Benchmark Business Group

My Baby is Not Ugly!

March 19, 2018

My baby is not ugly!
For most business owners, their business is their baby. You have great expectations and work hard to ensure your baby will have the best possible future. Regardless of how old your baby is, you lose sleep, nurture them through rough times and celebrate the great times. You buy them expensive items so they can look good and have the latest technology. You become very invested emotionally, and financially, in your business.
Buyers seldom love your baby at first sight.
Buyers will be judging your baby by the number of warts, bad habits and the amount of money it takes to keep it healthy. They won't always consider the times you struggled financially, the long hours and late nights, or other sacrifices you made. When buyers begin to look at your business they will see it in its present condition. They only look to the past to predict what will be ahead. They will look back on the financial history, and start making judgments without knowing, and many times without caring, what it took to get your business where it is today.
Prepare for buyers to ask why your baby is ugly.
It's natural for business owners to feel a bit defensive, and even protective, of what they have taken years to nurture and grow. Being defensive and taking offense at buyers' comments about your baby can be a deal killer. We have seen a multitude of interested, qualified buyers walk away from a deal as a result of the sellers not being able to handle negative observations about their business. A buyer's due diligence process demands they uncover the liabilities that exist in a business. A seller's preparedness to handle direct questions objectively and honestly, without being offended, enables buy/sell conversations to move forward.
It's time to look at how ugly your baby is.
To prepare yourself to confidently and professionally discuss how ugly your baby is, we recommend you actively engage in describing the ugly aspects of your business. Take a critical look at your business and list the not-so-adoring aspects of how it operates:
  • How does the cash flow?
  • How much does it depend on you to operate effectively?
  • How much do sales depend on you?
  • What are your customers saying about you online?
  • Is your business overly reliant on a key vendor or employee?
  • What is driving you crazy that needs to be dealt with?
Another way to determine what a buyer will see is to understand what your employees see! By asking your employees what would improve your business, you can more objectively identify the areas that will concern a buyer.
Is it time to give your baby a makeover?
Based on what you discover, you may want to do a major makeover, or do some minor work on your baby to make it more attractive and, well - less ugly. When you have an attractive business, it will be more appealing to buyers and it will give you more value while you continue to own it!

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