Unfortunately many folks starting out in business make the often fatal mistake of hiring family and friends first instead of last. Now this may seem counterintuitive to many folks, especially those who know us well since we usually espouse the importance of Know Like Trust when building your business. But just because it might be “easier” to start with family and friends, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your business.
If you’ve been in business long enough, chances are you’ve received some unsolicited interest in your business. By “interest” we mean someone is expressing an interest in perhaps buying your business. It likely came in the form of a letter that was either physically mailed or emailed or from a phone call. These letters and phone calls often come from intermediaries so the actual person who might be interested in buying your company has their identity hidden. Do you welcome these solicitations with open arms? Do you avoid them like the plague…or COVID? Likely you’re somewhere in between.
“Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” If you’ve ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing, then you can picture the scene with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Well we’ve heard versions of this line with the same emotion and passion. But instead of talking about corners the business owner is talking about “Don’t push me out of my company!” We see it all the time with sports as well. Maybe you’ve seen an aging athlete on your favorite team not quite ready to give it up yet.
One of the things we fight in our day jobs as business coaches is the never ending poor advice given to small business owners. Perhaps the biggest offense with this advice is folks talking about business plans. It might sound something like, “All you need is a business plan to get started.” Well intentioned advice. But what does this really mean?
Have you ever seen the movie Rudy? It’s based on a true story of a young man whose biggest desire was to play football for Notre Dame. As with any great story there are many obstacles for our hero to overcome including his limited physical abilities. Perhaps the most challenging obstacle that Rudy and many of us face is the doubters around us who tell us we’re crazy for thinking something is possible or that it can’t be done. It’s often easy to give into this fear of failure and start to doubt ourselves.
One of the biggest challenges and common frustrations of any leader is to get everyone on your team on the same page. Use whatever metaphor you want. Things like “all rowing in the same direction” or “everyone reading from the same hymnal” and hundreds of other cliches. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you focus on as a Leader. Because whatever you focus on is what your team will focus on.
One of the biggest challenges for a business owner looking to transition their business to the next generation is figuring out who to transition the business to and how to know when that next generation is ready to take over. What does it look like when someone is ready to take over the company? Will you just know it when you see it? Should you have the next generation just follow you around for six months or a couple of years to learn by osmosis?
One of the things we help our clients do is buy companies. We usually start the process off by having our clients “turning over rocks.” Those “rocks” can include everything from talking to business brokers to responding to online listings or ones in the newspaper to sending out unsolicited letters to a target group.