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

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.

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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.

Doing so can help you build your company value

For some business owners and CEO’s, Corona-geddon impacted 2020 in a painful way and yet for others it enabled their business. Regardless which category you find yourself in, think about how you want to finish the year in terms of how it will impact multi-year financial performance trending.

I always play the movie forward on business matters, especially those that can impact my future company value, or company worth. As you play your business movie forward with potential thoughts of wanting to sell your company in the next few years, 2020 will be a critical part of the historical assessment a potential acquirer will conduct as they place a valuation on your business.  Think about the performance trend you will want to show and how 2020 factors into that. For instance, if you want to consider selling in 2022 or 2023, a potential acquirer will review the historical revenue and profit trends of your business and 2020 will be included. You therefore will want to show 2020 as a base year with upward performance trending for 2021 and 2022.  Start thinking now about how to help ensure that 2021 will be stronger than 2020. For some, this may mean piling on to a bad 2020 and pushing some revenues out to 2021 to begin ensuring it’s an upward trend in your multi-year view.

If you do find yourself now thinking about managing your product and service deliveries these last 60 days and possibly moving some out to build a stronger 2021, you certainly want to have in mind commitments you’ve made to customers for November and December and only make changes if they also find this acceptable for their business. And in planning your revenues these last weeks of the year, you want to take into considerations the impact any movements will have on your profit trending picture, your business cash needs and of course year-end tax planning.

The bottom line is this. Don’t think about 2020 as a standalone year. Think about it in terms of how it will appear as a part of your company multi-year financial performance trending. Playing this movie forward can help you show a positive performance trend that will give a future acquirer confidence in the valuation they place on your business in the event you desire to sell.

Doing so could help you protect and build company value

Frequently, when I would speak with a customer I’d ask a basic question. And this question would facilitate interesting dialog and it would later help me and my team discuss how to protect or improve our customer experience. Here it is:

Are we your best supplier?  Of all the businesses that you work with, of any type of product or service, are we the best in terms of providing your team the best customer experience?

If the answer was yes, the natural follow up was discussing specifics around what they appreciated so me and my team could ensure protecting it. And if the answer was no, then of course it was a natural follow up to query where they were seeing a better customer experience. This often led to hearing new ideas that we could discuss and consider evolving to with our business.

Bottom line is this – your job as the owner or CEO is to build long term company value, or worth. And you can do this far better by understanding regularly where you stand in terms of providing a uniquely competitive offering and overall great customer experience. Don’t assume you know…ask.

Increasing your company valuation starts here

Selling your business one day and having a euphoric outcome is a dream only a few ever achieve. This is a good time of year to be thinking about the campaign your company should prepare to work in the new year to build your company value, or worth. Although selling a company one day is a mystery to most owners because they’ve never experienced it, there is a formula that I share with those that I meet with.

Proven Successful Exit Formula:

Future Euphoric Exit = Financial Performance Trend + Stickiness + Pricing Authority + Outlook

This formula is simple in concept, but heavy lifting is required in terms of planning and executing. And it takes time which is why you want to be thinking about your worth building campaign as early as possible. Here is a little more detail on each aspects of this powerful formula:

Financial Performance – this is the first area a future acquirer will want to look at. They will be drawn to your company because of its product or service but they will quickly want to see how attractive it is to your current customers via your financial performance trends. Are you taking the steps to build your financial performance so you would be able to show at least three years of upward trending financial results?

Stickiness – this relates to how important your company is to your customers. Are you taking the steps to develop and position your product or service to be so important to your customers that even if you tried to get away from them, they would stick to you like glue? Acquirers place premiums on businesses that are unique, not easy replicable by competitors and that are very sticky in relationship with its customers.

Pricing Authority – if you’re able to translate stickiness with your customers in to having pricing control that allows you to command a solid profit margin, you enter a realm few businesses do and that could excite a future acquirer to consider paying a premium for your business. Are you taking the steps to develop and execute on a pricing strategy that leverages your customer stickiness and puts you in the driver seat in terms of the pricing you can command in the market?

Outlook – an acquirer will ask themselves whether your business is yesterday’s news or whether it is tomorrow’s news as well. Any acquirer excited about your business because of the prior 3 elements to this formula will look to this fourth and if they see it, a possible future euphoric exit outcome certainly awaits you. Are you taking the steps today to build the case for a positive future outlook in areas such as a robust sales model, sales opportunity pipeline and new product/service roadmap?

Building a business to one day deliver a euphoric exit event is a dream many owners have but few will realize. Those that do realize it developed a campaign and executed well. My advice to owners, think about this formula for your campaign to build the future worth of your business because doing so will very much increase your chances of one day achieving a future euphoric exit.

Doing so can help you protect and build your company value

For many business owners and CEO’s, this is the time of year to think, and take action, as it relates to developing or updating a plan and a budget for the pending new year. I learned years ago with the businesses that I was the CEO for, do not start worrying about your strategy until you know you have an enabling culture that can develop and execute on your strategy.

Too many businesses burn many calories developing a plan, only to get frustrated later with poor execution. And when you dig into the root cause of this, it’s due to the culture of the business. Here are two great definitions of culture to think about for your business:

  • Culture is what your employees do when nobody is watching
  • Culture is reflected in the worst employee behavior your company will accept

I encourage you to give serious thought to these as they relate to your company.  And a key question to ask yourself, has my company been effective at developing plans in the past and implementing them? If yes, you may have a great culture and are ready to refresh your plans for the year ahead. But if you answered this question no, then before you start burning more calories developing yet another plan and getting frustrated yet again, focus on addressing why execution has been lacking. This is often related to culture.

I learned years ago, without the right culture a company strategy is going nowhere unless it’s lucky. And you do not want to rely on luck to build the value, or worth, of your company. Assess your culture, then once you know it will be an enabler to your plan, focus on having a great plan.

But a mistake than can be avoided

A business owner reached out recently saying he was considering exiting in the coming months. As he shared an overview of his business, I asked what the compelling message would be to a potential acquirer as to why his business would be attractive to them? The response was, “My business is growing and has good, loyal customers”.

I offered my congratulations on achieving this point with his business and then asked if during the due diligence process that a future acquirer would take his company through, would his data support the compelling message about his business?

The reason I asked this question is it’s not that difficult to get potential acquirers willing to at least listen to learn more about your business. And a seller can provide an interesting, compelling message about their business that could get an acquirer to say they want to learn more as they might consider acquiring the business. But as they ask for data about your business to place a valuation on it, will the historical and recent trends back up the initial message shared with them?

In this particular case of, “my business is growing and has good, loyal customers”, here are examples of data that you’d want to be ready to provide to back up this message:

  • What is your revenue trend of the past 36 months, steady increase or is it choppy
  • What is the revenue trend of your top 10, 20 or 50 customers
  • Related to the revenue growth, can you show solid gross margins
  • Do you have visibility to what your customers will be purchasing from you so you can show a reliable future forecast
  • What is the Trailing 12 month trend of your revenues and margins, by your major product or service offerings
  • What is your customer attrition and can you show customers have been with you for many years
  • Can you show that a meaningful number of customers purchase multiple products or services from you

These are just a few examples of specific data points you’d need to have ready to back up the initial message about your business. As you think about the compelling message you may want to deliver one day for your business to a potential acquirer, think now about how to ensure you’re building the data to back it up. Doing so can help you attract an optimal exit valuation for your business and sustain it through the due diligence process.

Refresh your approach to strengthen your planning

Many  business leaders are now giving thought to their 2021 planning. Time for us to share some thoughts to help strengthen your planning for the new year:

  • Assess this year before you start your plans for next. Ask yourself and your team, how did we do this past year in executing on our current plan? Certainly, COVID threw a severe wrench in to things but there may still be strategic initiatives your team worked on and you should assess progress. Not doing this could mean factors that inhibited progress this year may very well impede progress going forward. What we see in working with many businesses, most aren’t struggling from a lack of strategy, they are struggling from a weak culture in terms of being able to execute. Do an honest assessment of this in terms of what didn’t get done in 2020 that had more to do with culture than it did with COVID.
  • Ask new questions, get new answers. Determine if you need to introduce new blood and new thinking in to your process. Now is the time to ask yourself whether the effectiveness of your planning and execution could be enabled by changing up the people helping you with your plan. Good leaders always look for new and broader perspectives.
  • In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data – in advance of doing your strategic thinking and planning, consider what data you have available. Now is a great time to look at your sales data and your operating key performance indicators to evaluate what they are telling you. COVID has certainly impacted our businesses and your data might have an interesting story to tell you about your customer buying patterns. Ensure you include looking at your business data to underpin your thinking about your strategy for the new year.
  • Disrupted versus Disrupter – every business leader needs to include in the strategic planning these days how technology is impacting their industry and business. If you don’t already include a review of new technologies being adopted into your industry, now is the time to start. As you do your strategic thinking, discuss with your team:1. Are we doing all we can to keep from being disrupted? 2. Are we looking for ways that we can be the disrupter in our industry?
  • Are you preparing to excite a future acquirer or investor – as you conduct your strategic planning, ask yourself and your team this question. Are we identifying strategic initiatives that will help us attract future investors or acquirers? A strategic plan should bridge to building company value, or worth, and asking yourself this question is key.

Now more than ever business leaders need to have and build upon their competence of thinking, planning and execution. Especially with the impact of COVID and its remaining uncertainty, it’s our job as business leaders to ensure we are protecting and building the worth of our company. Use this strategic planning time of year to do just that.

An important step to protect and build your company worth

As business owners and CEO’s, we have to ask ourselves how many more crises do we have to navigate before we realize we need a playbook? The ‘08/’09 was painful and now just over a decade later, Coronageddon hits us. This tells us that there will be another crisis so it’s just a matter of when, not if.

We should learn from this one. What did we do well with our business and what should we have done differently? Capturing our learnings can help us when the next crisis hits.

Here are some questions to ask and more importantly, capture the answers. Capture the answers so when the next one hits, you can call the document up and help you protect company value, or worth as we refer to it.

A few suggested questions and your answers to capture in your company crisis playbook:

When COVID first hit, what top 3 things did we do that served us well?

When COVID first hit, what top things did we not do well and/or fast enough and next time will manage differently?

During COVID, what top 3 things did we do well in communicating with our employees?

During COVID, what top 3 things did we not do well in communicating with our employees and will do differently next time?

During COVID, what top 3 things did we do well in communicating with our customers, vendors or other key partners?

During COVID, what top 3 things did we not do well in communicating with our customers, vendors or other key partners and will do differently next time?

As COVID evolved in its impact on our business, what steps did we take with our cash and cost management that worked well for us?

As COVID evolved in its impact on our business, what steps did we not take fast enough with our cost and cash management and will do differently next time?

You see the idea here as we could continue with these types of questions. Meet with your leadership team for even just 30 minutes to quickly brainstorm questions like this and capture your learnings while they are fresh of mind. When another crisis hits your business, you can draw on these learnings and doing so can protect, potentially even build the valuation of your business.

Periodic new perspective can help build your company valuation

Most businesses monitor various metrics helping to indicate the type of customer experience they are providing. They monitor on-time-delivery, fulfillment rates and various quality metrics.

Another way to consider viewing your customer experience is by customer. So rather than looking at your metrics in a consolidated view, look at the metrics for specific customers. In my business one time, we had good overall consolidated customer experience metrics but when we took the new perspective and looked at metrics for individual customers, we had interesting findings.

We looked at our top customers and our on-time-delivery specific to them. Our fulfillment rates specific to them. And our quality performance, specific to them. And what we found surprised us.

Despite our overall consolidated customer experience related metrics being good, we in fact had a few top customers where we weren’t treating as well as we should have. They were not getting a great customer experience from us and had we not looked at our metrics in this new way, we might have missed this and lost the customer before we could correct things.

As a business owner or CEO, talk with your team to bring a new perspective to how you look at your customer experience related metrics. This might help you find gaps or opportunities that ultimately lead to building the future value, or worth, of your business.

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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

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118 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