Here’s a sobering fact: based on historical averages, only 16% of small business listed for sale this year will actually sell.
What that tells us is that most businesses have serious, fundamental growth problems. Given that every owner needs an exit strategy (whether it be selling or succession), this is an incredibly relevant issue.
Here’s a list of some of the key steps that we think businesses should take.
Top Business Tips for Entrepreneurs
- Start with a plan. Despite the clear benefits, only a small percentage of small business owners actually maintain an ongoing business plan. Start your plan with this simple question: where do you want the business to be in two years?
- Get online. The days of being able to ignore the internet are over. Make sure you have an updated, integrated web presence. At a minimum, your website should be mobile responsive, and you should actively maintain at least two connected social media channels.
- Get outside. Old-fashioned networking still has tremendous value. Make sure to get out of the office at least once a week for a face-to-face business event.
- Empty the trash. As a rule of thumb, restaurants with shorter menus make more money. They’re more efficient, and more in tune with a defined audience. What underperforming products or services are holding you back?
- Value your time. Still “saving money” by doing things yourself? Try this exercise: take your ideal income and divide it by 2,000. That’s how much your business is paying you per hour. What tasks could you hire someone to do for less?
- Reward your staff. Raises are important, but only go so far. Take each of your key employees out for lunch and ask them: “What one thing can we offer you to help you forward in your career?” The answers might surprise you.
- Repurpose your assets. Have equipment that’s being underutilized? Do some math. You may be better off just outsourcing that step of the process, or renting time on it for extra revenue.
- Renew your contracts. Book a day to review everything from your lease to your Yellow Pages agreement. What can be re-negotiated? Extended? Cut? A single phone call can accomplish a lot.
- Review your last year. Look at last year and ask: “Where did I focus my attention?” Every positive adjustment you could make is rooted in the answer to that question.
- Make an investment. According to recent studies, executive coaching offers between a 5x-6x return-on-investment vs. fees paid.1 Acuity offers executive coaching specifically for owners looking to begin a formal exit plan. Your first meeting is free.
1Manchester Consulting Group, Fortune 100 executives; MatrixGlobal, Fortune 500 executives.