Posts tagged "owner"

Practical Advice on Negotiating a Management Buyout

March 7th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Leadership 0 thoughts on “Practical Advice on Negotiating a Management Buyout”

Sbuyoutomeday you might have the option to buyout the boss…not PAY OFF…buy OUT. Last week, on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network, my guest was Jeff Adair of Jeff Adair Coaching. Jeff shared his experience and insights on the subject of management buyouts.

A management buyout is when the executives, managers, or employees of a business buyout the owner(s). When this happens, the roles and relationships immediately change – even before the transaction is complete – something Jeff learned the hard way.

Trust is Everything – Protect It

In his case, as soon as the management team informed the owners that they were making an offer, a level of suspicion arose between the parties, complicating the process and negotiation.

Jeff recommends a more subtle approach that might begin with this simple question, “What would you think of the management team making you an offer?” rather than a bold statement like, “We’re going to buy you out.”

You might even have an early discussion, before the owner is even looking to sell, to plant a bug in his/her ear, “Hey, if you ever decide to unload the business, please talk to me before spending a lot of time and effort looking for a buyer.”

Transparency is Key

Jeff also recommends the greatest degree of transparency be exercised before and after the buyout. Things to consider include:

  • Soliciting feedback and offering assurances to existing customers and prospects
  • Informing employees of what is happening
  • Defining and sharing the vision for the business with employees early in the process or immediately following the transition
  • Exercising open and honest sharing between the owner and the management team during the process (this is where any erosion of trust can hinder the process)

It’s a Lot of Work

Jeff cautions that you should not underestimate the amount of work and time that goes in to negotiating a management buyout. There are legal structures that have to be in place, roles and responsibilities agreed to and assigned, a determination of the value of the company to reach, funding to secure – the list goes on and on.

Do it Purposefully

As a final bit of advise, Jeff says that whatever you do, “do it purposefully.” Know why you want to in the first place. Share that with others. When you do, it makes everything else much simpler.

You can listen to this episode of Business is ART in its entirety by clicking here.

For more basic business principles and professional guidance, make sure to subscribe to future posts. Don’t worry, I won’t spam or sell your email. Click here to sign up.

What You Should Know about Your Entrepreneur Friends

February 8th, 2017 Posted by Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “What You Should Know about Your Entrepreneur Friends”

Crazy EntrepreneurSo you’re friends with someone who is starting a business. Maybe you’re more than friends. Maybe you’re officially dating or married to an entrepreneur.

Whatever your relationship might be, you should know that entrepreneurs are a little different by design. The way they see things. How they think about stuff. Even how they prioritize time. They might be a little crazy by most standards.

All of it ties to their vision of running their own business. In other words…

An Entrepreneur’s Business and Soul are Attached

Now, there are plenty of non-entrepreneurs who love and live for their job. They sacrifice for it. They commit themselves to it.

But entrepreneurs do that on a whole different level. The lines between their life and their job tend to get blurry. If things at work are exciting and positive, they’re excited and positive. If work is bleak, their attitudes might be bleak.

You should know, the first few years of entrepreneurship can be an emotional rollercoaster. If your friend is in the early stages of business, try to show extra patience and encouragement.

Their Hours are Irregular

Startups don’t have a regular start and end time to their workdays. The business itself may have office or store hours, but the wheels keep turning even after the doors are shut. Entrepreneurs are known to wake up early and stay up late working on projects.

Many have the problem of never fully checking out. Sometimes they may be in the middle of dinner or conversation when they get that far away look in their eyes and seemingly “check out” for a bit. That’s because an unplanned and often unexpected thought just popped into their head. Try not to be offended and perhaps even offer to help them through it so that you can more quickly get back to enjoying time together.

Don’t be surprised if you’re hanging out and they bring their laptop along, or they’re constantly checking emails.

Be patient with them. Understand when they can’t make it to everything that’s going on. That said, don’t be afraid to tell them to checkout for a bit and invest in the time you spend together. You’ll likely be doing them a favor.

Just choose your words carefully. After all…

They’re Probably Hard on Themselves

One of the things that drives entrepreneurs is a lack of satisfaction. They want more from their life and from the industry they operate in. While this normally works as a great motivator, it sometimes turns against them.

Entrepreneurs can be very critical of their own decisions, actions, and shortcomings. Because they’re very analytical of their business, and their business is so closely tied to themselves, it carries over.

If you’ve never been close to someone whose life demands high performance, it might catch you off guard. It’s not that they’re being negative. They’re simply trying to be better.

They are Passionate (which Sometimes Comes Off as Weirdly Obsessive)

crazy entrepreneurEntrepreneurs are driven by passion. They have an idea and a dream, and they’re running towards that. Sometimes, this is inspiring. Other times, it comes off as kind of strange and obsessive. They’ll make a big deal out of things that seem insignificant to many.

They’ll look through the same info/data/copy/design over and over again, analyzing and processing it.

Don’t worry. They aren’t lost causes. They’re just passionate.

They’ll Appreciate Your Friendship More Than You Know

If you’re patient with an entrepreneur, if you encourage them and believe in them while having the courage to occasionally correct them, you’ll form an incredible relationship. Being friends with an entrepreneur isn’t hard.

Just take interest. Ask questions. Listen to their ideas. See their potential and push them to go for their dreams. In return, you’ll form a great friendship. Entrepreneurs tend to be great friends because they encourage people around them to pursue their own dreams.

Life is less dull with entrepreneurs in your life. Every day can bring something new and exciting.

And should you ever decide to start a business of your own, they’ll be there for you, helping show how to create a business plan and cast vision.

Because that’s what friends do.

Finding Time to Start a Business 

November 22nd, 2016 Posted by Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “Finding Time to Start a Business ”

finding timeRemember when you were young and had all the free time in the world? Maybe it didn’t feel like that at the time, but in retrospect adolescence seems like it was much less busy than adulthood. It’s tough because, as an adult, you feel like you finally have the skills and knowledge to make your goals happen, but where do you find the time?

You can finally make that idea a reality. You can actually start your own business.

That is, you can if you find the time. It’s clear that some people are finding the time. The question is how? How do you find the time to start a business in the middle of grownup responsibilities?

It’s Almost Never Going to be a Perfect Time

The first thing you have to accept is the fact that it’s not going to feel ideal. Starting a business isn’t something that comes easy. You likely won’t feel like you suddenly have a giant hole in your schedule, enabling you to invest extra time and effort.

So don’t wait around for it. Once you’ve decided you want to start a business, do it.

Find Gaps and Stretch Where You Can

You’re going to have to take a very hard look at your schedule. Write it out if you need to. Look for the gaps in it. Maybe there’s a small window of time before work or directly after it. It’s possible you have a stretch of free time right before bed.

Identify the openings, however small, and see if you can either stretch them or merge them together. If you have free time in the morning and in the late evening, try either going to bed earlier or waking up later, utilizing the combined free time to work on your business.

If you have some free after work, see if you can push back your evening activities. Once you start shifting things around a bit, you may be surprised to find some free time in the middle of everything.

Sacrifice

Regardless of how much free time you find in your schedule, you’ll likely have to make some cuts. It could be removing a hobby or dropping out of a sports league or skipping watching your favorite shows every week. You may have to trim back your social life.

Committing to a business requires sacrifice. There’s no way around that. Either you’re going to sacrifice some things that are currently holding you back, or you’re going to sacrifice your dreams of running your own business.

Quit Your Full-Time Job

This is something that’s not going to be an immediate option for a lot of people. But sooner or later, the goal for an entrepreneur is to leave their previous job behind so they can pursue their business full-time. When that moment comes, you’ll certainly find yourself with a lot more time in your schedule to put towards your business.

But you’ll likely need a little patience.

For more advice on when exactly to quit your job, check out our previous post here.

Beware of Burnout

Think that burnout doesn’t exist when you’re working on your own business? Think again. Even when you’re chasing your own dream, you can find yourself burned out. Burnout can negatively affect everything around you, from your relationships to your job and more.

Even as you’re sacrificing and working harder and giving your startup everything you have, be mindful of burnout. Give yourself a day off. Do something fun. Don’t disconnect from the world around you.

Stay consistent, stay focused, trim the fat out of your life, and you just may find the time to start up a successful business. I can help guide you further. Check out my book, Business is ART, enroll in BIA University, or contact me directly.

7 Tips for Entrepreneurs

June 24th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Owner 0 thoughts on “7 Tips for Entrepreneurs”
hello

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

This week on the Business is ART podcast #37, our main topic of discussion was SEO. But as the conversation went, we also touched on several other points for business owners and entrepreneurs to think about .

Know Who You Are

My guests on BIA #37 own and operate a web development company in a rural Ohio town – Berry Digital Solutions. The work they do can literally be done from anywhere in the world for any business located any place in the world (where there is commerce and internet). Yet they choose to remain local and do business primarily with local customers.

Why?

The answer is quite simple. Because it is part of their mission to buy and support local. It is part of their company culture to meet with clients face-to-face, even in a technologically driven world that enables something else. In short, it is a component of their definition of success.

They know who they are and what they want to be. When you have determined or defined that, it becomes a very easy thing to do to say “no” when faced with business opportunities that just don’t feel as comfortable as you’d like.

Have an Online Presence

During the podcast, I gave an example of the small town baker with a shop on Main Street and asked why this baker needs an online presence. The response from my guests was staggering. At present, 90% of purchases are researched online prior to purchase. Think about that for a minute. 90% of what Americans buy is researched online prior to the purchase.

You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year for an online presence, but when only 10% of purchases are made without any online research whatsoever and you don’t have an online presence, you have severely handicapped your business. Maybe not today, but at some point, it will come back to bite you.

Focus on the Thing You do Best

Diversified services help to keep you from being 100% dependent on one particular source of revenue but, especially for drawing attention to your business through an online presence, trying to feature everything you do only confuses the shopper.

Focus on your primary business or what you are really great at, then more casually mention or list your other services. But draw the bulk of the attention to your primary business. If that baker is known for donuts, the website shouldn’t go on and on about cake.

Keep it simple, “If you think our donuts are great, wait ’til you try our cake!”

Some Final Tips for Entrepreneurs

Listen to the podcast for more details, but here are a few more summary points to take away from it:

  • Pay attention to your website’s analytics (and act accordingly)
  • Go into business knowing it is hard work, not because being your own boss means you get to live on easy street
  • Have a passion for either what you do, or why you do it
  • Embrace the freedom that comes with business ownership

My book, Business is ART, is designed to help you get a firm grasp on who you are, what you want your business to be and how to lay out a plan to get there. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both paperback and ebook form.

After you’ve read it, contact me and let me know what you think. Let’s start a dialogue.

5 First Steps to Start Your Business

May 18th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 8 thoughts on “5 First Steps to Start Your Business”
tricycle

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

It’s official. After months (or years) of going back and forth, attempting to project the future, checking over your financials again and again, and talking to your family and friends, you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business.

You’re excited. You feel re-energized about life. It’s like you’re a kid again. And then you’re hit with a thought that stops you dead in your tracks.

Okay, What Do I Do Now?

You know where you’re going and what you want your business to be. Soon, you’ll be executing your business plan, tracking results, and revising as needed. But how do you get there? After all, you can’t reach point B without crossing through point A.

So what are the very first steps to starting your business?

Some of this will depend on your business, your personal situation, and how you’re going about it. For example, are you pursuing this full-time? Are you doing it on the side initially? But there are many things that everyone will have to do.

Coming Up with a Name

You’re going to be putting your business name on everything, and you’ll be using it everywhere, so it’s one of the first things you’re going to have to finalize. Unfortunately, in a world saturated with start-ups, small businesses, side projects, and more, finding one that isn’t already established can prove to be difficult at times.

How to come up with a business name could honestly be a blog post in itself. We won’t get into it too much here. Just make sure it’s not taken (specifically in your industry), that it’s pronounceable, and that it’s something people will remember.

Decide on the Legal Identity

You’ll need to decide how your business is defined in the eyes of the law. If you’re starting it as just a side-project, you may consider a sole proprietorship, in which case you are your business. However, your business will most likely go past that sooner or later.

An LLC is a popular option for startups. This protects you and your personal assets, should your business go under or be sued. Other common startup choices are S corporations and cooperatives, though the latter is only applicable in certain situations.

Register for State and Local Taxes

With starting a business, you’re no longer just liable for your own taxes. You have to take care of the business’s taxes as well. This will factor into how you handle your income and accounting, so it’s best to get it sorted out right away. Speaking of accounting…

Get Familiar with Accounting

Chances are, you’re not going to have the luxury of bringing on a fulltime accountant when you start your business. That means it’ll be up to you to get the calculator, spreadsheets, and records together. If you haven’t checked into accounting software, now might be a good time.

You’ll want to start keeping a record of everything business related. Invoices, purchases, bills, etc.

Business Plans, Ping Charts, Check Points, and So Much More!

If you’re starting a business, you need a plan of attack to execute. You need a business plan. And you’ll need to be able to measure your success and track your progress, so you’ll need some goals and charts.

You want to be able to analyze, revise, and track. That is the ART of business.

To learn more about the art of business, check out my book Business is ART, available now. The more things you do correctly at the start of your business, the higher your chances of success will be.

As a leader you are always on display

December 21st, 2015 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, CEO, Engagement, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Manager, Owner, Relationships, Significance 0 thoughts on “As a leader you are always on display”
Photo courtesy gratisography.com

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

Portions of this post appear in the book Business is ART. The post in its entirety previously appeared at the former Business is ART Blog site on November 4, 2014. I was recently reminded of it from a post by fellow consultant and blogger Matt Monge (@MattMonge) of The MojoCompany and thought it bears repeating.

As a leader, you are on display at all times.  How you behave sets the tone for your business or organization. This goes for general behavior as well as momentary behavior.

Always be cognizant of how others are reading you; because they are.  Every second of every workday, your employees (and clients) are reading you.

One morning, after having had a significant disagreement with someone in my personal life, I let that disagreement influence my workplace behavior.

When I got to the office, instead of the usual, “Good morning.  How are you?” type of greeting to which people had become accustomed from me, I entered the break room with a scowl on my face.  I didn’t look at or engage with anyone. I simply poured a cup of coffee and hurried back to my desk.

Later, one of the most trusted members of my leadership team, and someone I am proud to still call a friend, knocked on my door and suggested that we needed to talk in private.

He closed the door and asked in a very concerned tone, “Are we going to announce layoffs?”

The question stunned me. We were growing. We were profitable. I didn’t know where this was coming from.

“No.  Why?”

“There’s a rumor going around.”

“How did THAT get started?”

“Some employees were in the break room this morning and said you wouldn’t even look them in the eyes, so, they started speculating on what was wrong.  Then they concluded you couldn’t look them in the eyes because you are going to lay some of them off.”

I started the rumor.  I did.  Not knowingly or intentionally, but, because I was not paying attention, it led employees to speculate as to what was causing my “unnatural” behavior, and they “naturally” concluded I was about to chop some heads…probably starting with anyone lounging about the break room!

The good news was, we dramatically cut back on the cost of coffee that day. The bad news was, we lost a lot of productivity due to gossip and worry.  Worse, I lost at least some degree of the faith and trust of some of my employees.

That is a very, very hard thing to win back.  Who knows how long after I tried to assure everyone that cuts were not on the horizon had they assumed I was not being honest with them?

It was probably a long time.

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