WHY ARE SOME boomer-age business owners so
intent on selling their company by themselves?
Typically they do it with the help of their lawyer
and accountant, but without professionals who
have business-selling experience. This is classic
do-it-yourself (DIY) vs. do-it-for-you (DIFY).
Have you ever needed something done and
doing it yourself seemed like a better idea? Ever
tried selling your home by yourself? There’s a
reason real estate agents laugh when they see
a “For Sale by Owner” sign on a lawn and don’t
bother looking at the place.
Dealing with DIY sellers, many of whom are
inexperienced at selling a business, is typically
time-consuming and frustrating for buyers.
Usually it doesn’t end well for either party.
The choice between DIY or finding someone
more qualified to DIFY comes up daily. Some
tasks seem OK to do on your own or by making
use of internal resources, such as a nephew or
employee who knows everything about building
websites and should be able to do it.
You’re likely thinking that if a job takes a little longer or comes out not quite right, you can
live with the results. And, after all, you saved
The truth is that it usually takes longer,
costs more in money and/or frustration and
never quite works the way you thought it would.
So why would you expose your single biggest
asset to the same poor odds of success? Why
would you try to sell your company without the
benefit of an experienced team of professionals?
With that in mind, here are some key things
to consider as you prepare to sell your business.
• Do you know what information buyers
need and how to present it?
• Will the company run successfully while
you’re busy selling it?
• Are you prepared to stay or come back into
• How will your most loyal customers
respond when you’re not available?
• Are you prepared to sell for less than a professional can get for you?
• Do you really want to end your time at the
company recruiting buyers to make the sale?
You may think you have the talent in place
(lawyer, accountant, management); however,
consider this: If they don’t have experience in
selling companies, you may be asking them to
do something they’re not qualified for. Are you
willing to take that chance with the single most
important sale you’re likely ever to make? C
Selling your business
IN IMPROVISATIONAL comedy, although the performances are ad-libbed,
there are certain principles the actors
use to fuel their act. Four Day Weekend
( fourdayweekend.com), an improv troupe
in Fort Worth, Texas, realized their art
could build success in the business world.
Co-founder and Costco member Dave
Wilk offers these four tips on how to apply
some improv principles in business.
1. “Yes, and.” This is the guiding
principle of improvisation. Saying “yes,
and” to something does not always imply
agreement. It is accepting the reality of a
situation or information, and building
upon it. Be aware of how you acknowledge
the other person’s ideas. Saying “yes,
but” is really just saying “no” while wasting time and creating confusion. Word
2. Be others-focused. Onstage, improvisers have one main goal in mind: to
make the other person look good. We
spend so much time being critical of ourselves that if we can pour that energy into
our scene partner, client or colleague, we
have the power to confidently build rapport and move the conversation in a positive way. Actively listen. Try to absorb the
full comment. You never know what juicy
details might be lingering at the end.
3. Fail fast. What makes a successful
improviser is the ability to put something
out there, without full confidence that it’s
the best idea. At a brainstorming meeting,
try asking for the worst ideas possible. It’s
a good time, you’ll get some chuckles and
it eases the tension of putting only your
greatest idea on display.
4. Bring a brick, not a cathedral. True
collaboration is the trust that we are
all important pieces of a greater whole.
When we look to create the “yes, and”
culture, we must actively engage the people who might not be the boldest participants. Wouldn’t you like your culture to be
built on your entire team, rather than just
the loudest employee? Try going around
the table with each person giving an idea,
starting their pitch with “yes, and,” based
on the last suggestion. You might unlock
some grand ideas along the way. C
Improvise your way to a
Eric Gilboord is the CEO of
Warren Business Development
Center Inc. His new book,
Moving Forward, is available
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