Building a Sellable Business: 10 Things Often Overlooked

Eventually, every entrepreneur realizes they cannot work in their business forever. For most entrepreneurs, this is the time they begin thinking of exit. Here are ten things you should think about before that faithful day.

Standardization

The first thing I will like to mention is standardizing services or products. In the onset of a business, an entrepreneur figures things out as he/she develops. As time elapses, the entrepreneur figures out what works and settles into a way of doing business. This usually happens at the $100,000 mark. The problem with this is the knowledge is embedded in the head of the owner. The owner often fails to communicate this knowledge to new hires. There is kind of an “unspoken standard” or “way of doing things”. People learn “the unspoken way” haphazardly. By not standardizing, the owner’s loses 50% of the value of the business when it is time to sell. Nobody wants to buy a business when all the knowledge is in the owners’ head and if they do there are usually lots of contingencies tied to the deal.

Delegation

Most entrepreneurs have this false belief that they are the best: No one can do anything as well as they do and without them the business will fail. This false belief enslaves them into believing they have to work harder than anyone to achieve success. They have a hard time even getting away from their work for one hour. The biggest problem with this, is you limit your business growth. They are people smarter than you and people who can do the job better than you if you just let them. If you have standardized your systems, delegation becomes easier: All the new person has to do is follow the systems you have created.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is not an issue that can be ignored in the information age. How we share information with staff, customers and vendors should be very well defined and preserved for consistency. Whether you use an intranet for communication with your staff and external stake holders or simply a cloud database, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the method you use is efficient in capturing and transferring relevant information.

Innovation

Innovation is the development of a new idea or developing a more effective design or process. Innovation could be in the form of redesigning your workforce, upgrading your technology, restructuring your offerings to match customers taste, etc.

Every product has a life circle. A product goes from growth, to mature phase and finally hits a decline. Innovation is required to stay competitive, if not your product life cycle becomes your business life cycle. Keeping tap of the external environment lets the entrepreneur see what processes, products or services need to be developed. As an entrepreneur, you should be a member of a trade association in your industry, read their magazines, and keep track of new developments. Keeping track of industry trends is important to your future existence. The external environment is consistently changing and the only way to build a sustainable business is to innovate.

Financial Systems

The financial plan of most business owners goes as far as purchasing QuickBooks and once a year completing their tax return. If they are more prudent they might look at the financial reports developed in QuickBooks monthly. While this is better than nothing, business owners can do a lot more in improving their financial position by investing in better financial systems. For instance what controls do you have in place to ensure the information in QuickBooks is accurate? Just like anything else, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Moreover what about the structure of your financial accounts, are they capturing the information you need. When you look at your financial reports, do you have answers to the most critical factors affecting your business? All of these questions are addressed in the way your financial system is designed. Investing in having a professional design the system is worth the headache you will save down the road. Moreover, be careful not to commingle funds and keep your financial records as clean as possible. Good financial records are worth a lot when selling your business.

Planning and Budgeting

Planning and budgeting is the process of telling your business where you want it to go rather than it telling you where to go. Small business owner fall into the trap of thinking that they cannot control what direction their business will take so they do not plan. Planning and budgeting go hand in hand. A budget is simply the numbers behind the plan. Having a plan and delegating the responsibilities of certain aspects of the plan is crucial. With a plan and a budget you can plan and execute on your business goal. Also business buyers like to see a history of business planning and budgeting. This increases the amount they are willing to pay as they are less anxious about being handed down a sham.

Developing key metrics

Once you have a plan and budget in place, you need a way to determine if you are on track. Metrics are used to measure how things are going. Usually metrics are measured against a budget developed using a strategic plan. Monitoring metrics on a regular basis can point you to where your business is failing before it actually happens. Some metrics you may want to track are: productivity rate, net margins, customer retention rate, customer acquisition rate, etc.

Tax Planning

Taxes have a big impact on what percentage of your net profits you keep. Tax Planning should be done before you sell. By structuring transactions differently you might be able to save more money on taxes. Do not wait until after selling to decide what you will do for taxes: When you get your cash after sale, you will be rest assured you have taken the best possible steps to minimize your taxes.

Exit Planning

Most business owners do not plan for the day they will leave their business. They work until the day they determine they are burnt out. The problem with this is the business owner does not leave the business with the best value possible. Working with a consultant should be done couple of years before you plan to sell. If you wait too long your business may become unsellable. The top two factors that affect business value are:

  • what is going on in the economy and,
  • how it particularly affects the industry you compete in.

If you hit a time of decline, no one will want to buy your business. Selling in a timely manner, will help you take your time to identify the best buyer who might be able to take your business to a level you were not capable of doing on your own.

Another mistake I see is because business sales rule of thumb are usually based on a multiple of industry revenue, entrepreneurs think they will hold on to the business till they reach a revenue mark and then sell. This is a false thought because you never know what bad fortune may befall your business before you sell. Moreover, if you try to manipulate sales to increase revenue, a smart buyer will discover this during the due diligence process which will kill the sale.

Lifestyle Planning

Business owners have the propensity to work without giving much attention to their personal lives. Lifestyle design should be integrated into the lives of business owners if not burn out is certain. This includes what kind of lifestyle you want after you exit your business. Do not neglect to take care of you or you will burn out and be no good to anyone. You should have a system of rewarding yourself at specific timelines in your business. For instance, I take frequent vacations and this helps me renew the love for what I do.

Do not make the mistake of thinking you will retire from your business and spend the whole day on the beach or playing golf. If you have spent your life working hard to build a business, you will get bored with just sitting on the beach doing nothing. Moreover, people die faster after retirement if they choose to do nothing.

Medical Tourism – 5 Tips For Picking the Right Hospital

As medical costs skyrocket in the US, many people are turning to health care outside the country to save money. Unfortunately, if you have a problem or the job gets botched, you have no recourse. You can try suing the institution or the doctor, but this means you will have to return to the country for the court case. There is little to gain, as pain and suffering settlements are largely unknown outside the US. Your best bet is to avoid problems by doing research in advance.So how do you pick the right hospital?Tip #1 – Go to the hospitals website. Most hospitals list any International Accreditation if they have any. This is a great indicator. The Joint Commission International makes sure hospitals have state-of-the-art health care and technology along with advanced transportation and communications systems. JCI accredited hospitals health care standards, professionalism and quality of doctors are equivalent or superior to those you would find in the United States.

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Tip #2 – Review the Doctors listed at the hospital. Most hospital website list the doctors they have on staff. They will present a short bio of the doctors including their specialties and Alma maters. They should also list their specialties. If you are unfamiliar with the schools or universities they attended, do a Google search. This can tell you a lot about the quality of their education.Tip #3 – Do a Google Search on the Doctor. Often, you will get no further information. Sometimes you will find complaints have been logged. Read through any complaints and see if they have been resolved. This is also a good way to find additional information about the doctor or hospital because blogs or message boards that list problems, will often have rebuttals or other recommendations.Tip #4 – Find medical tourism review sites – Do a Google search for medical tourism reviews. This will often lead to blogs or review sites that have a wealth of information. You may find information that leads you to a better deal or at the very least confirms your choice. If you see a review, try using the Instant Message function found on most review boards to get in touch the with reviewer. Most people are anxious to tell you if they found the best deal going or if they had a bad time.

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Tip #5 – Call the hospital and the doctor who will be doing your procedure. Prepare a list of questions that you want answered. If they don’t have the time to talk to you or don’t speak your language, you may want to find another doctor or hospital. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to them over the phone, you probably wont feel secure when you get to the hospital in person.Medical tourism is the rage for elective surgeries like plastic surgery. Many people have had procedures done for a fraction of what they would have paid at home, but there are just as many horror stories. Doing your homework in advance can save you a lifetime of suffering.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

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The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.

Skip The Lines – Bring The Amusement Park Right To Your Own Back Yard

There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta. From professional sports to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. In fact, Atlanta is proud to house some of the nations largest amusement attractions, including the ever popular Six Flags Over Georgia. Children (and adults) love the thrill and adrenaline rush of the large roller coasters. However, one thing most people don’t like about amusement parks is the long lines. By the time it’s all said and done, you can spend several hundred dollars for your family to have an afternoon of fun, and only get a few rides in. This year, instead of spending the day waiting in long lines for short rides, why not bring the fun right to your back yard? With today’s technology, you can literally do just that! One of the advantages of living in a large city like Atlanta is that we have large rental companies that can make your special event feel just like a trip to Six Flags… complete with a train and an ice cream cart!

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If you’re trying to replicate the amusement park feel, there are definitely specific items that you’ll want to be on the lookout for. As mentioned previously, ice cream carts and trackless trains help make the special event feel more like a day at Six Flags.In order to make your next special event more special, try some of the following tips:

Head online to do some research on the party rental company that has the selection your looking for. If you want an ice cream cart to complete your theme park adventure, look around until you find what you’re looking for.

Don’t settle for the first website you see. There are literally hundreds of inflatable party rental companies in Atlanta. Keep looking for a website that offers a wide variety of rental items that you’re looking for.

It’s better to rent everything from one company. Renting in bulk can help you save money. Larger companies will offer discounts for larger purchases of multiple units and rental items.

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Having a day of amusement park fun is cheaper and easier than ever before. By bringing the amusement park to your front door by using a party rental industry, you can include more people at a lower price. So next time you’re planning a special day, instead of spending tons of money for just a few people and braving the long lines of amusement parks, invite the whole neighborhood and bring the amusement park right to your own back yard!