I was recently at a meeting where the topic was selling a financial services firm. The presenter had a fact that I thought was very interesting. For every financial services business that is for sale, there are 43 buyers.
Growing a business is something many business owners want to do. I find that in many cases growth happens without any real forethought about the resources that are needed to manage new business in an organized manner. My belief is most businesses would help themselves greatly if they were to build an organizational chart of what their business would look like as different sales levels are achieved.
I’m a big fan of mission statements. I’ve written extensively about how to write a plan but haven’t spent a great deal of time talking about how you know your mission statement is any good.
I sometimes get into a conversation with others about whether a mission statement is actually a tag line. They both are about the same length, but one sets the tone for a company, a family or an individual and the other is just a vague idea. Tag lines can’t be answered with a yes or no, but mission statements can.
I’ve been reading a fair amount recently on whether successful people are successful because they had circumstances that helped them, are stars and have more talent than anyone else or have a mindset that allows them to learn, make mistakes and go on. Each author seems to think that their own theory on success is the only one that gets results.
Those who think that talent is all would think that we are just lucky to be on earth with the truly talented. Those who think success is around facts and circumstances would say that without those who came before and situations that one is in, success would be very difficult. Finally, we have those who believe that real success only comes from those who have a mindset of learning, getting better and experimenting.
I’m a big fan of renting a CFO versus owning a CFO in most companies. There are several reasons I believe this is a good idea. Among them are having your rent a CFO start moving your company from the usual tactical measurements to strategic ones that can dramatically drive the value of your company.
One of those strategic activities is in the realm of installing and measuring KPI’s in your company. A good rent a CFO should have a very strong skill set in developing KPI’s (key performance indicators) as well as putting together the drivers the make the KPI’s move. In fact, I think this is one of the most useful things a CFO can do for any company.
If we can learn to focus on one thing at a time, the enterprise value of our business can improve. On a personal basis we might find that focus provides us with more time to do what we think is important. I find that multi-tasking doesn’t work and in today’s world that focus becomes more difficult all of the time.
I tell Clients on a regular basis that they need to limit what they work on and only concentrate on areas that can provide high returns for them. And, when they are working on a particular area, close other windows on your computer and only concentrate on one task at a time.
The holy grail of a great business from a Customers point of view is how well the business provides services and products the Client wants. I’ve compiled a list of things that make sense and should be part of your analysis of the service your company provides.
You will see that much of this list deals with understanding your Customer. This really fits into the area of niche development. I encourage all of the people that I deal with to have great niches. It’s within those niches that you can be effective and efficient with those you serve.
- Do you answer the phone with a real person? Does this person make your companies feel welcome?
- Are questions answered in a timely basis? And, once they are answered what is your strategy for taking action?
- How fast do you get back to a Client or prospective Client with an answer to their question? I believe response rates are a very important factor to Customer satisfaction.
- Do you tell the Client that your service is not right for them? If your company can service “everyone” you’re not likely to have developed a service that will have raving fans. Specialization in market niches provides those raving fans that we all want.
- If you tell the Client your service is not right for them, do you have suggestions for what they should do? If we’re going to develop effective niches can we send this person to someone who will their needs? Even those we don’t do business with can become fans of our business.
- Do you concentrate on educating your Client on why your service or product fills their needs? Having a deep understanding of what our Clients want is important in providing the type of service that’s important to them.
- Do you let the Client stay in control of the sales and purchasing process?
- Do you ask the Client what is the best way to communicate with them?
- Are you and your company authentic in how you actually work with Clients and Customers? Authenticity is always presented from the eye of the beholder, meaning our Customers.
I’m a big fan of mission statements. For me, they are the starting place in making sure I’m doing the right thing in my life and in my business.
Most mission statements I read are too long and don’t have any real daily relevance in how one lives their life or runs their business. It’s the short statements that help provide direction that a mission statement should have.
I think a great deal about what it takes for a business owner to change their relationship to their business. I believe this is the most important part of moving from an active to a passive owner. And, for many business owners this is the best way to move towards retirement.
In the business world I often talk with our clients about managing the relationship they have with their business. After they sell their business the conversation often moves from talking about the relationship to your business to your relationship with your finances.