Key Principles to Consider:

Systematize Your World

Whether you are ready to sell, buy, or preparing for the future these steps will help you become more profitable and host a more enjoyable work environment.  Keep in mind these key principles as you review your business or the one you would like to buy.  

Accuracy: Do it for yourself and for the potential buyer.  Ensure the reports and data you are keeping are accurate and up to date.

Transferability: How easy would it be for someone else to take over?  Think documentation of branding, manuals, and procedures for all areas of the business.  We’re talking client/vendor databases, new employee training, tariff reviews, SOP’s, monthly/weekly/quarterly/annual procedures.  Whatever makes sense for the business.

Jill's Bakery likely isn't much if it's all based on Jill.  The brand must stand on it's own and the loyalties must be toward the company not the owner or employees. 

Planning: What would you want to happen within the business if you were staying?  A potential buyer would probably want the same things.  Make plans to project the future using historical data and industry trends.  Create contingencies for potential challenges.

Actions to Prioritize:

The tasks below are common ways to create structure that allows for growth and profitability.  All of them are unlikely to fit your business.  And they may not be in the order that would work best for your situation.  

Keep these things in mind as you read through each section and prioritize what will bring the most value to your time investment.  Time is money afterall!

Maintain unique products and services that differ from and have an advantage on competitors.

Keep equipment and location up to date and in good shape

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    Could use some upgrades

Accurate and up to date financials

Financials are reviewed annually with a CPA

Monthly budget is set annually and reviewed and reconciled monthly

Books are reconciled regularly

Reconciled financials are reviewed regularly

Create a regular schedule for increasing prices

The profitability of products and services are tracked and tested annually

A customer-facing pricing policy explains an annual review and update of prices when necessary.

Understand the value points of your business ADD

Increase your profit margin by watching for innovative ways to save on cost of sales and increase your competitive advantage

regularly review and come up with innovative ways to save on cost of sales/goods

look to technology for ways to save on cost of sales/goods

test and measure your margin of cost of sales/goods

Review expenses and take out things that aren’t adding to the value of your business

budget monthly with averages, flat rates, or new monthly expectations

pay close attention to online subscription services 

regularly shop around for vendors who have many competitors

look to technology to solve old problems

Focus on the most profitable product/services and clients

Build systems and procedures to increase profitability and transferability

Ensure employees know their accountabilities and are engaged

Employee engagement may sound like a hokey secondary priority but it can be tracked and tied to profitability from the smallest to largest organizations.  

Engage and plan for employee growth

With set accountabilities there is an easy way to track progress and encourage professional development.  Growth among staff should equate growth among the organization

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    Annual reviews
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    Continuing education opportunities and incentives
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    Open communication

Maintain positive client relations and accurate records

Create loyalty programs and incentives for customers

Solicit feedback from clients and those that decide not to buy

Maintain strong and consistent branding

Ensure your brand is highly regarded and recognizable

Create and share a clear mission and vision

Set goals and review

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