Every decade brings another badge of honor to you as a business owner. You have weathered economic downturns, given people jobs, made lifelong connections, and built a salable business. You should be extremely proud! That said, don’t let your long track record turn into…
Experience brings wisdom (which you certainly have plenty of), but it can also cause a hint of arrogance. “This is how we’ve always done it,” and, “It works fine,” are phrases that may be true when you’re running your business, but they present legacy issues when you’re looking to sell. What worked 30 years ago is not necessarily going to work in the next 30 years. Be open to change.
There are many days at work where you’re just trying to survive. You get tired of growing the business and making more money, only to hire more people, buy more equipment, get a bigger office and pay more taxes. Some owners are happy turning the same profit year after year because they are fine where they are. It’s a lifestyle business that takes customer calls and fulfills orders. There’s no time or desire to update the approach and uproot the process; no drive to invest in new technology.
When you’re trying to sell your legacy business, you have to think like a buyer. Buyers want to know how they will see a return on their investment. If we find that your business can function twice as fast, with half the people, and quadruple your sale price, it’s a game-changer. Change can be good—very good—for the company, buyer and seller all at once.
Citizens Against Virtually Everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea; if it’s not their idea, then it’s a bad idea. If you are ready to sell your business, beware of the people who might not be excited for new ownership. They may be worried about losing their job after the transition, or perhaps they’re just comfortable with the way things are and don’t want anything to change.
CAVE people are usually easy to spot. Show them how the business will improve under new ownership and gauge their reaction. If they outwardly oppose new efficiencies, it is likely the sale itself—not the suggestions—that they oppose. It’s not always so cut and dried, though. If their job is on the line, they might nod and agree, only to take their role a little less seriously. In rare cases, senior managers can become CAVE people who actively sabotage the sale from the inside.
The Better Way to Leverage Your Legacy
As fellow entrepreneurs, we applaud and respect the legacy you have built—which is why we want it to work to your advantage, even if it means challenging you. Bring your fearlessness, grit and confidence, and we’ll bring our expertise and owner-centric approach to achieve your ideal exit.