7 Questions to Boost Your 2014 Strategy

If you’ve been in business for a while, you may be experiencing a problem.  This problem may not be something that keeps you up late at night, but it certainly should grip your attention.

The common problem?  Strategic planning that’s more improvised guesswork than anything else.

Every year business owners and management teams get together to plan out the next year—vision, goals, revenue target, hiring plans, and so on.  Unfortunately, nothing really happens beyond that meeting.

Two Months Left in 2013: What Do You Want to Accomplish?

Today marks the last day of October.  We are quickly approaching two of the busiest months in the year.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas calling, it’s easy to put the control of your business into neutral and coast into 2014; a nice thought, but can you use this time to charge forward into the next year with a clearer vision for your company?

We suggest that you take some of this downtime to reflect on your achievements and failures this past year.  Honestly look at your company and compare it to where it was at this time last year. And then ask:

Are You Asking the Right Questions About the Future of Your Business?

Part 2 of a 3 part series published in the Big Sky Business Journal. 

The other day a business owner asked me, "How can I be confident that I will have a valuable and sellable business when the time comes for me to leave my business?"

All business owners have reason to ask Jim's question, because a transfer of ownership is inevitable. The timing and the ideal buyer for each business will vary, but the certainty of a sale at some point is unavoidable.

For most entrepreneurs, their business is their most valuable asset, the place they spend most waking hours, and a primary part of their identity. One of Jim's fears in a potential ownership transfer is failing to capture the full value from his two decades of building a business. Jim is part of the majority of business owners that do not have an exit or succession plan – 85% according to M&A Today magazine. With careful planning in advance of a sale, Jim can gain confidence in the success of his future ownership transfer.

Measuring Customer Value

In past articles I wrote on how a business owner can be confident their business is valuable and sellable when the time comes to transfer ownership. I recommended what to look for in cash flow and how to retain key employees. Now customers will take the stage. Everybody knows customers are important, but what exactly makes them valuable to a buyer?

Customers are valuable because we expect them to buy again in the future. Two key factors point to the value of a customer base. First, how “sticky” are the customers? Second, what is the loss if a customer leaves?

7 Ways to Build Your Company's Value in 2012

Will your company be worth more or less in the next 12 months compared with today?

Entrepreneurs, by nature, want to increase their business value. But what can they do about it? There is no magical “rising tide” that assures business growth. You must plan to grow and your plan must make sense.

Whether you are struggling for survival, waiting for a turnaround, or managing a growing company, the following tips should be of help:

1. Think big picture