8. Diversification. A major problem with many small companies is that their business is concentrated on one or two major customers or clients. Ideally, no customer or client should represent more than 10 percent of sales. Expanding to new markets, introducing new products, and finding new customers must be considered without deviating too far from the company’s core business.
9. Name and brand identity. Nothing beats the name Walt Disney, Kleenex®, or the soft drink called Coke® – they are household names. Small firms may not have the brand or name recognition of these companies, but they can work at it. This recognition is especially powerful in the consumer product area, but franchising has expanded this name or brand recognition to many different types of businesses.
10. Take advantage of proprietary and other assets. Patents, brand names, copyrights, alliances, and joint ventures are all examples of not only proprietary assets, but, in many cases, valuable ones. Even equipment can be used in several different ways. Large landscape companies in cold climates put snowplows on their trucks, utilize their existing workforce, and become snowplowing companies for their regular landscaping customers, like office complexes, apartments, and condo developments.
11. “Lean and Mean.” Many companies lease their real estate needs, outsource their payroll, have their manufacturing done offshore, or have UPS handle all of their logistical needs. Since all non-core requirements are done by someone else, the company can focus its efforts on what it does best.
12. Do it now! The owners of small firms, and even some large ones, may have an attitude that says, “I don’t have time now, I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’m too busy now putting out fires.” So, the real challenges of building the business, and value, get sidetracked or put off indefinitely. Creating value is critical to the long-term (and short-term) success of the business.
Keep in mind that the best time to consider selling is when business is good, the business is running profitably, and many of the above “value-adders” are in place. By contacting EastWind Business Solutions, you can explore which of the above actions will add the most value to your firm, so it will be ready to sell when you are.