Berkonomics

Selling your business? Find the emotional buyer

Berkonomics

This is one of my favorite insights, since I lived this one in a positive exit from my computer business. Types of business buyers expanded. Most people will tell you that there are two kinds of eventual buyers for your business: financial and strategic.

Why not share your liquidity success with those who got you there?

Berkonomics

So, you are close to selling your company, and counting the profits a bit early. Well, that’s human nature. Here’s a thought for you to recall later when and if the event happens. Remember those who got you there.

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So, do you have that entrepreneurial DNA?

Berkonomics

My immediate family members were entrepreneurs from as far back as I can trace. Dad was a jeweler, then a furniture store owner. Mom wrote books and articles from her college days until she could no longer see the keyboard. One grandfather owned and maintained his apartment houses.

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Entrepreneurs do not easily retire.

Berkonomics

So, you’ve successfully sold your business and have received enough money from the sale to become financially independent, no longer having to work for a living. That is a comfortable place to be, and it is one experienced by more and more people, especially in technology-based businesses.

Can You Ask for Office Rent Relief? How to Manage Your Lease During COVID-19

Office leases are one of companies’ largest expenses, and if your whole team is working from home with no clear end in sight, you may be wondering what to do about your lease.

Shareholders and founders: The muted thrill of the deal closing.

Berkonomics

Now you have worked for months to get this deal to the closing, anticipating the wire transfers to the shareholders that will come any minute. This could change your lifestyle and give you that much needed pause in your life you have been looking forward to. How it happens today.

A million things can kill the deal.

Berkonomics

So, you’ve found the buyer, received a letter of interest, signed it, and exclusively tied your company up for a period to complete the deal. Everyone on the board is anxious to close this. You’ve committed time to do whatever is needed.

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What’s a “data room” and how do you use it?

Berkonomics

First, what’s a “deal book?”. Maybe you have not heard the term, “deal book.” That’s a comprehensive piece on a company for use by a buyer in determining fit.

Three questions to answer about your COVID response

Berkonomics

Most of us are affected by this current crisis. Many businesses threatened with closure forever. Small businesses are the most vulnerable, even though most have furloughed employees. Rent and other fixed costs continue, even when revenues have dried up – a fatal combination.

Take advantage of the good times to build stakeholder loyalty.

Berkonomics

Loyalty is a hard-earned commodity. There are several times when stakeholder loyalty is tested to the limit. For employees, a late or missed payroll is the ultimate test of corporate loyalty, divorced even from an employee’s ability to make do without a paycheck.

How to make the most useful dashboard

Berkonomics

The need for real time information. From sports car to aircraft to super tanker, successful operation depends upon the pilot’s understanding and urgent timely use of a dashboard.

Should you cast your net where the big fish swim?

Berkonomics

This is one of those “My dad used to say” homilies. You’ve probably heard the accompanying “It takes just as much effort to sell a small deal as a big one,” over the years. It is not that simple in the business world. The truth of this is more nuanced.

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Have you fallen into the buggy whip trap?

Berkonomics

Surely, you’ve heard the buggy whip analogy. A business making those necessary items ignored the signs of progress and found itself without a market. Perhaps that happened to sword smiths upon the invention of the rifle, and certainly to the makers of cassette tapes upon the dawn of the CD.

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Decoding and learning from a business failure

Berkonomics

Have you experienced a business failure? Are you currently at risk due to events you cannot control? Not all companies are successful. Your end game could be a failure of the business. In fact, many angel investors or venture capitalists look for and respect the lessons learned by entrepreneurs that have survived a failed business. The key question is: Why did an entrepreneur fail? And then: What lessons were learned from that failure? You will have “seen the movie before”.

Warning: Contractors must really be independent!

Berkonomics

Our challenge is getting more difficult. How many of us have “hired” independent contractors over the years, a bit worried over the gray area between employee and contractor as defined by the IRS? Or separately the State of California?

What’s your personal-business end game?

Berkonomics

Remembering our original vision. When we start a business, we are optimistic that we will succeed and dream of riches to follow when the company is sold or even getting all the way to an IPO. Some of us build our businesses to be lifestyle creations, destined to provide for our families but not necessarily as creators of great equity upon an eventual sale. But most of us dream of selling the business someday for lots of money and building our wealth upon that event.

Does your company culture encourage employee curiosity?

Berkonomics

It’s more common than you think. Some of the world’s best companies to work for are those that encourage employees to spend time following their own paths of curiosity toward development of new products or services.

Crowdsourcing, collaboration, support groups. Oh my.

Berkonomics

At the MIT Center of Collective Intelligence, professors and graduate students are wrestling with an important opportunity – and gaining ground. With new collaborative tools available for use in the cloud, people are no longer isolated in their creative endeavors. Some label this “crowdsourcing,” a term used to describe one form of this new empowerment. How to use the new tools for collective intelligence.

What would happen to the business if you die, leave or are disabled?

Berkonomics

Yes, we’re invincible when young. When we are young and early in our business lives, we feel infallible to the degree that we do not think of what might happen if we die while in office or decide to leave the company for any reason.

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Can you defend your pricing niche against your competition?

Berkonomics

This week, we continue our series on marketing and positioning. There can be nothing more important in your business planning that selecting the proper pricing niche, making your story clear using that niche, and the defending your position against the competition.

Why buy IT? Why buy MINE? Why buy NOW?

Berkonomics

What a powerful set of three questions. These are so succinct, so well defined, so precise that everyone in sales and everyone involved in marketing must be able to answer these three questions without pause, and convincingly.

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Faster is sometimes more valuable than better.

Berkonomics

And d oing both well usually wins the day. This is one of those arguable insights, where both sides win. Dell is a great example of emphasis upon fast, creating a customized computer in 48 hours or less, bringing in assemblies and components just-in-time to make the assembly line.

Are you the bottleneck in your organization?

Berkonomics

Close. At many board meetings, I can be counted upon to ask, “Where’s the bottleneck this month?” Senior management is usually prepared with an answer, and a good discussion of resource availability and application follows. Sometimes, the bottleneck is not so visible to the CEO.

Are you thinking of the end game when managing your business?

Berkonomics

Ever think about growing your business with the plan to sell it someday, cashing in on your hard-earned work over the years? Or if you’re an employee with stock options, are you aware of the increases in value you can make with your efforts?

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Selling your company for less than expected?

Berkonomics

How about outside investors? Sometimes the end game or sale of the company is not a happy event. Especially when outside investors, venture capitalists, or angels, have put in substantial money and the sales price is less than the value of their investment. Most all experienced VC and angel investors have found themselves in such a situation, since it is the unfortunate truth that half of their investments fail, on average, within the first several years of the investment.

Is your company or department as efficient as it should be?

Berkonomics

Close. There is more money lost in businesses today from inefficient processes than any other single area. Yet this is not a place where most managers feel comfortable deconstructing and rebuilding.

Business risk: Bet the farm only when the crops are on fire.

Berkonomics

Close. How much risk you and your company are willing and able to tolerate over time? Most people believe that early stage companies should take risks aggressively because there is less to lose and much more to gain with each risky bet or decision.

You are watched, mostly when decisions are tough.

Berkonomics

we_are_wat we_are_watching_you. Close. If you have been in management or an entrepreneur long enough, you will have experienced the gray area of decision-making where ethics, the law, your needs and expediency all collide.

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How about personal guarantees for company debt?

Berkonomics

Is the guarantee still required today? More than ever, the banks and lenders today require personal guarantees from entrepreneurs, and even from CEO’s of angel or some VC funded businesses.

An economics lesson for growing companies

Berkonomics

Catching up from past insights. Growing companies usually require more working capital during their periods of rapid growth. In past insights we have calculated the amount of additional capital needed for a business as it grows, and the additional capital required is often surprisingly large. In this insight, we need to speak of the sources of working capital and the implications to the future financial health of the choices made when selecting one financial resource. Surprise!

Have you lost (some) enthusiasm for the job?

Berkonomics

So, you’ve been at this for years through thick and thin, great days and days in which you’ve had better times. Much of your job has become routine. But it feels good to see your “baby” grow and others buy into your vision. That daily routine. It is human nature for you and every entrepreneur to fall into a routine of taking care of day to day issues, meetings, communicating with customers and shareholders.

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Some thoughts about office politics

Berkonomics

Where’s the threat? It is hard to separate this kind of advice from economic lessons in running a business, when office politics can threaten a business in ways that are subtle, but sometimes just as devastating as economic shocks or continuing poor management. Examining the petri dish.

Where’s your sense of urgency?

Berkonomics

It is human nature to start in a new position with enthusiasm, lofty goals, new ideas, and a heightened awareness of those around us and their ideas for the business. After time in our job positions.

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Why document your company’s tribal knowledge?

Berkonomics

The processes you and your subordinates follow. It is not common for the CEO of a rapidly growing company to think of slowing down the furious pace enough to have each manager (including the CEO) document the job process managed, as well as see to the documentation for each process managed below.

Special edition: Building semi pro audio video studio

Berkonomics

Like to make professional videos for a small cost? Postings to on-line sites? Dave takes you through the process, shows the results, and gives you the costs. There’s lots more information you will find as you experiment and may need when selecting and learning the tools Dave lists.

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The dangerous game: Hiring from a competitor

Berkonomics

Sometimes it is the first thought you or your managers have when in need of skilled talent, especially for sales or product development. It is not hard to find and observe the best employees of a good competitor at work, skillfully moving the competitor forward in a visible way.

Can your employees recruit from a customer or supplier?

Berkonomics

The recruitment traps. It has happened to all of us who have been leaders in business long enough. One of your employees is approached by an employee of a customer or of a supplier, stating that “It sure would be great to work in your company.”

How to measure your power in the Internet marketplace.

Berkonomics

There are several key performance indicators that help new generation company management see more clearly their progress and corporate health. The old measures, including return on investment, percentage of profit against revenue or employee count, and more, obviously are still relevant. But businesses that expose their story to tens of millions of potential customers through the Internet need additional tools. Some of these are also applicable to non-Internet businesses.

Do you empower others?

Berkonomics

So, we’ve previously discussed why it is important for you to build consensus in an organization in most every major decision.

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Are you a consensus leader or dictator?

Berkonomics

It’s a good bet that you’ve been exposed to articles, courses and lectures about various styles of management, and how each is appropriate for some companies and for some levels of organization and at various times. When should the dictator in you emerge?

Traditional marketing vs. social engagement

Berkonomics

Woe to those teaching yesterday’s methods. We all know that the world of marketing has turned upside down these past years through the power of the Internet. College professors teaching marketing must be having a real challenge keeping up with the new channels of communication, the relative values of advertising buys in this new world and explaining how to make the most out of these cheaper and more powerful channels. The new power model of marketing.

How to undermine or reinforce your corporate culture

Berkonomics

Ever had a manager who hung those motivational posters around the office, spoke of “pushing together,” or “you’re empowered to give great service” – and then acted at least once in complete disregard of those statements? You don’t want to be caught even once.

Let’s talk about your banking relationship

Berkonomics

The warning is real. You’ve heard the old one – that a banker always seems willing to offer a loan when you don’t need it. For small businesses, there is such truth in that statement that you can trust the story to be based as fact from experience. Exceptions and good reasons to work on them.

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