If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 20 year career of helping business owners build awesome businesses (and growing my own), it’s that the true secret of business success is to build a business that others want to buy – even if you don’t plan on selling any time soon.
Building a business others want to buy is not actually about the sell; it’s about having a sell mindset.
A sell mindset involves taking action now to build a business that others will pay top dollar for in the distant future. By default, you’ll build a business that you’ll want to hang onto for many years to come.
Because the attributes of a business that others want to buy – strong cash flow and profitability, loyal customers, and a brilliant team who follow clearly defined processes so the business doesn’t need the owner(s) to operate effectively – are also the attributes of a business that’s a dream to own and run.
I’ve distilled my experience in helping thousands of business owners, and growing my own, into my 7 key ingredients of business SUCCESS:
- Strategy: Develop a ‘sell’ mindset, and undertake ongoing strategic planning.
- Understand your business: Your mission statement, core values and your why are the fundamentals on which most successful businesses are built.
- Customers: Build a sales process that converts the right type of prospects into customers, then continually look at your business through your customers’ eyes so you provide an exceptional experience that keeps them coming back.
- Ca-ching: Get the financial basics right, such as having the right structure, and getting the right data (through a business dashboard and management reporting process) so you can make effective decisions.
- Execution: Maintain the delicate balance between strategy and operation; value the importance of your people and culture; and provide rock-solid processes to streamline activities.
- Sack yourself: Build a self-sufficient business that doesn’t rely on you, and treat yourself as separate from your business.
- Sell: Understand how businesses are valued, so you can bridge the gap between your current and desired sale price; and have an exit strategy that identifies your potential buyers, so you can make your business as attractive to them as possible.
By building a business that’s attractive to others, and maximising its value, you’ll have the choice to accept that dirty great cheque to buy it off you, or politely decline and keep enjoying the profits and lifestyle flexibility the business gives you.
That’s a choice I’d like to have. That’s what it means to Have your cake and sell it too.