How a Business Transition Plan Enhances Selling Your Business

A transition plan that allows the business owner to sell the business for the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time to the most qualified buyer is generally the top of the wish list for most business owners. Because the business owner lives and breathes their business they become emotionally attached to their customers, employees, suppliers and other business partners as the business is a reflection of who they are.

Deciding to sell the business and move to a new role is much more complicated than most business owners realize. Sure, you can start by putting the business on the market and see what happens, but that’s not a good strategy. If customers, suppliers, competitors or others find out, it can severely damage the business.

So where does the business owner start? It’s my suggestion that one of the starting places is with a transition plan. A transition plan, at its simplest level, is an attempt to define the needs of the business owner and then systematically move to their desired outcome. And I am not just talking about the actual process of selling the business. I would suggest the owner go back to some more basic level and understand why they are selling, what they hope to achieve and probably most important of all, what are they planning on moving to and are they excited about it. If they are not excited about it, chances are they will do all the work to get the business ready for sale, advertise and market the business, qualify the buyers, negotiate a deal, do all the due diligence, prepare to close escrow and then change their mind because they would prefer to continue owning and operating the business than playing endless rounds of golf or become a full-time babysitter looking after the grand kids etc.

So what should be included in the transition plan? The questions and answers can be endless. It’s what makes sense to the owner and their specific situation. Some sample ideas include the following:

• Why does the business owner want to transition the ownership of the business?
• Are there any suitable candidates and if so, why? (The answer could be family or a current employee or a local larger competitor or…)
• If not, why not? (Is the industry the business is in dying out, are there new technologies coming that make this business behind the times etc.)
• Are there any specifics that would prevent the business transitioning that need to be removed?
• What is actually being transitioned?
• Is the owner the business or is the business an independent asset that would be attractive to a buyer?
• How involved day to day is the current owner and if they are heavily involved, are processes and procedures written down that would help a new owner and encourage them to take the risk and buy the business?
• What is the owner’s financial situation? That is, can they afford to retire?
• Does the owner rely on a weekly or monthly income from the business that if stopped because they no longer own the business they can still survive?
• What is the current owner transitioning to?

There is no shortage of questions to ask. The important thing is to ask the questions and keep asking them until they are all answered or its clear what the next steps need to be. The goal of building a transition plan is to clearly help the owner arrive at a decision that makes perfect sense to them and be empowered for any next steps that they take.

Andrew is a 5-time business owner that helps entrepreneurs exit or enter business ownership. His services include helping owners sell and/or buyers purchase an existing business or consult on purchasing a franchise. He also provides certified machinery and equipment appraisals and business valuations.

Andrew currently holds the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), the highest credential awarded by the IBBA and the Certified Business Broker (CBB) designation from the California Association of Business Brokers. He also holds a Brokers License with the California Department of Real Estate, is a member of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Chair of the Sacramento Chapter of the California Association of Business Brokers.

The Notable Importance Of Small Business Coaching

Small business coaching is sought by owners mainly for two reasons. First, their small businesses hit a roadblock and all their efforts have gone futile. Second, they are planning to expand their businesses and explore new territories.

If you are a small business owner and you can identify your own cause with any of the two it is time for you to employ coaching. In fact, the best time for some coaching is right after you have decided to put up your venture. But don’t fret, now is not yet too late.

Disproving The Saying

Managing a business towards success is not about having the best resources. The secret lies in making excellent use of the available resources. This is where business coaching services are deemed important by the owners. It is because they are usually hesitant in effectively maximizing limited resources.

Such services will help them overcome their weaknesses, capitalize on their strengths and fine-tune their skills to enhance their business prospects. The following information will lay all your doubts about business coaching to rest and reveal ways for you to acquire business fortunes.

It Can Improve Your Business Management Skills

Having happy and satisfied employees ushers in employee retention. It is one of the major keys that keep any business thriving. Failure to retain employees can dent the growth of your small business.

Coaching can help you up surge employee retention by teaching you how to attract right employees for the right job and properly train them. Furthermore, it will educate you with all the right motivation techniques and the most effective methods of work delegation.

It Can Improve Your Time Management Skills

When it comes to small business expansion, time is money. Small business coaching will help you master time management and convert each second of your time to money. Setting priorities, dealing with communication overload, cutting down interruptions and getting things done in time are some of the best practices to look forward to with the help of a coach.

Improve Your Selling Skills

Keeping existing customers and attracting new ones are both important and challenging. Having the right marketing strategy with a definite guideline will be taught step by step in business coaching. This can get you an edge over your competition in your niche.

It Will Help You Understand Your Industry Better

Through coaching you can effectively examine your industry as a whole and determine how your own business will fare in the marketplace. A business coach will analyze your business as an outsider and offer you unbiased views and suggestions.

It Will Help You Brainstorm Ideas

Resisting competition and sustaining your business is an overwhelming task. Fresh ideas and innovative strategies will keep your business on the track of success.

Besides the latest business trends, a coach can teach you the right knowledge to brainstorm ideas for a solid business plan. He can also help you achieve perfect relationship among your employees as you all work together to improving your business on a daily basis.

Most small business owners have a common misconception that once their businesses are doing fairly well; coaching would be the last thing they will ever need. This is a wrong mindset and attitude as well.

Bear in mind that any business would need to stand out among the rest before it could claim success. Even the most successful business owners declare that they too need mentoring in order to stay best in the field. Now that you know the importance of small business coaching, hire only the services of reputable and well-established business coach to increase your business potentials even further.

So You Are Thinking About Changing Your Business Name

1. Answer these questions first:

a. Does my current business name properly represent what I’m offering customers & clients?

b. Have my artistic services changed since I first opened my business?

c. Would a new name help open more doors for my artwork and will the change be worth all the hassles in the end?

d. Am I thinking of changing my business name simply because I’m bored with the current one?

e. Is my current business name too generic?

I will go into more depth to help you answer these questions by taking each one and going through some of the thinking process behind them.

“Does my current business name properly represent what I’m offering to customers & clients?” & “Have my artistic services changed since I first opened my business?” – Say your business name is “Alex’s Pottery” and that’s all you expected to work on when you began your business but 5 years down the road you have expanded to also working on water color paintings, sculpting. In this case your original business name isn’t completely valid anymore because most people tie your name to only producing pottery so when they’re looking for a water color painting or a sculpture they don’t even consider your business as handling such work so you decide to change your business name from “Alex’s Pottery” to “Alex’s Clay & Water Colors” which gives a better idea of the sorts of services you offer to the public. When they see the word “Clay” they automatically associate your business with handling more than just pottery and “water colors” is self-explanatory.

“Would a new name help open more doors for my artwork and will the change be worth all the hassles in the end?”- Unfortunately changing a business name isn’t as simple as just choosing another name, changing a sign on the door or on your website. There are a lot of changes you have to consider when thinking of changing your business name. For example, you have to find out what the laws are in your state for changing your business name, what forms you have to fill out, filing fees for those forms, who to contact at the IRS to let them know about your name change. You have to consider the cost you’ll have when changing the business cards, website, stationary, signs to reflect your business’s new name. You also have to consider the cost of changing your marketing material and strategies so you lose as little business as possible while your name change is being accepted by the public. If you have free stuff you give to customers and clients such as free mouse pads, pens, key chains, etc. you have to take into consideration the cost of having that material changed. On the plus side though, changing your business name may just lead to increased business; if the new name you plan to use is better suited to your kind of work then that may just make all the extra work worth it in the long run.

Be sure to check with your state’s internal revenue department on the steps, forms & potential costs associated with changing your business name. The procedure can be quite simple if you have a sole proprietorship but can be much more costly & difficult if you have a corporation. Some states don’t require you to register a dba name (doing business as) if you’re a sole proprietorship so it’s a good thing to check first. Also you’ll want to do this so that you can be sure the name you wish to use isn’t being used already. Then you also have to inform the Federal IRS about your name change and I’d suggest contacting them directly or going to their website to find out the procedures for notifying them. In certain situations you may also have to get a new EIN number so it’s a good thing to check into this at the same time you research the steps for notifying the federal government of your name change.

“Am I thinking of changing my business name simply because I’m bored with the current one?”- NEVER EVER change your business name because you’re bored with the current name. Considering the amount of work involved in changing a business name as well as the potential cost associated with such a change, it would waste a ton of time and also waste a lot of money just to change a name based on your boredom with it. A business name isn’t something you choose lightly and the last thing you want to do is create mass confusion by changing the name without having a proper valid reason for doing so.

“Is my current business name too generic?”- Sometimes a name change is a good idea if your current name is too generic. For example, you own an office supply store and your current name is “Acme Paper Hut”. With such a business name I automatically think that all you sell is paper; probably a good selection of different kinds of paper but paper nonetheless so if I need, say a new office chair, I’d probably be looking at a different store that has a more all-purpose name such as “Irwin’s Office Supply Store”. There’s no tried and true method in deciding if your name is too generic but a good rule of thumb is to send out a poll to your friends, family, business associates and see what they think about it; what comes to their mind when they hear your business’ name; things like that. This kind of feedback is invaluable in determining a new name.

If you are sure you want to go ahead with changing the name of your business I recommend jotting down several different names that come to mind; spend a couple of hours on making such a list of names, then you want to check to make sure such names are not already used by other businesses and isn’t copyrighted because the last thing you want is to get into a legal matter. After you’ve come up with a few name ideas check to see if such names are available for your business’ url address. You might even consider looking for short versions of the name ideas if you come up with any name that is more than 15-20 letters. For instance, say you want to name your business “Aloisha’s Paintings, Graphic Arts & Logo Studio”; you can see how using that entire name for an internet address would be a huge mistake. For one thing, who wants to type something that long into a browser? Secondly not many people would remember all of that when it came time to entering it into their browser. My final piece of advice I’d give anyone who is thinking of changing their business name is this. If you wanted that name for your business, perhaps you could see if “AloishasStudio.com” is available. Once you’ve checked if the business names and internet addresses are available that you’ve come up with, you’ll want to cross out any that are not available and then with the ones that are available, make a small poll again and send it to your friends, family, colleagues, etc. and see which ones they prefer and why. After all, just because you like your new name doesn’t mean that customers will and what they like best is what matters if you want to make a profit or increase your business.

When you have enough feedback given so that you can make an informed, intelligent decision then you will want to take the most liked names on that list and let it sit for a little while; maybe a week, maybe two or more. Come back to your list and see if you still like those ideas or if the time you’ve taken away from it has changed your mind or even given you some new ideas. Then you can re-poll with the new ideas along with whichever names you decided to keep from the first poll you took. After all, a name change is a huge step and there’s no rush in doing so; take your time with it so that when you’re done you’ve chosen the best name you could for your business and website address.

Once you’ve decided on a new name for your business it’s essential that you contact ALL of your current AND past clients/customers notifying them of the change in your name as well as explaining to them why you’ve done this. If your name change won’t effect the sorts of services or products you offer then you’ll want to let them know this as well so they don’t think they need to go somewhere else for the work and products you’ve been selling. Not to mention if you offer things like website design services or SEO services, etc you don’t want them to worry that you won’t be handling these areas any further. Be sure to provide your new email address, website address & if you change your phone number, of course provide that as well; basically any contact information you’re changing you’ll want to share with your clients past and present. If it will be a few months before the changes take effect be certain to state that in your notification as well and about once a month drop them a reminder letting them know that the change will be coming in X -number of weeks or months and make it upbeat; you want them to be excited about the changes coming; you might even consider giving a discount for a certain time period once the change takes effect to entice them to check out your new website and/or store if you have a brick/mortar business. This is also a good way to attract former clients/customers because who doesn’t enjoy a discount?

These steps I’ve outlined apply specifically to sole proprietors but you can also apply the majority of the tips I’ve given to partnerships, corporations, etc but make no mistake about it; for other business formats such as partnerships & corporations there are other steps you have to do in order to make the name change legal so be sure to get all the information first for your type of business.