Your business is running smoothly, but is it running scalably? If you intend to eventually sell the business and exit with a livable sum, think beyond what works right now. Buyers today want modern businesses that use the latest technology to drive efficiency.
Good may not be good enough to sell your business. Aim for great. Fix what’s not broken. You don’t need to take it to the outer planets of innovation—especially if you haven’t been big on technology to this point—to modernize your operations. Start with the basics:
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a must-have for just about any business. It integrates your sales and marketing, enabling your team to find the right balance of automation and personal interaction. A CRM also provides data that can validate your financial presentation for a business transaction—but it’ll make a noticeable impact on your business much sooner (in some cases, almost immediately) by streamlining communications and creating a central hub for all sales activity.
Most business owners start with simple spreadsheets for accounting and finances. Excel is your comfort zone. Sooner or later, you must break out of that comfort zone and graduate to a more sophisticated software designed for business accounting and financial reporting. The sooner, the better, because your financial data will gain more integrity from the controls built into the software and the documentation will be nice and organized when you need it.
Before the pandemic, remote work was a new frontier. During the pandemic, it became the only option. We experienced the benefits, drawbacks, challenges, and solutions of a fully remote workforce. In the process, we learned that the office brings its own set of all the above. So, we discovered the happy medium that is hybrid work. Whether you and your leadership team decide to embrace hybrid work, allow telecommuting, or mandate a return to the office, develop a clear plan and policy that you can communicate not only to your employees, but ultimately to buyers who will also be looking at your company culture.
It’s second nature to associate IT with computers and hardware. However, there’s much more to it when you consider the connected world of Information Technology in business. IT encompasses your network, firewall, cloud storage, bandwidth, security, technical support, and much more. Since it may not be realistic for you to staff an internal IT department, consider engaging an outsourced managed service provider (MSP) or internet telephony service provider (ITSP) that can advise, and most importantly, support, your IT functions at an enterprise level.
Depending on your industry and business model, capital expenditures (CapEx) can represent significant technology investments that you can leverage in negotiations with a buyer, and that the buyer can use to grow the business and drive ROI after the transaction. IT infrastructure and CapEx often go hand in hand, especially in cases where major upgrades are necessary. Home buyers may be interested in fixer-uppers, but business buyers typically aren’t. The technology assets you acquire and maintain will strengthen your case when you’re trying to convince buyers that your business is a well-oiled machine.
As important as technology is, it’s only one aspect of modernizing your business. You also need to modernize your team, your market placement, and to bring it all together, your leadership style.
By Andrea Steinbrenner, Chief Operations Officer, Exit Consulting Group