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Please select the answer which best represents the current situation of your business. There are no “right or wrong” answers.
Your company doesn’t have the necessary financial reporting, metrics, or expert resources to monitor your company’s “free cash flow”, your employee’s performance or overall value of your business. It’s mission critical that you retain outside experts (ASAP) to help you build and use these financial indictors and systems to determine the business’s profitability, its financial constraints and what the business needs to improve its free cash flow and financial value. These efforts will save the business during uncertain economic times and increase the future Transferable Value of your business.
You’re doing the “bare minimum” to meet all required financial accounting and reporting standards. It’s unlikely you have the necessary tools and resources to stay out of trouble if problems arise. Re-assess your current financial and reporting systems (if they exist) and consult with an expert (ASAP) to “upgrade” your financial metrics and reporting processes. Begin conducting annual “valuations” and cash flow projections to measure you’re on-going financial health and future Transferable Value.
Continue monitoring and measuring financial performance to determine the overall strength and value of your business. Monitor “free cash flow” to determine annual increases in financial value. Also, continue investing in and upgrading your financial systems, and make sure your financial metrics are directly tied to the company’s other “Key Performance Indicators”. Continue using qualified financial experts where needed to give you reliable financial data. You’re on the right track!
Congratulations!! You’re in the top percentile of owners who have adopted the necessary financial metrics to grow the business and its Transferable Value. You’re on track to building a financially strong, self-sustaining company which will be very valuable to you and your future successor. We recommend that you continue using your financial metrics to make smart business decisions as needed. Keep up the good work!
Your business is a “revolving door” when it comes to employees. As a result, it’s likely difficult to vest or retain your people and it’s likely that your staff is not very committed to your business. We recommend paying your people at or above competitive rates, offer them other intangible benefits, if possible, and keep them motivated to meet your expectations. Provide opportunities for raises and advancement, and in the event, you decide these folks are “essential”, you’ll need to “vest” them as “key employees”. (see our blog and E-books on Key Employee Incentive Plans).
You have “important” or “potentially key” employees and you see the need for keeping them motivated and retained. However, you don’t have clearly defined performance standards and there’s no “objective basis” for their compensation. Also, there’s no clear development plan or opportunities for their advancement. It’s likely they might leave for other opportunities given the right mix of incentives. Begin setting “performance standards” and tie those standards to their compensation and benefits and create a plan for their development and advancement. Vest them into the business!
Like most “good to great companies” you understand the value of key employees and a strong management team. Define “what’s required” to become a key employee and make sure those performance standards are linked to compensation. Make sure you have clearly defined development and “promotion” opportunities which are built into the Employee Handbook so it’s clear to everyone. Overall, you’re on the right track to retaining your most prized assets!
Congratulations!! You’re in the top class of companies which appreciate their most important asset…their key employees. It’s critical to define objective standards for who “is” a key employee, review and modify their performance standards annually and award them with “cash” and potentially “equity” if they continue exceeding their performance standards. These key employees will likely become your “next level management team” and will continue the business in the event something happens to you.
You don’t have documented systems, processes, or procedures (“SPPs”) or performance indicators and it’s likely that you do everything (or most things) in the business. You’ll need to learn how to delegate your operational tasks to the key employees. We recommend “mapping out” what you do, how it’s done and how it can be delegated to others. Implement and document the necessary SPPs, set key performance indicators for the company (financial and organizational) and create a “board of advisors” to help solve problems and make future decisions.
You have SPPs but don’t use them (or know how) to increase the value of the business. You are likely way too involved in the daily operations and don’t have a clear plan as to “who” will manage and own the company in the event something happens to you. Review and update your SPPs and make sure your key performance indicators are realistic and obtainable. Adopt a process to hold you and others accountable for using and documenting the SPPs and meeting your KPIs.
You’ve done a nice job of creating SPPs, however you need to link them to your key performance indicators (financial and organizational) so that you can determine which areas of the business are creating the most value and where you need improvement. Review and update your key performance indicators and make sure that you include your key employees (managers) and outside advisors in your decision-making process. Lastly, make sure that your internal documents reflect your goals and objectives and protect your interests in the event something happens to you.
Congratulations!! Your operations are likely running well and your managing and monitoring all key areas of the business. Continue assessing your SPPs to make sure there efficient and include all necessary key employees. Check your performance indicators (financial and operational) to make sure you’re getting the data you need to make good strategic decisions. Involve your managers and advisors in your strategic decision-making process and look for opportunities to delegate to others. Lastly, create a “business continuity plan”, it’s your company’s roadmap for the future.
You need to diversify your current products or services, the markets you sell into and the number of customers you serve. Find ways to strategically “up-sell” new products or services into your existing customers, while looking for new customer opportunities to sell your current products or services. Implement a “growth strategy” to increase revenue and profits in your current customer base and each new customer area you acquire. You have lots to do but you can increase you’re Growth and Market Value if you diversify and increase your customer value.
Your products or services are NOT diversified enough (they’re too similar in value) and your market concentration is to heavy (meaning that most of your revenue comes from a few customers). Implement a “growth strategy” to sell new or complimentary products or services into your existing customers and your current products or services into new “complimentary markets”. Train one or more salespeople to lead this effort and incentivize them financially. You’re behind the “8 ball” but can increase your Growth and Market Value Building if you kick it in gear!
You’re on the right track! Continue innovating your products or services while seeking new “complimentary markets” to sell your existing products or services. Formalize a new growth strategy and empower your key employees (in sales) to champion this task. Incentivize them with performance-based metrics to oversee and increase new sales, revenue, and profitability. Adopt new products or services which are “unique” to your brand and improve the skills and capabilities of your sales team. Teach them to “cross sell” your products or services so they become familiar with all new products and services.
Congratulations!! You’ve done a great job diversifying your products or services and your market presence. Continue innovating your deliverables and build a process for becoming a “strategic partner” to your customers. Also develop your salespeople by empowering them to champion these new business development strategies. Incentivize them with “cash” or “equity” based incentive plans to sell and service as if they were owners! This approach will create a highly profitable, self-sustaining company.
Unfortunately, your aggregate score suggests that your company has little Transferable Value and is not likely going to sell or transition for any considerable amount of money. Likewise, it’s going to be difficult to successfully gift or sell your company to your business active children or key employees. Our recommendations are to fundamentally change the business structure by implementing the following:
Your aggregate score suggests that you're like the majority of business owners in the U.S. - you have a "life-style" business. Unfortunately, it's likely that the business has little Transferable Value and will not provide you the money you need when you sell or transition the business. Focus on implementing the following recommendations and Value Drivers to increase the growth, profitability and sustainability of your business.
Your aggregate score suggests that you’re on your way to building a transferable business. You’ve taken many of the required steps to build a self-sustainable company that can run profitably without you, and which will provide you the money and outcomes you desire. Here are some key recommendations to keep things moving in the right direction.
Your aggregate score suggests that you are in the top 11% of the closely held businesses in the U.S. You’ve implemented most of the key Value Drivers required for creating a self-sustaining, highly profitable company which can easily be transferred to any successor on YOUR terms…congratulations! Here are some additional recommendations to keep you on track to the promise land.