Selling A Business For An Outrageous Price: Fact or Fiction?

Today’s guest blogger, Kevin Short, is the author of Sell Your Business For An Outrageous Price (AMACOM Books, 2014), and the Managing Partner and CEO of Clayton Capital Partners, a St. Louis-based investment banking firm specializing in the sale and purchase of mid-size companies.

Have you ever wondered why similar, mid-market[1] companies sell at wildly divergent prices?  I noticed the discrepancy between ordinary and outrageous prices years ago and decided to find the answer.

First, I defined “outrageous price” as one that is at least two times the EBITDA multiple of an average company in its industry. Second, I looked at leverage; the leverage that drives prices up when sellers have it and holds prices in check when buyers have it. Finally, I looked at the transaction process: could we use it to produce an outrageous price?

I started with a four-step Proactive Sale Strategy™ to transform good prices into great ones and to maximize a seller’s probability of closing.

Step One assesses readiness of the company and its owner for sale and addresses any areas that are not sale-ready.

During Step Two we dissect all of the information that we collect in preparation for a buyer’s due diligence to save time later and reduce the risk of a failure to close.

In Step Three we identify a company’s competitive advantage and search for an existing or potential fit between the seller’s competitive advantage and a buyer’s need. We then determine how a seller’s company: (1) can (or could, if given time and preparation) meet a buyer’s immediate need, or (2) could pose an imminent threat to a buyer.

Step Four focuses on potential buyers: which ones can use their significantly greater resources (such as access to capital or more efficient processes) to make more money from a company than can its current owner?

At the end of this process, owners decide if they want to go for an outrageous price. If so, we look for the following four items that I learned (after analyzing numerous outrageous price sales) must be present:

[1] $10M – $250M of value

  1. A competitive advantage that can be leveraged to cause a buyer pain or create gain.
  2. An “outrageous buyer” active in the marketplace who has deep pockets, is motivated to eliminate pain or create gain and has an internal champion pushing to make the deal.

III.        A seller who can trust their advisor enough to follow his or her lead, is self-disciplined enough to resist the temptation to talk to buyers or jump ship when the seas get rough, and has an ability to act.

  1. A transaction advisor who knows how to orchestrate the Outrageous Price Process™. That advisor must understand why a company is successful and be able to communicate to buyers how the acquisition will bring it gain or relieve pain.

The success of this process is dependent on the presence of each of these elements but not necessarily on a strong M&A market. I’ve used it under varying marketing conditions and in all types of industries. Check out my book to learn whether your company could sell for an outrageous price.

To learn more about selling a business, join Kevin Short at our Soundview Live webinar on September 3rd: An Insider’s Guide to Getting More for Your Business.

Matching Your Selling Style to the Customer’s Buying Style

Today’s guest blogger is Tony Alessandra, CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips coaches, trainers and consultants with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account.

Contrary to what passes for age-old wisdom, customers do not buy because they are made to understand; they buy when they feel understood. That is where the salesperson’s knowledge of the behavioral styles comes in. The savvy salesperson knows the High ‘D’ (Dominance) Style wants more control. The High ‘I’ (Influence) Style cries out for more recognition and excitement. The High ‘S’ (Steadiness) Style wants more support, and the High ‘C’ (Conscientious) Style more logic. The most successful salespeople customize their approach and follow-through for each type.

A Matching Process

A sale is a matching process. You match the right product or service to your customer’s needs…and you match your selling style with the customer’s buying style by adapting your style to the style of your customer.

Of the four styles, the ‘D’s and ‘I’s are both fast-paced and assertive. ‘C’s and ‘S’s, by contrast, are slower to decide and less assertive.

But it is not quite that simple. ‘D’s and ‘C’s also both tend to emphasize the need to accomplish tasks. ‘I’s and ‘S’s put a higher priority on personal relationships.

So, as a salesperson first try to determine which style your dealing with, then adjust your pace (faster or slower) and your priority (task versus relationship).

Adjusting Pace and Priority

If you are a ‘D’ or ‘I’ salesperson, and you want to deal better with ‘S’ or ‘C’ customers or clients, try to be more relaxed, listen more than you speak, do not interrupt, challenge, or push the process along faster than they want it to go.

If you are an ‘S’ or ‘C’ selling to a ‘D’ or ‘I’, pick up the pace, initiate conversations, give recommendations, and avoid beating-around-the-bush.

As for priority, if you are an ‘S’ or ‘I’ selling to ‘D’s or ‘C’s, focus more on the task than the relationship, get right to the bottom line, and use facts and logic. If possible, prepare an agenda and stick to it. Keep your meeting focused and short.

Conversely, if you are a ‘D’ or ‘C’ salesperson, put the relationship first when dealing with ‘I’s or ‘S’s. Show an interest in them: their job, family, or hobbies. Speak in a friendly, informal way. Be flexible with your time, tolerating digressions.

The point is: Everybody is easy to please, if you know how.

With ‘D’s, be efficient and competent. With ‘I’s, support their ideas or dreams. With ‘S’s, stress your warmth and sincerity, and with ‘C’s, be thorough and prepared.

Working Toward a Win-Win

Selling customers the way they want to buy is a strategy that can positively change your sales career. Thousands of salespeople have successfully applied these techniques. They have experienced dramatic increases in sales as well as greater awareness of their own personal strengths and struggles. You become a salesperson who “consults” and “solves problems” based on your knowledge of both your customers’ personal needs and behavioral styles.

To hear more from Tony Alessandra, join him for our Soundview Live webinar on August 27th: Turning Every Business Encounter into a Mutual Win.

How Adaptable are YOU?

Today’s guest blogger is Tony Alessandra, CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips coaches, trainers and consultants with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account.

What IS Adaptability?

The concept of adaptability, as developed by Dr. Michael O’Connor, co-author of The Platinum Rule®, is a two-part process.  It combines flexibility with versatility.

  • Flexibility is your willingness to adapt. It is your attitude.
  • Versatility is your ability to adapt. It is your aptitude.

The first half of the high adaptability formula – Flexibility.

Confidence + Tolerance + Empathy + Positiveness + Respect for others = FLEXIBILITY.

  • Confidence – you believe in yourself, you trust your own judgment and resourcefulness.
  • Tolerance – you are open to accepting opinions and practices that are different from your own.
  • Empathy – a deep understanding of another’s situation.
  • Positiveness – a positive attitude leads to positive events in your life.
  • Respect for others – the sincere desire to understand and consider other people’s choices, commitments and needs in relation to your own.

BEWARE!  These are traits that undermine your ability to successful adapt:

  • Rigidity -“It’s my way or the highway”
  • Competition with others – “I’m smarter, prettier, etc., thank you”
  • Discontent – “No, I don’t like it this way.  Why can’t we…”
  • Unapproachable – “Don’t bother me unless it’s worth my time and you agree with me”
  • Difficulty with Ambiguity – “Let’s nail this down right now”

The second half of the high adaptability formula – Versatility.

Resilience + Vision + Attentiveness + Competence + Self-correction = VERSITILITY.

  • Resilience – knowing how to overcome setbacks, barriers and limited resources.  If you keep on going until you succeed, that is resilience.
  • Vision – having the power to imagine, be creative, and suggest alternatives.
  • Attentiveness – knowing when to act and when not to act. It means paying attention to more than your own needs.
  • Competence – begins with expertise. In addition, it also involves a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your specialty. It means having a can-do attitude and following through on it.
  • Self-correction – once you initiate a project, you ask for feedback and place a high priority on problem solving, not on being right. It is being able to say, “I think this approach isn’t working.  I’d better try something different.”

BEWARE!  There are traits that undermine your ability to successful adapt:

  • Subjectiveness – “This is the way it looks to ME”
  • Bluntness – “That’s a stupid idea!”
  • Resistance – “This is the way we’ve always done it”
  • Single-mindedness – “It’s my goal and nothing else matters”
  • Unreasonable Risk-taking – “I’m going to jump, won’t you come with me?”

Adaptable people meet other peoples’ needs and their own. They know how to negotiate relationships in a way that allows everyone to win.  With adaptability, you are practicing what I call The Platinum Rule® – treating other people the way they want and need to be treated.

To hear more from Tony Alessandra, join him for our Soundview Live webinar on August 27th: Turning Every Business Encounter into a Mutual Win.

50 Ways to Enhance your Presence and Impact at Work

Our guest blogger today is Simon Tyler, author of The Impact Code.

Much has been written about leadership and impact. Corporate impact, specifically, is a term which seems to have a lot of style, but often very little substance. You are advised to change your appearance, use the right body language and so on.

But here’s the crux: without wisdom, without purpose and authentic intention, irrespective of dramatic style upgrades, your impact is rendered impotent and empty. True leaders and innovators – Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs – are considered ‘great’ due to their passion, and their belief in their purpose. People wanted to follow them and their ideas.

Without a sense of what motivates and inspires you, a new suit or different haircut will do little to improve your leadership potential. The Impact Code challenges you from the outset to examine your purpose as the first step towards creating a powerful positive impact on the world and those around you.

How often have you asked yourself:

“What am I passionate about?”

“What do I stand for?”

“What would I like people to say about me, and what I have done?”

… and actually written down your immediate responses?

Your current leadership impact is revealed in the answers to these core questions. It tells a story to those around you, making a statement about who you are and how you go about your journey. It’s about how you create lasting and meaningful impact.

In my role as coach and mentor, I observe senior managers and directors, every one of them leaders, in that they have willing followers, but only a few demonstrating executive presence.

I have identified five interlinked channels for executive presence. The consistency with which it is delivered, makes the impact more potent.

In The Impact Code I refer to these as The Five Aspects of Leadership Impact, and I will discuss them at the Soundview Live webinar on August 20th.

  1. Visual impact
  2. Presence
  3. Connection
  4. Verbal impact
  5. Your leadership footprint

In practice, all five aspects are in play much of the time. Becoming mindful of how you use the aspects of impact prepares you to enhance both the strength and consistency of your message.

During the webinar I will discuss a leader’s impact journey. Powerful, authentic leadership can be identified by four escalating outcomes:

Attraction – People are attracted to you and to your ideas. They may, or may not, be able to explain why, but they gravitate towards you in a room and are eager to hear what you have to say.

Appetite – Your connection with individuals amplifies their initial attraction; they are now actively aware of their interest in your ideas, your team, your company, and they want more.

Advocacy – People are deeply and passionately aware of your ideas and motivated to advocate them to others – they support your cause verbally, they discuss it with peers, creating a buzz around you and your vision.

Action – Your passion and leadership create a palpable and obvious response in others. They take new, inspired action, and do something directly as a result of their involvement with you. You create change through the actions of others. Your impact is spreading more widely and is not restricted to the people you meet in person.

During the webinar I will help you notice positive and impactful perceptions of yourself and your work, not only in a business setting, but in other areas of life too. Heightening your self-awareness, becoming more deliberate, will enhance your impact and accelerate the pace of the change and also bring many of the material, emotional and spiritual rewards you seek.

Join us on August 20th for our webinar with Simon Tyler: 50 Ways to Enhance Your Presence and Impact at Work.

A Big BUT

By Daniel F. Prosser, Author, ‘Thirteeners – Why Only 13% Of Companies Successfully Execute Their Strategy And How Yours Can Be One Of Them’

There are two kinds of strategic planners I’ve encountered in the world of business and both of them are ALWAYS right. Which one you are most like?

Our first strategic planner sits down with their team and goes through all the right motions, has a grand dream they think they are committed to accomplish. They might see a big possibility for their future, yet with an almost unconsciousness, immediately and automatically follow their idea with, “but…” As in, “This is a great idea, BUT I just don’t think we are capable of making that happen this year”. Or, “That would be nice, BUT….” The word may not actually be spoken – yet often it is. Regardless, this is the word that runs the show; limits the possible future. And, what’s even more interesting is that everyone who thinks this way makes themselves absolutely correct in their statement.

The second strategic planner follows the same process for strategic planning for the year and yet they do something completely different with their idealized future. They W.

Huh? What is W?  Look very closely. What you’re looking at is the international symbol for putting your butt on the line. That’s right – there are two different types of strategists (leaders actually) and the ones who have the best chance of fulfilling on their dreams and plans are the ones who give up the word ‘But’ and literally take the risk of putting their butt on the line for what they want, regardless of the risks.

More leaders silently succumb to their ‘but’ and avoiding having to actually put their W on the line.

Why would this be a problem? Well, the shocking news is that 87% of companies fail to execute their strategy each year and then wonder why. To be clear – this isn’t the only reason they fail. But, (there’s that word again) it’s a very serious problem because what happens next when leaders are being observed and followed –their thinking and their fear of risk, becomes embedded as a hidden practice that gets repeated within their organization.

Just the mere silent indication that there’s any sort of resistance to “what’s next” creates what I call a cultural meme – a meme is an unspoken idea, behavior, or practice that spreads from person to person within a culture. Memes carry invisible or hidden messages – conversations actually and that is what really runs your company. You’re not aware of them because they are in the background. Memes operate like a virus to undermine and sabotage your best intentions – the things you would most like to have happen in your life or your business. When you understand memes and specifically the memes that operate in your workplace you literally take your power back to be able to say how it’s going to be and then have it be that way.

To earn more, join Daniel Prosser at our Soundview Live webinar: Become One of the 13% That Successfully Execute Their Strategy on August 13th.

 

5 Steps to Transform Your Team’s Passion into Execution of Your Strategy

This blog was first published by Daniel Prosser on www.danprosser.com.

Every company leader wants to feel they’ve done everything possible to fulfill on their strategy every year. Leading studies show that while as many as 95% of companies have done the planning and created a cogent business plan or strategy, at least 87% of those companies won’t follow through and meet those goals this year, next year, or any year. And furthermore, it’s not the strategy that is usually at fault.

Keep this up every year and it won’t help that people, more likely your very best people, will ultimately begin leaving to find a better place to employ their talents. After all if you worked hard (and I think you are) to make a difference and it’s not working, what would you choose to do? It only makes sense.

You can do something about this in your company even if you don’t have all the right people on the bus just yet. Companies that have changed their thinking have put their companies on a course for actual 2 – 3X expansion of their current bottom-line performance. This is especially common among those companies known as ‘Best Places To Work’.

This is not fantasy thinking. Any company can do this. The difference between those companies who do it and those that don’t is those who do are willing to first uncover and confront what’s in the way, and then give up their current system of limited and limiting thinking. Gallup found that companies that do change their thinking see an average of 2.6 times more growth in earnings, 12% higher customer advocacy, 18% higher productivity, and 12% higher profitability. Every bit of those improvements wind up on the bottom line.

“Almost every significant breakthrough has been the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking” – Stephen R. Covey

The companies who produce these kinds of results have first identified what is standing in the way of their forward progress and then – they shift their current thinking, they unhook their current model; they shift their current paradigms. They literally go to work to transform the way they are ‘being’ versus concentrating on what they are ‘doing’ as a company, by adopting a new system in which they’ve literally risked their present ways of thinking to build a more powerful and profitable future.

What exactly did they shift?

  1. An Awareness of the conversations and beliefs that undermine and sabotage future performance and a new Awareness of what is truly possible once that truth has been told.
  2. An enduring vision of the future that puts everyone on the exact same page; a future that empowers people, can’t be forgotten, and won’t disappear or go out of existence.
  3. A strategy that eliminates the need for survival tactics and empowers employees and other stakeholders to take responsibility for causing breakthrough results.
  4. A future-focused culture that gets the constraints left by past performance out of the way of having what you say you want and create the connections people need with each other and to the activities (roles/goals/responsibilities) that are consistent with the vision.
  5. An accountability system that gives people back their power to produce ‘real measurable results’ using a new structure to support what the organization is committed to.

The challenge in shifting to a future based company is to maintain accelerated forward progress. To do this the leadership have to give something up. They need to give up being right and believing they have all the answers.

Once they set their egos aside and are promoting a more relational culture, they can then stop managing people and start managing the promises people make as they establish effective accountability and become more effective at managing promises that close the gaps between what is possible and current performance.

To learn more about the conversations that can move a company into the top 13%, register for our Soundview Live webinar with Daniel Prosser: Become One of the 13% That Successfully Execute Their Strategy.

4 Tips for Becoming a Whole-Brained Leader

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi is CEO of Herrmann International and co-author of The Whole Brain® Business Book, Second Edition (McGraw-Hill).

What’s the most effective leadership style?

OK, it’s a trick question.

There is no “one size fits all” style. Leadership is personal; it’s individual. The best leaders aren’t trying to be someone they’re not or to force-fit themselves into a prescribed mold. They understand their own style—who they are—and they’ve learned how to leverage it.

But regardless of personal leadership styles, our research has shown that there are some commonalities among the most effective leaders. Especially in a business world that’s as complex and fluid as today’s, we’ve found that being a successful leader requires Whole Brain® Thinking.

This means understanding how you prefer to think as well as what your mental “blind spots” are. It’s also about having the agility to stretch outside your thinking comfort zones when the situation requires it.

The great thing about the brain is that you have access to all of it. So while I may prefer conceptual thinking over structured approaches, that doesn’t mean I can’t focus in on detailed action items. It does, however, take conscious awareness, motivation, and effort. And most of the time, we’re pretty unconscious about our thinking.

To get more conscious about thinking so you can become a more effective leader, start with these quick tips:

  1. Understand all the brainpower that’s available. Being whole-brained isn’t just about your own thinking; it’s also about recognizing who can supplement your strengths when the situation requires it (and then listening to them!). Know the people around you, and bring in the complementary thinking you need to see all contingencies and aspects of an issue.
  2. Make thinking a priority. Our culture is focused on “do, do, do,” to the point where thinking is often viewed as a luxury. But it’s your job to think, and you can’t run on autopilot when the landscape is constantly changing. Own, schedule, and protect your thinking time, as well as the thinking time for those you lead.
  3. Play to people’s strengths. When employees are disengaged and burned out because their jobs don’t match their thinking preferences, it can cost the company millions. Tools like the HBDI® Assessment can be used to understand not only the person’s preferences, but also the mental requirements of a particular job. This is valuable information for talent alignment and coaching/performance support discussions.
  4. Escape your thinking confines. It’s easy to get contaminated by your industry or organizational mindset. To be more strategic and innovative, you have to make a point to regularly escape this narrow view. Read about industries that have nothing to do with yours, attend different conferences, network widely. If you don’t look outside, you risk getting caught off-guard.

You can hire experts in finance and lean and technology. What you can’t hire is your own ability to think critically, creatively, and strategically, to think visually, intuitively, and globally—to be able to project your leadership out into the future. Get conscious about your thinking by exercising Whole Brain® leadership daily.

Learn more about Whole Brain Thinking at our upcoming webinar with Ann Herrmann-Nehdi: Unlock the Power of Whole Brain Thinking.

A New Way of Thinking

So often, we are limited by our own perspective, our own way of looking at business and life. It is no small challenge to break out of this narrow mindset in order to gain the perspective of our colleagues, employees and customers – but it can mean the difference between success and failure.

We have invited two authors to join us next week to help us break through the limitations of our thinking. On August 4th Ann Herrmann-Nehdi will introduce the concept of whole-brain thinking, and then on August 6th Bernard Mayer will provide a new perspective on conflict resolution.

Unlock the Power of Whole Brain Thinking – Ann Herrmann-Nehdi

Filled with real-world examples and essential charts, exercises, action steps, and strategies, this Soundview Live webinar shows you how to rethink your business, prepare for the future, realign your goals, and reinvigorate your team — by putting your whole brain to work.

Taking Conflict to a More Productive Place – Bernard Mayer

In this Soundview Live webinar Bernard Mayer outlines seven major dilemmas that conflict practitioners face every day. Participants will find expert guidance toward getting to the heart of the conflict and will be challenged to adopt a new way to think about the choices disputants face.  They will also be offered practical tools and techniques for more successful intervention. Using stories, experiences, and reflective exercises to bring these concepts to life, Mayer provides actionable advice for overcoming roadblocks to effective conflict work.

As always, these webinar are free for subscribers. And if you’re not yet a subscriber, you can Subscribe to our Online Edition for what it would cost for just these two events, and receive our summaries and a year of weekly webinars.

The Principles of Decision-Making

Next week will be all about decision-making at Soundview Live. Our two speakers will be talking about very different issues within the decision-making process.

Mark Hefner – The Advantage Strategy Paradigm: July 28th

In this Soundview Live webinar Mark Hefner explains the principles that can guide all executives in the decisions and actions they take related to developing, planning, and executing strategy. Principles provide a broad context for strategic action and guidelines that can be communicated and taught at all levels of the organization, eventually becoming part of the organization’s culture.

Marlene Chism – How to Increase Leadership Effectiveness: July 30th

In this Soundview Live webinar Marlene Chism introduces just the model the corporate world needs in decision making. Using case studies, checklists, and examples from various levels of hierarchy in leadership and from a variety of industries, Chism introduces the mindset shifts and practical skills needed to develop enlightened leaders, whose decision making flows from a much more grounded and aligned place.

If you want to strengthen your decision-making skills, or would like to host a decision training time with your staff, then register for these two events over the lunch-hour.

As always, these webinar are free for subscribers. And if you’re not yet a subscriber, you can Subscribe to our Online Edition for what it would cost for just these two events, and receive our summaries and a year of weekly webinars.

 

Leading with Character

What kind of character strengths must leaders develop in themselves and others to create and sustain extraordinary organizational growth and performance?

In Leading with Character, John Sosik summarizes a wealth of leadership knowledge in a unique collection of captivating stories about 25 famous leaders from business, history and pop culture. Sosik includes dozens of interesting examples, vivid anecdotes, and clear guidelines to offer listeners an in-depth look at how character and virtue forms the moral fiber of authentic transformational leadership.

The leaders Sosik observes run the gamut of society, including Condoleezza Rice, John F. Kennedy, Maya Angelou, Bill Gates, Brian Wilson, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Joe Namath, Pat Tillman, Mother Teresa, Lady Diana, Pope John Paul II, Shirley Chisholm, Governor James Hunt, Andy Griffith, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffet, Andy Grove, Eleanor Roosevelt, Herb Kelleher, Anita Roddick, Johnny Cash, and Fred Rogers.

From his analysis of these leaders, Sosik developed a list of character traits that all leaders should develop:

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge – strengths for stimulating visions and ideas.
  2. Courage – strengths for weaving moral fiber.
  3. Humanity – strengths for developing others.
  4. Justice – strengths for role modeling.
  5. Temperance – strengths for keeping the ego in check.
  6. Transcendence – strengths for inspiring greatness.

To learn more about these character traits and how they can be developed, you can hear directly form the author at our Soundview Live webinar, How to Lead with Character. Individuals currently in leadership positions as well as aspiring leaders will find Sosik’s conversational style, fascinating stories, and practical guidelines both useful and inspiring.