Interviewers commonly ask job applicants to identify their greatest strengths and weaknesses. But have you thought about how you might answer this question for your business? As you plan for the future, a realistic look at your businesses strengths and shortcomings is critical to ensuring it can grow and adapt. Buyers will also want to understand how you see your business.
One of the best things you can do is look at your business from the perspective of a buyer. Consider whether you would pay your own asking price. So which characteristics are most important? Here’s an overview of what buyers may seek.
Integrity and honesty are essential to the functioning of every business. If customers do not trust you and your team, it’s difficult to have a successful business. Your team must have the utmost integrity.
Excellent customer service is also key. No customers mean no business. You must nurture a personal relationship with each customer, and continually follow up to ensure they are getting satisfactory care. Remember that you compete for these customers, so you must invest time and resources in them.
You need to also be mindful of what your competitors are doing. See if there’s anything you can do to increase your market share. Perhaps you can expand your product offerings, or even break into a new sector. Successful businesses continually change and adapt. Not changing can be the death knell for even highly profitable businesses.
To deliver quality service, your team must be well-trained and highly competent. Implement a training program with clear objectives, and adjust its offerings as your business grows and changes. As part of your training program, ensure that multiple people are able to fill the same role so that an absence or vacation is not catastrophic. Perhaps most importantly, train your staff to run the business without you. That might seem counterintuitive, but a business that cannot run well without its owner is a high-risk sale.
As your business grows and changes, exit planning should become a part of your job. Consider how you will leave the business, and what might happen if you must leave suddenly, due to a death or illness. Who can run the business in your absence? Can a family member step in? Do you have a competent management team? Not only are these people vital in the event of an emergency; they’re also a key selling point when you put your business on the market.
Your business is a core component of your identity. You’ve poured much of your life into it. It’s easy to let your emotions about your company overshadow your rationality. You may even be reluctant to ensure the business can run on its own. Exceptional planning means exceptional growth, though, and a business that can run without its founder is a true testament to the founder’s skill and importance in getting the business off the ground.