Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 311

PROMOTION

sell the business but structure a deal whereby
you receive shares in the new company, perhaps
also undertaking an operational role.

1

Calculate your
magic number

This is the sum of money you would like to
realise from the sale of your business. If you
have shareholders, they will also need to
calculate this. This may seem a speedy task
(most business owners think in multiples of £1m)
but depending on your circumstances,
it can take longer than you think.

2

Build a great team

Many business owners believe that if the
business is making money, it will sell. But this isn't
necessarily the case. One of the main reasons for
this is because the value of the business - the
skills required to run it - reside with the current
owner and can't be easily transferred. If this is
true in your case, even if you do find a buyer you
may find they insist on you staying. Do you really
want a boss?
At an EvolutionCBS Masterclass, a business
owner made a very valid point: "We've grown the
skills because we've had to, but we never had
the time to pass those skills down the line".
When growing to exit, part of your plan
must include a managed transition. Appoint
your successor early and mentor them to step
up while you step back. Also bear in mind
that the person who acquires your business
may already be running something else. They
may not have anyone in their organisation
with the skills to run it. In our experience,
acquirers usually expect the current owners

W H Y I T 'S W O R T H I T

Discover how two companies grew their businesses for a successful exit
One EvolutionCBS client owned what
could have been a fairly standard
distribution business, but knew that
achieving the exit value they wanted
would require more than a standard
distribution model.
They created a membership society,
investing in technology to deliver a
wide range of live streamed content,
such as demonstrations, workshops and
seminars. That society became its main
channel to market, driving revenue and
profit and their investment in technology

futureproofed the society for years to
come. They achieved a figure considerably
in excess of their magic number.
Another recent EvolutionCBS client
had a clear plan to exit the business
once it had reached an enterprise value
of £20m. That clear vision ensured they
had a cohesive strategy, which in turn
drove their decision making. There was
no owner reliance, and the business
had a diverse client base, solid financial
performance and realistic forecasts. They
achieved a deal value exceeding £27m.

Part of your plan must
include a managed
transition - appoint
your successor and
mentor them
to at least have a second-in-command and a
senior team who can take over.

3

Build a diverse client base

4

Always keep the end
game in mind

We often meet business owners who
have a thriving business, good revenues, good
profits and stable cost base, but the majority
of sales are to one or two large clients. Having
a blue-chip client base is both a blessing and
a curse: it's a great revenue opportunity but
often puts pressure on profit margins. There
are numerous stories of small suppliers being
squeezed by larger companies on whom they've
become revenue-dependent and consequently
unable to generate sufficient profit to grow.
One business we came across had a £5m
turnover firm but 80% of its revenues came
from one client, representing a huge risk to
potential buyers.

This doesn't just apply to you as the owner. The
end game will ensure that the driving forces in
the business - that's you, your shareholders and
your senior team - are all focused on the same
goals. It should drive your business planning,
performance measurement and decision making
towards achieving your ultimate goal.
Undoubtedly this will present both
opportunities and threats, but it will also give
you time to take the actions that will benefit
both the business and the shareholders when
the time comes to exit.

F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N
Are you ready to start your
growth-to-exit planning?
For a free online valuation, visit
www.evolutioncbs.co.uk/free-valuation


http://www.evolutioncbs.co.uk/free-valuation

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