I’ve been reading a book this week called ‘Built to sell’ by a guy called John Warrillow. So many business experts have been telling me either face to face, or in the pages of their books, that ‘you have to have an exit strategy’, that I thought I should look into it.
I have to be honest it was a bit of an alien concept to me...what? I was meant to lovingly build up my business, go through the challenges and the triumphs, make it a success...and then allow it to be swallowed up by some bigger fish, who wouldn’t love and care for it the way I did..?
Well, yes...that’s exactly what I must plan to do.
The truth is that even if you never want to sell your business, building it as if you might one day, will make it a more successful operation...for two reasons.
Firstly, it makes you think about your IP, your Intellectual Property, the X factor that makes you different from every other widget seller, estate agent, box maker, or whatever it is that you do.
It makes you examine what is it about the way that you do what you do...your special process, that makes you stand out for the crowd? Maybe you have a 5 step process for designing a brand, maybe you have developed the E.N.G.A.G.E system for employee engagement, perhaps you have invented the world’s first juicer that is actually powered by juice. Whatever it might be, you have your own IP...and it’s worth working out what it is.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, your business can’t rely on you. It’s no use at all to a potential buyer if your business is only a success because you work 18 hours a day and look after all of your customers personally.
No. Like every successful business, you need logical repeatable systems running the business, and a team of great people running the systems. Every successful business is built on the foundation of Process plus People and it’s that foundation that will attract investment, and ultimately a buyer for your business.
Look at Tyrells in the news today, sold for £100m to Investcorp after only 11 years in existence. They have their own unique IP...
‘Tyrrells targets the premium end of the crisp market with “hand cooked” gourmet flavours such as sea salt and cider vinegar, honey roast ham and cranberry, and sour cream and roasted garlic. [ ] and is Europe’s only manufacturer of vegetable crisps’ Daily Telegraph
...and you can bet your life they have systems running the business and people running the systems.
£100m is a lot of money. Worth getting organised for..?
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Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)