Your brand is a customer’s perception about your business. It determines how they feel about the services and product that you offer. A consistent brand message over time will shape what clients and customers think about you and what you stand for. As a business owner, you need to be able to answer the following important question: why should customers care about you?
Every business owner has to think about the art of branding in order to build a stronger and more robust organization. This should incorporate the art of storytelling and the science of strategy in order to build a dynamic and memorable brand.
Relationships with Your Clients
In creating a brand, it is vital to remember that brand creation ultimately takes place in the mind of the consumer. Each individual consumer will create their own version of the brand based on his or her perception.
At the core of the entire process is building trust. The goal, both in the short-term and the long-term, is for customers to feel safe enough that they are confident in you and the products and services that you offer. Central to building that trust is demonstrating, in a clear and coherent fashion, what you are going to deliver and how you are going to deliver it.
Learning from Branding Gurus
Seth Godin wrote, “Brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” With this in mind, you must ask yourself what you are doing to successfully cultivate and promote your brand in the marketplace.
Marty Neumeier is considered by many to be the father of modern branding. Neumeier stated that branding is centered on managing relationships between a company and people over many channels.
Allie Weaver, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Allie Weaver Productions, noted that branding is, “The act of giving people a reason to care about your business and a place to belong.”
Author Bernadette Jiwa pointed out that great companies all have something in common. Great companies win by mattering. The people who build great companies know what they stand for, and then act on those beliefs in a consistent fashion. Think for a moment about two great companies, Apple and Nike, that have been highly successful in the utilization of modern branding.
Following Your Compass
Building a great brand starts with you. You must understand your vision and be able to answer the question, “Why Me?” Think about why your company exists and matters. How are you working towards keeping a consistent brand promise? In the end, your brand needs to be your compass. If you can understand why customers should choose your business, you’ll be well on your way to utilizing modern branding in a powerful and effective way.
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If you’re planning on a business agreement to buy or sell a business, you’ll want to know about term sheets. These non-binding agreements will help with progress for both parties. The information covered in the term sheet should include everything from pricing and terms to special considerations. You can expect it to be between one and five pages in length.
What is the Difference Between a Term Sheet and a Contract?
When a term sheet is created, it demonstrates that there is an agreement between the buyer and seller and a business transaction is possible. However, neither party is bound to this transaction. On the other hand, a contract is typically a legally binding agreement that would hold up in a court of law.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Term Sheet
While it can be beneficial that a term sheet is non-binding when buyers and sellers are exploring the terms of a deal, it’s also important to know that a term sheet can come with risks. Due to the fact that it covers many details about the potential deal, it can instigate either the buyer or seller pulling out of the deal if they are unsatisfied with the contents of the document.
On the positive side, a term sheet can serve to greatly expedite negotiations and help things progress faster. Further, it can save time by making sure that the conditions of the deal are understood and accepted before formal documents are drawn up. It can play a huge role in clarifying objectives and circumventing misunderstandings that could ultimately end a deal at a later stage.
Putting Term Sheets to Work on Your Behalf
One of your goals with your term sheet should be to create a situation that is beneficial for all parties. When a verbal agreement between a buyer and seller is put down on paper it can help a deal begin to take form and actualize in the near future. In the end, a term sheet can help a deal move along and ultimately be successful. It’s the perfect first step towards a completed deal.
If you have questions about how a term sheet fits into your overall plan to buy or sell a business, this is a question that can be addressed with your business broker, M&A advisor, or attorney.
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If you’re selling your business and things are looking positive with your buyer, you might be tempted to start resting easy. If you have a signed letter of intent, you might be even more tempted to think that things are pretty settled. However, the fact of the matter is that much can be uncovered during the due diligence process, and that is often when deals start to fall apart. Due diligence is an essential step that protects buyers, and sellers should be well-prepared to have things in good shape far in advance. Let’s take a closer look at some areas where a deal can potentially go awry.
Products and Equipment
When the sale involves a business that handles manufacturing, equipment is carefully evaluated during due diligence. Buyers will be thinking about any potential environmental issues that could affect the business. If you’re selling a business and have loose ends with your equipment or facility, this should be handled in advance if possible.
Buyers will also be looking at the various product lines and inventory. They will be considering how the sales are spread among the product lines. For example, if one product makes up the majority of sales, that can raise red flags in the mind of a buyer. They will also think about supplies and how likely they are to be stable once the business switches hands.
Buyers will want to look at breakdowns of customers so they can consider the company’s market share and also where the sales are coming from. Similarly, to only having one product, if a business only has one or two key buyers, that can be a source of concern for buyers.
When you are selling a business, your buyers will also be thinking about the assets like intellectual property. Will all trademarks, patents and copyrights be transferred during the sale? If not, it can be a big source of concern for buyers.
Buyers will also consider the state of the human resources department. Sellers should be aware that buyers will be typically looking for established staff members who are unlikely to leave. This is another area where sellers have the opportunity to prepare in advance to achieve optimal results.
Your prospective buyer will want to carefully examine accounts receivable. So if you have bad debt, you might want to sort out these kinds of issues before the due diligence phase. They will also want to have a firm understanding of everything that is included in the sale. Oftentimes during due diligence, a buyer finds out that equipment or patents are not included with the sale, and it quickly derails the deal.
If you’re selling a business, you’ll want to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and consider what you would want to see if you were buying a business. Anything that you can do in advance to improve your workforce, equipment, premises, and financial records is highly recommended. The goal is to have a smooth transition for the buyer, and anything that could stand in the way of that taking place should be analyzed and improved if possible. When you work with a business broker or M&A advisor to sell your business, you will have an expert in your corner to help sort out the details.
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Selling your business is typically quite an involved process that takes a series of months. Sellers typically experience a variety of ups and downs during that time. This is true even in the case of the most successful deals. That’s why you will want to keep your eyes open during the process so that you will be equipped to vet your potential buyers.
This article will take a look at various aspects of the sales transaction that could be concerning and could mean that a deal is less likely to be successful. It’s a good idea to identify these types of situations so you’ll be better prepared to notice them if they were to occur. After all, the last thing you’ll want to do is waste your time and energy dealing with a prospective buyer that is not a good candidate for buying your business.
Signs of Lack of Interest
There are countless instances when sellers have been approached by prospective buyers, but the parties controlling the purchase are never involved. If a company expresses interest in your business, but the President or CEO seems to be too busy to talk to you, it more than likely means that there is something off about the situation. If communication starts to fizzle out during the process, it very well could also mean that your buyer is not truly interested.
What if you’re dealing with an individual buyer? If an individual says that he or she is interested in buying your business, but has no experience in your industry and no history of owning businesses in the past, this can be a red flag. Even if this buyer does have serious intentions, he or she may become nervous and start to feel overwhelmed as things progress with your deal. In the early stages when you are being approached by potential buyers it is a good idea to not get too wrapped up in buyers that do not appear to be completely legitimate.
There are situations where caution should be warranted in the later stages of a deal as well. For example, in some instances, sellers have not been allowed to see the buyer’s financial statements. Clearly, that could mean that the buyer doesn’t have the resources actually necessary to proceed.
When you work with a business broker or M&A advisor, you will find that you have built in protection from buyers that are not the right fit. Most brokerage professionals have seen it all and tend to be able to sense when something is too good to be true, or just simply not quite right. Also, when challenges do occur, having a third party involved can go a long way in effectively getting things back on track.
The post When Should Sellers Proceed with Caution? appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.
There is no underestimating the importance of negotiation when you are buying or selling a business. Let’s take a look at some of the most often used strategies and our recommendations.
The Direct Approach
One approach in negotiations is what we often refer to as the “take it or leave it” strategy. In this scenario, the buyer makes an offer, and the seller then counters that offer. There is little negotiation work necessary, as both parties are direct and simple about the numbers and terms they propose. The drawback to this approach, however, is that when it doesn’t work, there is little to no recourse. When this “direct approach” offer isn’t accepted by one of the parties, there is little opportunity for flexibility on either side. Therefore, the direct approach can be somewhat of a risk.
Focusing on Influential Details
There are typically certain aspects of a deal where a buyer or seller is unwilling to compromise. Sometimes this aspect isn’t even financial in nature. It could be anything from the desire to move the business to a new site, to employment of a friend or relative. Once the negotiations embrace and include these non-negotiables, it can help expedite a successful deal.
Splitting the Difference
A common approach that is seen when buying or selling businesses is that one side offers to split the difference. Unlike the direct approach, there is a good deal of flexibility here. When one party shows that they are open to split the difference, it is often seen as a way to keep negotiations going. Another point in favor of this approach is that communication continues. Obviously when one or both sides stop talking, the deal has not been successful.
Third Party Involvement
When it comes to finding solutions and resolutions, having a third party involved is tremendously beneficial. When you bring in a business broker or M&A advisor, that individual can then help facilitate the negotiated solutions. This third party is seen as skilled, yet also more of an impartial party. Business brokers and M&A advisors also have many years of experience encouraging buyers and sellers to understand and work with one another.
Your brokerage professional can help both parties agree to a fair price while handling the aspects of all the small details involved in buying and selling businesses. Negotiations almost always benefit from having a professional involved, as they bring a different, and much needed, perspective to the table.