7 Ways to Increase Your Company’s Value in the Next 6 Months
If you’re thinking of selling your business, then there are 7 things you should start doing right now so that, in hopefully 6 months’ time, you can put your company on the market at an increased value.
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If you’re thinking of selling your business, then there are 7 things you should start doing right now so that, in hopefully 6 months’ time, you can put your company on the market at an increased value. But, come to think of it, don’t these 7 things apply even if you’re not selling your business? Of course they do. That’s because, as a business owner, your job is to maximize the value of your business. So you should be doing these 7 things, regardless.
- Create an org chart
Do you really want to define success? It’s being able to leave your business for days—even weeks—at a time and the company continues to function. It doesn’t need you to run. It doesn’t fall apart when you’re not there. That’s value. That’s what a potential buyer wants. To reach that goal, you’ve got to create an organization chart of people that shows titles and chains of command. An org chart is a powerful tool that will best communicate where people stand in the ladder and who their bosses are. It will also highlight any gaps in resources or management you need to fill. Try Lucidchart, Pingboard, or OrgPlus to create this. Or even Excel.
- Get a technology review
Your company’s technology infrastructure is a critical part of its long-term value. Are your systems cloud based? On-premise? How up to date are your servers and devices? Your wiring? Your security? The best money you can spend is to hire a qualified IT firm to come in and do a full tech review of all of your systems and then offer their recommendations for making it better and more secure. And you know what? You might not even have to spend any money to do that. Many IT firms will go to this effort if they have some confidence that they can get a new client out of it. If your current IT firm isn’t proactively doing this, then that may be an indication that it’s time to bring in a new set of eyes.
- Update (or create) your employment contracts
Every key manager in your business needs an employment contract. The longer term the better. It should lay out compensation, responsibilities, and a non-compete clause. There are good examples of these on LegalZoom. Any outsider looking to buy your business will likely regard your people as its biggest asset and for good reason. Knowing that these assets are locked down with formalized agreements will add value to your company. This also provides a more consistent forecast of your employments over the longer term.
- Get a review from a CPA firm
Anyone interested in buying your business will want to look at your financials. Obviously. And those financials need to be prepared by someone who knows what they’re doing, like a certified public accounting firm. Obviously. Will you be required to get a full-blown, expensive audit? Hopefully not. But at a minimum, you’ll be asked for a review, which is close to an audit. In a review, the CPA puts together your financials and asks a lot of questions about the numbers just to make sure they make sense and are in compliance with accounting rules as well as industry norms. This is an excellent tool for you as a manager. Why? Because great CPAs will ask great questions and those questions will identify areas of concerns or things that you’re doing in your business that aren’t keeping up with the norm. It’s money well worth spent, whether you’re getting acquired or not.
- Invest in data
Do you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system? Are you saving your emails, texts, and documents in a good workplace collaboration system? How about project management software? Inventory? Accounting? Orders? We live in a big data world, and investors will pay a lot more for a company if that company has really good data. Invest in these systems. If you already have, then do a full-scale review, clean up the information, and make them better. Data are king. They are a big intangible asset. Neglecting data hurts both your company’s short-term prospects and its long-term value.
- Invest in your infrastructure
If you’re like me, you’ve probably got lots of scary spots in your building. A leak here. Cracks there. Rickety shelving. Drafty corridors. Raised sidewalks. Unpaved parking lots. You’ve lived with this for a long time, and you’re used to it. But what would you think if you were visiting a company’s property and it looked like that? What impression would it give you of someone else’s business? Even if the condition of your property has no impact on the profitability of your company or the quality of your products, it still gives a perception of neglect. That’s going to take away value. You’re going to need to take a full infrastructure review—and then have work done—sooner rather than later. Put some money away. Talk to your banker. It may be time to start paving, painting, patching, and repairing. You’ll also be surprised at what a spruced-up facility does to the happiness and productivity of your employees too.
- Button up all your documents
When it comes time to sell your business, the attorney for the buyer is going to bury you with document requests: leases, customer and supplier agreements, tax returns, employment contracts, HR policies, government filings. On and on. You’ve probably…probably…kept these, well, somewhere. But not having them available will be a problem. More importantly, running around like a chicken with its head cut off doesn’t exactly give the best image of your organization, does it? Good businesses have their paperwork and documentation organized and ready for any review, regardless of who’s asking for it. It’s a very good practice to have.
Source: Gene Marks (www.marksgroup.net) is a small business consultant and author of The Small Business Desk Reference, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Successful Outsourcing, and Outfoxing the Small Business Owner.