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Hold up our mirror to your business, as we share fresh Bank Your Moment® insights

Doing so can help you protect and build company value

“People only see what they are prepared to see.” Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with this quote that remains relevant to this day. It’s relevant as it relates to emerging technologies that are slowly or quickly going to change your industry.

Our job as owners and CEO’s is to ensure we take steps to protect and build the net worth of our business. Doing this in today’s environment is as challenging as ever because of the onslaught of emerging and evolving technologies that are changing how we operate and what our customers desire. We must ensure that we are monitoring these technologies and that we are willing to change our paradigms if necessary. Think about businesses like Borders, Toys R Us, Marriott, Yellow Cab and many others that have been disrupted by changing technologies. These companies had plenty of smart people, subject matter experts in their industries and access to talent and to money and yet each of them saw their value negatively impacted by competitors that took advantage of new technologies and changing customers behaviors. Their paradigms were wrong and held them back from seeing what was happening in their industry. Ask yourself, is it possible that my paradigms are going to hold me and my business back from seeing what’s happening with emerging technologies and the impact they are having on our customers? If your answer is even slightly yes, then it’s time to rethink your paradigms.

If you believe the paradigms embraced by you and your team are possibly getting stale and could be soon outdated, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our dialog with our customers and vendors fresh or has it become stale? Are we asking our customers and suppliers new questions to get their perspective on what technologies they see coming at our industry?
  • Where are our customers and suppliers investing in new technologies that we should be aware of?
  • Are we participating in new industry events and connecting with new industry information sources or are we only connected with older ones that may be getting stale and less cutting edge?
  • Are we meeting with new people or are we just staying within our same network and not hearing or learning anything new?
  • Have we refreshed our advisors to get new insights?

The list could keep going here but you get the gist. Make sure your personal and professional paradigms aren’t going to put your business valuation at risk. Be willing to challenge and change your paradigms if need be. The world, and specifically technologies, are evolving rapidly and you want your paradigms to add value, not detract from the net worth of your business.

The difference in valuation can be significant at time of exit

In our work, we regularly come across small to mid-sized companies that are ideal for supporting the life style of the owner, but not ideal for attracting interest from a third party acquirer.

The difference can be found by asking yourself questions like these:

  • How reliant is the ongoing growth and success of my business on me personally?
    • If the answer is a lot, you might have a life style business
  • Do I withdraw through payroll or distributions the majority of the money my company makes or do I continue to invest in my business and leave sufficient levels of working capital in the company to enable it to grow?
    • If the answer is yes, you might have a life style business
  • Does my company have good financial controls and sound planning disciplines in place that help us as we scale up the business?
    • If the answer is no, you might have a life style business
  • Am I building a company that can continue to scale up even in the hands of a new owner?
    • If the answer is no, you might have a life style business

A life style business can be wonderful in helping a private owner live the life they want. No one is going to begrudge that. But, if the desire is one day to attract a third party to come in and pay a premium price to take your business over, then you can’t present them a life style business. Reason is they will have to invest to move it beyond being a life style company and associated with this comes risk and acquirers don’t like risk.

Talk with your advisors, give us a call (949.874.0787) if you’re wondering if you might have a life style company and whether it could impede you from achieving a sale one day to a third party. Use time as a friend to evolve your business to one that will attract the interest of multiple acquirers and get yourself on the path to a euphoric future exit event.

The right coffee chat can put your company on the right track

A comment we often hear from sellers of companies is they wish they could turn back time and if they could, they would have done things differently in terms of preparing their business for a successful exit. This is most often because when the acquirer came in, the seller heard them asking for things that the seller was not prepared to impress them with. This can and should be avoided to help you reach your euphoric exit outcome.

In my prior life as a CEO of manufacturing and service businesses, I developed a process I refer to as “Coffee Chats”. A coffee chat is simply identifying the right target for a potential future acquirer, developing effective messaging to contact them and conducting an information gathering conversation with them that enables you to learn what the top value drivers are for a company like yours in their eyes. Having a few coffee chats with a cross section of future potential acquirers will give you an enormous amount of helpful information that you can use in building your business.

Coffee chats can help you learn what an acquirer will focus on when they place a valuation on your business. Every industry is different in terms of what the top value drivers are in the eyes of an acquirer. Is it specific to your financial results, is it your customer access and mix, is it your sales pipeline of future growth opportunities, is it your intellectual property and stickiness with your customers or is it your team? Or are there other things they will want to see in order to be willing to place an attractive valuation on your business. Acquirers in every industry have the top 5 value drivers they look for when considering an acquisition and those for your business shouldn’t be a mystery.

Don’t be one of those sellers that one day has regrets and is less than euphoric with the valuation you receive from an acquirer. Start at least 2 years prior to considering an exit by setting up some coffee chats. They could ultimately be the best cups of coffee you’ll ever have and will guide you on your way to a future euphoric exit. Contact us today if you want to know how to conduct coffee chats for your company.

This triangle is an important step in your company value creation

In working with business owners, we commonly find they have a future hope and desire to one day sell their company for a premium, but today are lacking the bridge or game plan as to what specific steps they need to take in order to get there. At Yosemite Associates, we have a multi-step campaign to guide them on this journey and one of the early discussion points is their “ownership decision triangle”.

How Much. When. Investment Appetite.

These are the 3 points of your personal triangle on your journey to a future, euphoric exit outcome

How Much – a mistake often made is not having a target in mind in terms of how much money you want to derive one day from selling your company. Knowing this will better enable you to determine how audacious your strategy needs to be to get you there as you think about where you are today and how large a gap you have for where you want to be. Knowing this will also help you determine your second point of the triangle, the When.

When – once you have an idea of how much you want to receive one day for your business, an equally important question is “when” you’d like to experience the exit. This goes hand in hand with how much because if the amount you want to get is large and is significantly more than your business is worth today, the time frame for exiting will have to reflect how long it might take to achieve your target valuation range.

Investment Appetite – you may very well answer the first two points of the ownership triangle but this third one is equally critical. What’s your appetite for investing money, personal time and personal energy in to your ongoing journey. Having a high valuation in mind that you want to achieve one day and having a desired time frame must also align with your personal appetite for what will be needed. If your ultimate target exit valuation is large and will require you to continue investing much of your time and energy and even meaningful investment dollars, do you have the appetite for this?

If a future euphoric exit event is on your mind, give detailed thought to your ownership decision triangle. Doing so will facilitate very healthy thinking and dialog for yourself and perhaps your partners, spouse and/or key employees. If you want help thinking through your ownership decision triangle, contact us today and we can offer helpful, actionable insights on your journey to building your company future valuation.

Less than crisp messaging can hurt your company valuation

COVID, or Corona-geddon as we refer to it, is causing many private company owners to rethink how long they want to hold on to their business. Prior to COVID, many of these owners would have said they don’t see selling for many years. But as we continue to navigate this pandemic, it’s definitely making more owners consider whether they have the energy and passion to keep going.

For those wondering if they should sell, there are many factors to take into consideration. Among the most important is messaging. Messaging related to why you are selling.

You would be amazed the number of times the owner of a private business is not crisp in explaining this and it raises red flags for the potential acquirer. Red flags to an acquirer mean risk and when acquirers smell risk in a possible acquisition, they either back away or they lower the offer valuation to reflect the risk they might be taking on.

Your reason for selling must be crisp and make sense to them to avoid making the potential acquirer wonder what is truly going on inside your company that now is the time you want to exit. Are you selling because you know you’ve reached a performance peak or because meaningful investments are needed or your organization will soon have changes happening related to your key talent, etc, etc. Your reason for wanting to exit must make it clear it’s not about the future potential for the business but about something specific in your life, such as it’s time to enjoy your family more. The potential acquirer will want to clearly understand and believe your reason for wanting to sell and that it has nothing to do with the continued opportunities for the business. They need to have confidence that your company has a bright future and they also need to feel confident that your company can continue on successfully without your involvement.

There is much to consider when you begin wondering if it’s time to sell your business. Start by asking yourself the reason why. Talk with your trusted advisors or even call us for a phone chat to get you on the right foot in this regard. Starting off on the right foot with a possible sale by getting your messaging crisp and effective will help to better position you for a potential euphoric exit event.

New questions can lead to building new company value

If you told your customers you were closing your doors, no longer accepting business, how long would it take them to replace your product or service?

Earlier in my career at Black & Decker, we regularly had dialog around this question and it was referred to as our “close the door” metric. If we told our customers we were immediately out of business, how many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or even years would they feel the pain of our disappearance?

The longer the customer would feel the angst of you closing your doors, the “stickier” you are with them. Sticky means how attached, glued, are they to your product or service. If your product or service is so unique (the product or service itself and/or how you produce or deliver it), your customer appreciates it and respects it so much that they would find it difficult, if not impossible to replace you. When you are sticky with your customers you have higher company value, or worth, because you have the much greater likelihood of predictable future revenues.

Sit with the key leaders of your team and ask this question for January and see what interesting, quality dialog it facilitates. You could very well find it generates ideas for how you can strengthen your stickiness with your existing and new customers.

Doing So Can Build and Protect Company Value

We often find that business owners and CEO’s aren’t leveraging their customer, financial and operational data their company’s possess and it’s holding back their ability to build new company value, or worth as we refer to it. This is a perfect time of year to invest time thinking about what data you and your team are reviewing to help you with new strategic insights about your business and to think about how you are looking at the data.

First ask yourself, what strategic questions you have about your business and have you looked to see if you already have, or could get, from your company data the information needed to answer them? Questions like:

  • What is my customer tiering and which tier of customer is growing, flat or declining?
  • What percentage of my customers buy 2 or more products or services from my company?
  • Is there a geographic or demographic element to my business that has changed over time?
  • Are we measuring Customer Experience effectively (ie: on time performance to their requirements, credits/returns, customer attrition, response time to queries, etc, etc)?
  • Are we measuring our efficiency and productivity in how we enter orders, process invoices, process and schedule orders for fulfillment, make/deliver our products and services – are we doing these more efficiently year over year?

Next question to ask yourself is “how” is my team looking at the data and has this become stale? Ask these additional questions:

  • When we review our performance data (financial or non-financial metrics), do we look at our performance in relation to updated targets/goals and prior period results so we compare to something?
  • Are we looking at a long enough period to see trends in our performance? Are we looking at 12 month, 24 or even 36 month trends in performance of key metrics or are we looking at more narrow time frames which may not be facilitating insightful dialog?
  • Are we graphing performance of key metrics, which will more effectively help us visually see and discuss performance trends, or are we looking at one dimensional spreadsheets and could be missing strategic insights that could jump out from graphical representations?

Our goal as executives is to build long term worth in our business. Rethink whether you are asking the right strategic questions about your business. Rethink the data you are capturing and leveraging within your business. Rethink how your team is viewing and discussing the data. All of these will add up to new insights that could help you avoid dangerous comfort zones and help build incremental company worth.


Fresh team dialog can help build your company value

I learned first-hand in my leadership career that whenever I introduced certain planning templates in to my team discussions, they helped facilitate enabling new dialog. It’s one thing for you as the leader to ask thought provoking questions of your team, it’s another to leverage a visual template that helps engage your team in fresh new dialog that has them also contributing to asking great new questions.

In our strategic planning process, we have several planning templates we use that engages a team in fresh dialog. And that dialog every time leads to ideas that help protect and build the value, or worth, of the business. Two of my personal favorite strategic thinking templates are the Revenue & Margin Walk and the Product/Service Performance Graphic. If you’re interested in seeing if they can help you enable great new dialog with your team and enable the creation of new company worth within your business, check them out HERE.

And if you have any questions about how to best utilize these, just let us know and we’re happy to have a complimentary call with you.

Refresh the dialog you’re having with your team by introducing enabling planning templates….and start enabling greater company worth creation for your business.

Could be the difference between euphoria and disappointment

The most common phrase we hear from business owners is, “we’ll sell when we’re ready to sell”. On the surface, this statement is clear and it makes great sense. But, when you are ready and if the market of quality acquirers is not, then achieving your euphoric exit outcome that you always dreamed of is most likely unachievable.

We know retired business owners that share with us they missed their optimal window for exiting their business. Upon reflection, they realize they didn’t give much thought over the years to this dynamic. They assumed that buyers would always be available whenever they decided to sell. They learned the hard way that yes, perhaps there are always acquirers, but not necessarily ones with the aggressive appetite for paying premium valuations at the time they wanted it. These ex-owners share that they wished they had maintained a better awareness of the M&A cycles and managed their business to be ready to exit when the acquirer appetite was at a premium.

Our role in working with private business owners is taking away their uncertainty on how to monitor the cycle within their industry. Monitoring the M&A activity within your industry (globally, nationally and locally) is a good starting place and the internet offers a variety of ways of doing this. A second way is periodically talking with investment bankers and brokers in your industry for their high value insights. These are just two of the many steps we guide owners through in building their awareness.

The bottom line is this. Of course you have the right to own and run your business for as long as you would like. But, if exiting to a third party is a likely outcome for delivering the reward you’ve always dreamed of, then realize it’s optimized most often when quality acquirers are actively buying and this occurs in cycles. Lead your business in a way that allows you to enjoy it but also be ready if the right party knocks on your door with a check book that they are ready to put to use with a level of valuation that you’ve dreamed of. Use time as your friend to continue building the worth of your company but parallel path, monitor your market to know when your exit window might be ideal.

Doing so can build company value

Ask yourself these questions….is my team getting strategic insights from the various customer experience metrics we track….and are we tracking the right ones?

Most businesses have KPI’s (key performance indicators) but these often become stale in two ways. First, you’re no longer conducting effective reviews of your customer experience metrics. Second, the customer experience KPI’s you are tracking don’t get refreshed periodically to raise the performance bar for you and your team to challenge looking for ways to drive improvements. Here are some discussions to have with your team that could generate fresh, new dialog:

  • Discuss your company KPI’s with key managers to determine if you’re monitoring the right ones and are the individual targets the right ones? Some to consider: On time delivery of your product or service, Response time to Queries, Response time to Quotes, Quality Ratings, Returns/Credits. And at my companies, we looked at these not only for our consolidated customer base, but also by each of our top customers. We found there were times when our consolidated metrics were good but for a specific customer they were not. This helped us avoid being surprised by losing a good customer.
  • Do your team members, that can impact any of your KPI’s, know what targets you’ve set so they know what they are responsible for supporting?
  • Is your presentation of the KPI’s effective in terms of showing you any trends? Many times, leadership teams will monitor a KPI for the current period but what is that period being compared to? Develop trend lines for key metrics so you can see how they compare to prior periods as well as to the target you’re striving to achieve. Your metrics will tell a more strategic message when you view them over time versus just for a single period.
  • Discuss whether employee incentive plans are aligned with any key metrics you’re looking to improve. Too often employee or team incentive plans aren’t directly aligned with key metrics which is a missed opportunity. Incentive plans are designed to reward the right behaviors and deliver results, ensure those results are aligned with KPI’s you’re wanting to improve.

We could go on and on here, but you get the idea. Don’t let your customer experience KPI’s and/or your team get stale regarding how you’re managing this important area of your business. Refresh your process and in so doing, you could be building new company worth.

Quick check list for starting the new year

As you think about the new year and the uncertainty still remaining, there are some effective steps every company owner and CEO should be taking in January to help build your company valuation. Here is a brief check list for actions to consider:

  • Finalize your financial budget and include ensuring key people on your team are aware of the financial goals and your expectations for their roles in supporting these targets.
  • Finalize your non-financial key metrics you want your team focused on. These might include on time delivery/performance of your product/service, customer attrition, rework/scrap, health/safety, employee attrition, etc. Ensure key managers are updated on the targets and discuss how their role and focus can support achieving them.
  • Review any incentive/bonus plans you have in place for key people or your broader team. Ensure the incentive plans are updated for the new year and linked to your desired financial and non-financial metrics. Meet with your team to ensure they understand how the incentive plan is to align with their role and your performance expectations.
  • Establish your process in the new year for how you and your team will review your strategic plan to monitor progress. Given how dynamic the market is, you have to be very nimble in monitoring your strategic plan activity to be able to quickly identify any adjustment needs that may arise.
  • Leverage your data, especially the last 6 months. Every company, no matter the size, can leverage their financial and customer purchasing data. You want to identify trends that have been emerging and given how dynamic the market is with COVID, the most telling trends from your data may be from more recent financial and customer data versus longer term historical data.
  • Ensure your sales team is asking fresh questions of customers to help you stay current in terms of what’s happening outside your four walls. Too often our sales teams get stale in their customer dialog and stale means they aren’t learning anything new of strategic value. Your sales team is your front line for keeping you abreast of changing dynamics in the market, keep their dialog fresh. Consider doing the same with your supply chain people as many of your suppliers may also have helpful strategic insights.
  • Assuming you put strong cash flow management steps in place in 2020, ensure you are maintaining this discipline and continuing to build upon it.

Start the new year with fresh thinking. Following this simple check list could enable you on your way to building the value, or worth, of your business.

Know the difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning

For many business owners and CEO’s, strategic planning is a stale process. And as with anything stale, nothing good comes from it.

As we enter a new year, freshen your approach to increase the value, or worth, of your business. Think about these 4 steps in your new campaign to elevate the strategy for your business:

  • Thinking
  • Planning
  • Modeling
  • Execution

The problem for many with strategic planning is it's really just a process by which they jump to setting updated financial targets, followed by setting supporting actions to deliver on those targets. Their mindset is already constrained by working within a box. The potential danger of this approach is it contains an underlying assumption. And that assumption is you have refreshed your strategic thinking and just as important, conducted strategic thinking about the market around you and where it is going.

We recommend a strategic development campaign that allows for fresh, new thinking about your business and market and doing so in an organized fashion that allows you to build upon new thinking and new findings. You don’t want a helter-skelter strategy development approach that could lead to some good thinking, but ultimately not being able to pull it together in an actionable plan.

1. Thinking – this essential first step allows you to step outside of your 4 walls and ask new questions about your business and the market around you. The best strategic thinking starts with asking great new questions.

2. Planning – this step allows you to capture your company starting point and determine what’s working for you and what’s working against you in building your company value.

3. Modeling – as a result of your Thinking and Planning, this step enables you to begin building models and even budgets to help you project what tangible results your business will realize from your new thinking.

4. Execution – this essential step is building a bridge between your plan and your team to ensure effective execution. The best of strategies don’t go anywhere without the right engagement from your team.

Let the new year be your fresh start on strategy development for your business. Don’t let old paradigms around strategic planning hold you back from creating new business worth through asking new questions and generating fresh new thinking.

Doing so can protect & build your company value

In a post earlier this year, we talked about the power of capturing your learnings from navigating COVID because when the next crisis hits your company, and there will be one, ensure you’re able to leverage the learnings of 2020.

Here is the link to the post which contains the steps you should take now at year end. (Capture Your COVID Learnings)

Reward focus and results that link to creating new value

As you think about your strategic plan for the year ahead, ensure you are also planning for your employee compensation plans to reward alignment with your business strategy. I often ask business owners and CEO’s if they offer bonus plans for their employees and the answer is often yes. But the follow up question, are those bonus plans aligned well with what you’re looking to achieve in your strategic plan…. and unfortunately the answer isn’t a resounding yes.

Think about your employee bonus plans just as you would any other investment in your business. When investing in developing a new product or service, in a new piece of equipment or a new business system, any of these would drive effective planning internally at your business to ensure you will project getting a great return. Apply this same thinking to your employee bonus plans.

Look at your strategic plan and ask yourself, do our employee incentive plans ensure that our team will be aligned with and rewarded for focusing on and delivering on our targeted deliverables? If yes, then you’re on track for potentially getting a great return on your bonus plan investment and building your company value, or net worth. But if not, rethink your bonus plan soon so you get the benefit of a full year of focus by your team in support of your strategy and have the confidence that you’re investing in creating new value within your business.

Think T.O.P.S. to join the elite group of business owners & CEO's

You have a lot on your mind and on your plate in terms of how you should build the future value of your business. What keeps most owners and CEO's from achieving the pinnacle of professional success is the uncertainty of exactly what steps to take in order to do so. Today, we share the formula with you to help you on your journey of building company value, or worth as we refer to it, and getting you the confidence that you're on your way with the right plan. (Read Article - Achieving Your Euphoric Business Exit)

Best career advice I ever received

Early in my career at Black & Decker, a boss one day pulled me aside to give me advice.  She told me that to succeed as a business executive, 3 competencies needed to be developed.

  • Learn to THINK strategically
  • Learn to PLAN & execute strategically
  • Learn to LEAD your team doing both

As she added more color, her comment was I would come across executives in my career that might be good at one or two of these, but seldom all 3. And to build the long term value, or worth, of a business an executive needs to posses each.

Thinking strategically means being able to differentiate what is tactical and what is truly strategic for your business. Thinking strategic means being able to look out longer term and it means being able to take seemingly disparate data points and seeing linkages that could have strategic benefit to your business.

Learning to plan and execute strategically means being able to bridge your strategic thinking to action. Taking great strategic thinking and being able to move it to an actionable strategic plan is a powerful combination.

Learning to lead your team in both strategic thinking and strategic plan development and execution is what separates the great leaders from the good ones. Unless you can engage your team to effectively participate in thinking and planning strategically, the value building of your business could be limited.

As we approach a new year and think about how we can strengthen as business executives, think about these 3 critical competencies. If already possessed, what steps can you take to coach others on your team to develop these competencies? And if you see a personal gap, set a plan in the new year to help you develop further. Having these 3 competencies constantly front of mind will help accelerate the journey of building great worth in your company.

Innovative exit readiness assessment tool available now for business leaders

If you're a business owner or CEO thinking about whether your company might be ready to command a successful exit, Greenpoint is for you.

Yosemite Associates is pleased to launch this invaluable online assessment tool to help business leaders identify whether their company is ready to command an optimal exit valuation from a third party. Use time as your friend today in preparing your business for a future euphoric exit. Let our assessment tool guide you through a series of categories and statements to identify where your company is ready to support a euphoric exit outcome and where you have priorities and opportunities for improvement prior to considering an exit! (find your Greenpoint now)

Knowing the difference will build your company value

Ask yourself these two questions about your organization’s strategic thinking and planning – Does our strategic plan identify the tangible targets we are striving to achieve at a future period with our organization? Does our plan also identify specifically how we will deliver on these targets?

You want the answer to both these questions to be a resounding YES.

Too often what I see in helping business owners and CEO’s with their strategic planning is their plans are rich in the “what” they want to accomplish but very light in regards to “how” their team will actually deliver on their desired targets. This often leads to frustration as the business owner and leadership team doesn’t see the company achieving their desired targeted deliverables.

As an example, a leadership team may identify deliverables they want to achieve in their strategic plan. Examples of these could be they want to grow revenue by 10%, improve gross margin by 2 basis points and launch 2 new products/services in the period ahead. These are examples of your “what”. But the question you want to equally be able to answer for yourself and your team is what specific steps you need to take in order to move your organization toward delivering these targets. These are your “how”. Absent the how, your what is exposed to possibly having to rely on luck and chance to achieve them.

As you think about having a strategic plan that builds the long-term value, or worth, of your company, ensure your planning has the critical blend of your what and your how. One without the other may be hurting worth creation in your business. Look to start the new year with an updated plan that ensures this effective blend is in place and build the worth of your business.

Knowing the difference will greatly enable your company valuation

We often hear business owners and CEO’s talk about how busy their teams are. Certainly, there are many reasons for this, some good, some not so good.  The question that should come to mind is, does your team know the difference between motion and progress?

Motion is people doing lots of things. Progress is people doing the right things that are enabling your business to hit desired performance targets. Here are some great questions you should ask yourself and your team to ensure you’re not confusing motion for progress:

  • Do we have KPI’s in place that we monitor to determine whether our efforts are leading to desired results?
  • Do we achieve the goals we set? If not, why not as you will clearly want to understand the underlying issues that need to be addressed.
  • When is the last time you reviewed key processes in your business to determine which ones are still effective and efficient and which might be outdated? With my businesses over the years, we would look at labor hours across all functional areas to see where the majority were being applied and ask ourselves if those hours were linked to our strategy and linked to driving progress? We would often find an outdated process that was consuming non-value added human resources and had to be redesigned.
  • Are your reward systems for employees based on motion or progress? In looking at any incentive plans, do they reward progress or do you just reward people working hard regardless of outcome?
  • As you observe your facility (office and/or production areas), do you see a lot of people walking around or do you see people focused? I say to business owners and CEO’s, imagine yourself tearing back the roof of your facility and just observing the movement of your people. Does it look like the movement is related to progress and results you desire or does it appear to be a lot of non-value added movement?

Bottom line is this. Businesses that one day look to sell will command a far greater exit valuation by having activities and efforts of their team linked to driving progress. No one will reward motion, only progress.

Evaluating company performance effectively can help build future value

In working with a client this week on their 2021 strategic plan, we first reviewed 2020 YTD financial and non-financial metrics to see what learnings we could get from them. The performance, despite COVID impact, was quite solid. My question to the team was, “did you outperform your competition or did all ships rise as the tide of your industry sector rose?”

This particular company serves a market sector that has been enabled by COVID and they’ve experienced nice growth. As the team discussed this, and subsequently did some market homework, they determined that key competitors have actually out performed them.  Despite this company having a good YTD performance, they have reason for concern!

Early in my career a boss said to me, “Larry, don’t compare your business to itself. Compare it to peers and near peer companies as that will tell you more about how your business is truly performing”.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn the power of his advice. As a business owner/CEO, ask yourself how your company performance compares to others serving in your market. Here are some steps you can take to find out how other businesses, similar to yours, might be doing as comparison:

  • Reach out to any directors or advisors you work with and ask for their insights. These individuals normally work with a wide range of businesses and could give you comparative insights.
  • Speak with your CPA as they too may know companies that have similarities to your own and could share performance benchmark information.
  • Introduce your company to an investment banker that serves in your market sector. These individuals are very knowledgeable about like businesses to yours and could offer insights. These professionals enjoy meeting business owners as they want to build longer term relationships with owners in the event they can assist one day with an exit event.
  • Turn to your industry association and see what benchmark data they can provide.

Bottom line is this. Don’t assume your company performance is solid versus other players in your market. Don’t just compare your company performance to itself. Knowing how your company stacks up could identify opportunities for improvement and help build the long-term valuation of your company.

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Use Greenpoint Testing to Achieve Your Desired Exit Valuation

It only takes 106 questions, scanning 10 essential business functions, to stress test your readiness for a successful exit.

However, these questions require thoughtful commitment to achieve your desired exit valuation.

During this up to hour-long online testing, you'll see questions such as the following.

Sample Question 02

After internalizing each question, select among three answer options – Agree, Unsure and Don’t Agree – choosing the answer which best describes you and your business.

Then, complete the Greenpoint questionnaire to unlock your personalized report, which will reveal any gaps in your planning, pointing to the action steps needed to maximize your desired exit valuation.

Format: Digital

Delivery method: Email

Report included: Your Greenpoint results

Stethoscope Frees You to Work On Your Business, Beyond In It

120 questions, scanning 10 essential business functions, free you to work ON your business, rather than solely IN your business.

With each question requiring thoughtful commitment to identify opportunities to further your success.

During this up to hour-long digital Q&A, you'll see questions such as the following:

Sample Question 02

After internalizing each question, select among three answer options – Agree, Unsure and Don’t Agree – choosing the answer which best describes you and your business.

Complete the Stethoscope questionnaire to unlock your personalized report, which will expose gaps [if any] in your planning, and tips for future growth, resulting in action steps needed to maximize your thinking as a business leader.

Format: Digital

Delivery method: Email

Report included: Your Stethoscope results

Be Ready for The Probe of Due Diligence

109 questions, scanning 10 essential due diligence disciplines, to prepare for a roadblock free Probe of your business in anticipation of sale.

And to potentially increase the value of your business by your professional transparency.

With each question requiring thoughtful commitment to identify opportunities to further your success.

During this up to hour-long digital Q&A, you'll see questions such as the following:

Sample Question 02

After internalizing each question, select among three answer options – Agree, Unsure and Don’t Agree – choosing the answer which best describes you and your business.

Complete the Probe Diagnostic Tool questionnaire to unlock your personalized report, which will expose gaps [if any] in your planning for a due diligence Probe, resulting in action steps needed to maximize your readiness when diligence is due.

Format: Digital

Delivery method: Email

Report included: Your Probe results