involved with, what you and the business stands for and how you are all going to reach the said objectives. When recruiting team members – whether from inside the business or from outside – the vision statement is emphasized, explained, and delved into at great length.

 

Key Element Three – Rules of the Game. When it comes to business operations, employees and teams are often left in the dark about what they are actually required to do! Just like a professional football team has a playbook which defines the boundaries and areas of measurable responsibility for each team member – your business also needs a rule book so they know their unique and specialised roles, and the team keeps winning.

 

Key Element Four – Action Plan. Everyone in your team needs an action plan for success. Give each person a title, a job description, KPI’s and a clear plan for their success. Explain how others will support them in their role. Supporting the team with tools, training, technology, and systems ensures that the talent stays motivated, and means the owner or entrepreneur can run the business without being run by the business.

 

Key Element Five – Support Risk Taking. If you are not open to some degree of healthy risk-taking within your business, it is almost impossible for your team to succeed. Every new product, new way of marketing, new niche or internal business process seems too risky… until it works. To build effective teams in your business, led by example, and be open to change, calculated risk and new ideas.

 

Key Element Six – 100% Involvement and Inclusion.  The best teams have everyone in the team doing their job and doing it well.  Sometimes, team members even need to go ‘above and beyond’ their exact role.  It’s a wonderful experience to work in a team where everyone really does deliver to their responsibilities and just a little more beyond.  Make sure, as the leader, that you’re inclusive in your management style and also make sure that individual team members actively involve themselves – this is a two-way street!

 

How will I know when I have a great team?

The end result of a successful team is synergy. This means that the sum of teamwork is greater than the separate parts of the team. In business terms, this means that the return on an investment is greater than the contributions made to that investment. People have innate chemistry. If we combine that natural chemistry one way we get an explosive, disastrous outcome from opposite polarity. Combine it in another way and we get increased energy, vitality, and success from magical magnetism.

 

 

If you want a Business Coach that can help guide you through the talent recruitment process, please call ActionCOACH on 02 9146 4439.

 

For more detail on attracting and recruiting talent for your business, download your eBook Building a Winning Team here.

 

4 Steps to generate sales leads that will multiply your business

Even if your business has an outstanding service or in-demand product; without new sales leads, there is a good chance that your business success will be short term. So how do you future-proof your business? The answer lies in the ability to consistently find, develop and cultivate new sales leads, so they actualise into sales for your business.

There are many time-consuming and costly ways to generate new sales leads. We’ve seen all the mistakes that businesses make time and time again which stop them from thriving. Let’s take a look at how businesses are doing it well, so we can help your business gain quality sales leads.

Step 1 –Ensure that your Customer service delivers “WOW!”

Too many businesses forget about customer service, instead focusing on discounts and incentives to generate sales leads that end up costing them in the long run. If you concentrate on the way each customer feels after they’ve done business with you and that’s its now just positive for them but makes them think “wow!”, you will see more repeat business and they’ll start talking about you with others. Sound simple? It’s a simple concept, but you need to take a good hard look at internal processes to improve customer service. For example, look at the telephone and email scripts that your sales staff use, and see where the customer experience could be enhanced. Re-write the scripts or rules if needed… it could be the most valuable hour you’ll ever spend on your business!

Step 2 –Create referrals and make the most of your customers

Your Number 1 source of new leads is right under your nose… it’s your existing customers! No doubt if you have managed to get repeat business from one or more customers, they will have something great to say about your business.  Ask them who else they know that is in a similar position or has similar needs to them?  Would they be willing to introduce you?  Be proactive about asking for referrals!

Also be diligent to collect positive experiences from these customers as you go. When you’re ready, you can use these words or stories as content to help generate sales leads.Did you know that people trust their peers more than they trust brand advertising? Research shows that more than 8-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But trust isn’t confined only to those in our inner circle. In fact, two-thirds (66%) say they trust consumer opinions posted online—the third-most-trusted format. (Nielsen Poll 2015).

Your referral resources don’t have to be strictly word of mouth. Consumer reviews, testimonials, online ratings and social media following will all help boost the chances of a cold sales lead developing trust in your business without even seeing any paid advertising.

If you can turn your top customers into raving fans of your business you have gone a long way to ensure the long term viability of your business. For more great tips on impactful sales and marketing techniques, download our eBook.

Step 3 – Understand your customer acquisition costs

Do you look at your marketing as an expense or an investment? It is vital for businesses to understand that you don’t just get customers, you buy them. When you have that mind-set, you can begin to understand just what you need to spend on your marketing to generate new leads.

One of the cheapest ways to buy customers is through social media, and probably the most expensive is traditional major media advertising like television or radio. But you don’t necessarily just go with the cheaper option. First, find out what will work to attract your ideal customer. If television advertising costs $5,000 for 30 seconds, but it brings you 500 customers who spend an average of $100 each, that media could be a great investment for your business. Ask the person responsible for selling you the media spot (online, event, TV, radio etc.) to help you to determine what sales lead outcomes you are likely to generate. Of course you know your business best, so trust your judgement as well as their advice.  Then be sure to track the results of all marketing activities so that you understand how well and how cost-effectively each one brings you leads.

Step 4 – Use strategic alliances

One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses. Working in strategic alliances with other businesses that sell to the same group you target as customers, but sell a different product, can be incredibly beneficial to all parties, including the customer. Consider how much easier would it be to get customers if you were using the database of a company that your potential customers had already done business with?

When McDonald’s has a new toy in its Happy Meal that relates to the latest summer movie, it’s a strategic alliance. The world’s biggest companies do it and their new sales grow because of it.

Strategic alliances also give you a sense of working in a team, rather that alone. You have another business owner, who is dealing with the same group of customers you are. You can discuss sale strategies, work on them together and profit together. If you need some help choosing a strategic alliance for your business, contact ActionCOACH for advice.

Using our proven 4 strategies for generating sales leads will ensure your business can generate enough new leads to keep your business moving forward. For advice unique to your business circumstances, book in a free first consultation with ActionCOACH, or call us on 02 9146 4439.

For more tips on sales and marketing download a copy of “Working with your niche so you don’t have to compete on price.”