Sunday, October 8, 2017

Is your Business Ready to Sell?


If you’re thinking about selling your business, think it through carefully. Selling should never be a spur of the moment decision. There are a number of factors to consider including if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling. Here are a few of the issues to help determine if it is the right time to sell:



1. Business readiness
Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business.

2. Team approach
It's important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will be needed to help get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too.

3. Coping with Change
Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don’t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you.

4. Diversification
Can the business thrive without the owner or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. "A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business.

5. Valuation
An incorrect valuation is often the main reason businesses don’t sell. If your price is too high, buyers don't take you seriously and won't bother to investigate further. If it is too low you will leave something on the table. Most sellers don't know the value of their business. Ask a broker, get a valuation. Ask an intermediary that is experienced in selling your type of business. Having a firm idea of what you would like to achieve is ideal but keep it within reason.

I hope these few thoughts help clarify some of the key factors that can help you maximize the potential return if you sell your business. Please let me know your thoughts. Gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Monday, September 18, 2017

Business Management Issues

Issues Facing Small Business




There are a variety of issues facing new and growing businesses. 

Here are a few to owners should be aware of to ensure growth continues.





1.Cash
Finding it and managing the cash flow. It’s hard to get and there is never enough. If you are a fast growth company you can rapidly outgrow your available sources, if you are an underperforming company you can’t get it. The majority of companies don’t manage it well.
Most businesses experience some problems getting paid on time by their customers and with debt recovery. Good credit control helps to prevent this becoming a serious problem.

 2.Lack of a Clear Plan
Most businesses don’t know how to plan. Lack of a plan worsens the cash problem by wasting cash chasing tempting diversions, and throwing money at problems. Equally important is revising your plan according to changing economic and business conditions and to ensure your survival in weaker economies.

3.Ineffective Leadership
This issue takes many forms. It is frequently in the form of depth of leadership. The founder of the company is too much hands-on and a) does not concentrate enough on his primary role as a leader rather than a manager; and b) fails to enlist support of competent managers and staff behind him or her either through recruitment or by outsourcing. This eventually causes the company to stop growing and eventually could lead to failure. Directors should always remember their core role and responsibilities.

4.Prioritizing Activity
To help you determine what needs to be done immediately and what can be tackled later, ask yourself questions such as: "How much time do I have to make this decision, contact this person, or complete this assignment?"


5.Owners capacity for stress
Start with the most worrisome task; this will reduce your anxiety and stress levels for the next tasks and in many cases improve your performance. Take breaks if you feel you are about to overload. Even a short period away from the desk is effective.


I trust these ideas provide thoughts to resolving some issues faced daily by many businesses as they strive to develop and grow.
Please share your thoughts. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com







Monday, August 14, 2017

Business Management

Key Growth Strategies



Turning a small business into a big one is never easy. The statistics are grim. In other words, most businesses start small and stay there.

But if that's not good enough for you—or if you recognize that staying small doesn't necessarily guarantee your business's survival what follows are some options that can help you create a growth strategy of your own.

Internal Growth

Market Penetration. This is the least risky option of selling more products to current customers. Find new ways for customers to use your products.
Market Development. Develop ways to sell product to an adjacent market by expanding to another city or province.
New Distribution Channel. You may expand by offering product on line.
Product Development. The classic growth strategy offers new products to existing and new customers.

Integration

Horizontal. This strategy could involve buying a competitor. This not only adds to growth of your business but eliminates a competitor.
Backward. This involves buying a supplier and in addition to growth provides increased control of the supply chain.
Forward. If appropriate you could buy a component of your supply or distribution chain. This provides increased overall margin through profits at each level of product sales.

Diversification
This involves growing the company by buying another company in a sector unrelated to your business. This can be risky and certainly requires an understanding of the new market place.

Growth strategies are never pursued in a vacuum, and a company needs to be willing to change course in response to feedback from the market. Too often, companies take a year to develop a strategy and, by the time they're ready to implement it, the market has changed on them.

The marketplace generally rewards those with agility, decisiveness and ability to capitalize when opportunities are presented.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Business Management

Make Better Business Decisions




Making a decision is one of the most powerful acts for inspiring confidence in leaders and managers. Yet many bosses are sometimes squeamish about it. Some decide not to decide, while others simply procrastinate. Either way, it's typically a cop-out -- and doesn't exactly encourage inspiration in the ranks.

It can help to learn how to make better decisions. You'll be viewed as a better leader and get better results overall. Here are five tips for making quicker, more calculated decisions:


1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don't wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers.

2. Create a constructive environment. For successful decision making, make sure you establish an objective, involve stakeholders, hear others opinions, and ask the right questions.

3. Generate Good Alternatives. This step is still critical to making an effective decision. The more good options you consider the more comprehensive your final decision will be. When you generate alternatives, you force yourself to dig deeper, and look at the problem from different angles. If you use the mindset ‘there must be other solutions out there,' you're more likely to make the best decision possible.

4. Don't problem solve, decide. A decision can solve a problem, but not every problem can be solved by making a decision. Instead, decision making often relies more on intuition than analysis. Deciding between vendors, for instance, requires examining historical data, references and prices. But the tipping point often rests with your gut. Which feels like the right choice?

5. Communicate Your Decision, and Move to Action! Once you've made your decision, it's important to explain it to those affected by it, and involved in implementing it. Talk about why you chose the alternative you did. The more information you provide about risks and projected benefits, the more likely people are to support the decision.
An organized and systematic decision-making process usually leads to better decisions. Without a well-defined process, you risk making decisions that are based on insufficient information and analysis. Many variables affect the final impact of your decision.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Business Start-up

Avoid those killer start-up errors



Are you planning to start a new business?  There are many hazards that might be faced and avoiding these can help improve the chances of success.

Here a few hazards new entrepreneurs should try to avoid.


1. Under financing: lack of sufficient funding is probably the most common reason new businesses fail. Many entrepreneurs fail to assess the burn rate of the capital they have. One costly step is hiring too many people. Try paying people with equity rather than salary, you will end up with a much more committed team and preserve cash. Don’t overspend on equipment and technology you really don’t need to get going.
Also, many start-ups fail to realize that few customers pay promptly; this can severely impact cash flow.

2. Starting without a plan: enthusiasm over a good idea is over-rated. An idea is only an idea and without a well-developed business plan chances of success are minimal. It is also very difficult if not impossible to raise financing without a plan.

3. Fear of Failing
It is natural to have some fear that the business will not succeed and certainly problems will arise and challenge your business acumen. However, if the concept is strong and validated you should not let fear of failing stop you from trying to live your dream.

4. Inflexibility: with start-ups you have to be prepared to change on the go. Rarely does the plan get executed without a hitch. Marketplace dynamics, competitive behaviour and economic conditions can dramatically impact the plan. Ability to react and change plans may be a key to survival.

5. Assess your Strengths/Weaknesses: an honest evaluation of your skillset can be critical. Look for partners who my share the burdens of start-up by supplementing the skills you lack. Focus on your strengths and let others fill the void of skills you need. Chances for success will improve.

These are some hazards you may face in starting a business. There are others but avoiding these may help improve your chances of a successful start in business. I hope this helps you get underway. Let me know.
gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Business Management

Are you a Procrastinator?



Think the time you spend answering e-mail, composing IMs, and trolling Twitter doesn’t have an impact? Think again. Procrastinating in making business decisions generates enormous costs from time wasted and decisions delayed.


There are several approaches that may be considered to eliminate this waste.
1. Don’t delay.
Any time you put something off the problem usually gets bigger leading to more stress and possibly more procrastination.

2. Focus.
Reduce the issue to small tasks and work in short bursts to complete each portion. This focused activity for short periods allows you to get the feel for accomplishment. It gets you started.

3. Prioritize. 
You may never get caught up with everything you need to do. To be an effective leader you have to prioritize and decide what’s important and manage your time effectively.

4. Tune out. 
Turn off distractions. If necessary turn off email, stop answering the phone; give 100% attention to the task at hand.

5. Plan.
Create a daily plan. At the end of each day spend 3-5 minutes setting up the next day’s schedule. It may save an hour the next day while you try to determine where to start your work activity.

6. Be accountable. 
Make yourself accountable to someone for what you want to accomplish. This could be an associate, friend, or business mentor.

A task can more easily be tackled if you visualize it completed. Remember the “Law of Expanded Time”. Work will fill the time available to complete it. By making less time available to complete a task, you will spend less time completing it.

JUST DO IT.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Business Management

Make Better Decisions




Decision-making is a crucial part of good business. The question then is ‘how is a good decision made? One part of the answer is good information, another part is experience in interpreting information.


Managers can be trained to make better decisions. They also need a supportive environment where they won’t be unfairly criticised for making wrong decisions. A climate of criticism and fear stifles risk-taking and creativity; managers will respond by ‘playing it safe’ to minimise the risk of criticism which diminishes the business’ effectiveness.
Decision-making increasingly happens at all levels of a business. The Board of Directors may make the strategic decisions about investment and direction of future growth. Managers may make the more tactical decisions about how they may contribute most effectively to the overall business objectives. But employees are increasingly expected to make decisions about the conduct of their own tasks and responses to customers. As a result careful recruitment and selection, good training, and enlightened management are important supports to good decision making.

How do you make the best possible decisions, knowing they will have an impact on your company's future?

There are strategies you can use to hone your decision-making skills.  Making better, faster decisions will help you take advantage of business opportunities.
1. Review the problem/decision in a broad context to include as many perspectives as possible. But don’t procrastinate just to get another opinion.

2. Make decisions as much as possible on facts rather than emotion. It is good to challenge your gut instincts; use objective data to reinforce decisions.

3. Don’t hesitate to challenge the status quo. Staying in your comfort zone in order to be comfortable may lead you on the same path. Change does not necessarily take more effort.

4. Be open to others opinion but trust your own ability and ability of employees to make a well-reasoned decision.

5. Recognize that some constraints may influence the decision; financial constraints, practicality, and lack of resources to implement the decision may influence the path taken.

Decisions are not taken in isolation and the effects of any decision will depend on reactions of others. Competitive behaviour should be anticipated and can influence choices. In the end, the review process needs to be completed with minimum delays and decisions finalized. Respect for action taken with a firm unwavering approach or allowing responsible employees to decide will earn respect from the organization.
I hope this helps improve your decision making in the business. Please let me know your thoughts.
gerry@polarisgroupmc.com