Does Your Business Have Curb Appeal?Posted: January 14, 2013
Advice from an Expert Business Advisor
No matter what business you own, if you are considering buying it you’ll need to make sure it has “curb appeal”. Like your house, your business projects an image to potential buyers. When they come to see your business for the first time, your can either attract a buyer to your business or cause them to walk away.
With almost 40 years of business experience and the last decade providing coaching and business advice to small and medium sized businesses, I would like to share with you a three-step plan to improve your curb appeal and help you prepare your business to obtain the best value in the market.
1. Fix Your Leaky Faucets
Make sure your human resources policies are at least as stringent as those of the company you hope will buy your business. Some basics to have in place:
• A written policy making it clear you forbid any form of harassment or discrimination;
• A written letter of employment for each staff member;
• A written description of your bonus system;
• Written policies for employee expenses, travel and benefits.
2. Assemble Your Binder
When a potential buyer looks at your company, he wants to see that you have your business information in order. Documenting your office procedures, core processes, and other intellectual capital can help you attract more bidders and a higher price for your company, while also lowering the chance of the deal falling apart during diligence.
If you want to attract a buyer one day, your business needs a binder with instructions for basic functions, such as:
- Opening up in the morning and closing down at night;
- Forms and step-by-step instructions for routine tasks;
- Templates for key documents;
- Emergency numbers for service providers;
- Billing procedures for customers.
- How your company is positioned in the market and your marketing tools.
3. Document Your Intangibles
Intangibles for house buying might include: Is the house near a good school or daycare? What kind of neighbourhood is it? What kind of commute are you looking at to get to work?
Your business also has intangible, often intellectual, assets that a potential buyer needs to be made aware of, such as:
- Proprietary research you’ve conducted;
- A formula for acquiring new customers;
- Criteria you use to evaluate a potential new location;
- Your unique approach to satisfying a customer.
As with selling a house, your company’s curb appeal can go a long way toward closing a deal.
How About You?
Are you a SMB owner considering selling, if so, how have you prepared your business for sale?
I look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.