I recently talked to a man who wants to sell his roofing business within the next five years. As we talked about the things that a prospective buyer would want to see and know before making a purchase decision, it became clear he was missing some key profit earning opportunities, right NOW!
How many of us are living in a home that we want to remodel? You know, update the kitchen and master bath; add that back deck for parties and barbeques? Then, 10 years go by, and we’re ready to sell. So we hustle put it into tip-top shape to get top dollar.
We can do a last-minute remodel with a house and reap the benefits, but it can be too late to do that with a business.
Are there great valued-added ideas we’ve just not implemented? Are there improvements we’ve been meaning to make to our customer service, to our promotions, to how we generate referrals?
So, let’s do a walk-through and see what shows up on our business punch list!
- Online Presence – We live in a “search economy.” Your online presence is the new store front. If someone were looking for a service or product like yours, do you show up in the Google search engine? Is your site mobile friendly? Google, as of April this year, is giving preferential ranking treatment to those sites that are “optimized” for mobile. Make your site mobile-friendly. More than 64% of Americans own a smart phone, and that is what they use to search and engage. I’d rather buy a business that was using the latest technology and already had a known and established presence on the internet. I am amazed at the number of businesses who still do not have an online presence.
- Tracking New Business Contacts – Verizon, in conjunction with Small Business Trends, conducted a survey of Philadelphia small business owners in May of 2014. Guess what, 85% said new business comes from referrals (word-of-mouth). Internet searches (59%) came in second (hey, 59% is still huge). Are you tracking where new business comes from? Even if you don’t take all the business that comes to you, tracking what you DO generate is critical data – not only for a prospective buyer, but for you. Tracking metrics lets you know where to spend your valuable promotional dollars and where to spend your limited time.
- Raving Fans & Referrals – So, can we name at least 5-10 raving fans; those customers that are just wildly happy with you? Chances are there are many more than you can name. When you find them, thank them! And nudge them for a referral. You can do this in a pretty friendly and non-salesy way. “Glad you’re happy. Feel free to refer any colleagues to us – we’ll take good care of them.” If we can show a prospective buyer how much referral and/or repeat business we’ve secured, it demonstrates the strength of our brand. And a strong brand is worth money!
If we run our business like we’re going to sell it for top dollar, we stand an excellent chance of being more profitable today! So, show up online, know where your business is coming from, and leverage those raving fans!