The day is finally here! The decision is made. You are going to put the business up for sale. Getting to this point required careful thought and was not an easy decision. However, now comes the hard part — how can you prepare the business for sale. One consideration for the sale of a business should be the brand. You spend 30 years pulling this business together and you would think that the brand is properly established. Why would we need to change?
What’s in a Name
When considering your brand, first look at the corporate name. Is your family name associated with the business? When your customers think of your product or service, do they associate it with you? If you move on, will customer’s perception change because you are no longer part of the business?
If the answers to the above questions are “Yes”, then you need to take a careful look at your branding. This does not mean that you need to change the name. It does mean that your future branding needs to change customer perception. Today your branding is synonymous with you. In the future, your business and the brand must be able to survive without you at the helm.
Buyers will pay more for a business that can stand on its own. In addition, you will be able to negotiate a shorter transition time as part of the sale. Buyers want the business to succeed after the sale. Positioning your branding to achieve that goal adds more money into your pocket and gives you more time for future endeavors.
To Tweet or Not to Tweet
Now that you have made the decision for a sale, you can finally ignore the need to consider social media as part of your marketing strategy, right? No. In today’s digital age, your brand is associated with your online presence. Remember that your business’ valuation is highly dependent on future cash flow and earnings. Therefore, it is extremely important to consider how your online presence can affect that cash flow.
Consider these two figures.
Figure 1: Traditional Media
Figure 2: Digital Media
The Social Media landscape far exceeds that of traditional media. The cost of being active in the Social Media space can be much lower than that of traditional media.
If your product or service is primarily B2C (business-to-consumer), then consider Facebook as a valuable marketing asset for your business. Facebook allows you to set-up an online presence that can be branded to your specifications. Here you can proactively highlight your product or service.
If your product or service is primarily B2B (business-to-business), then consider LinkedIn as a strategic application for your business. Just like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to create a brand presence with the application. Think of LinkedIn as a community of like-minded business people searching for additional connections to expand business. Blogging and posting marketing collateral on LinkedIn establishes an online image.
Finally, let’s talk about Twitter. Twitter is a platform for sharing links and landing pages. If you consider Facebook and LinkedIn as landing pages, then one can use Twitter to share.
Sort, Set, Shine, Sizzle
Your brand is not just a name or your digital presence. Your brand encompasses your entire business—from how you address customers to how you deliver product. Therefore, before you sell your business, take some time to adopt one aspect of Lean Six Sigma practices—5S (Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain).
These 5 concepts can be invaluable in putting together a sustainable business process. These concepts have been successfully used to simplify manufacturing and delivery processes. They have also been used to modify service based processes (i.e. customer service) to create a better customer experience.
A structured standardized business process is invaluable to a Buyer. Buyers embrace businesses that have codified systems that can be sustained over time. A clean organized office and distribution facility creates a perception for a Buyer of a well-run company.
In preparing your business for sale, consider your brand. Your business will need to survive without you in the lead, and therefore, your brand must be able to succeed you. Remember that Buyers consider future earning potential when valuing a business. Therefore, establishing a marketing program that embraces digital media can add value. Finally, consider all of your business processes as an extension of your brand. Incorporating 5S practices will create a sustained business model that will entice Buyers to your business.