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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“What’s in it for me?” A motivational lesson

Berkonomics

Ever wonder why one of your employees, shareholders, managers, suppliers, or board members sometimes behaves in a way you might consider irrational? Putting yourself in their shoes. If you want to best describe the motivation behind the action, think “What’s in it for me”?

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Data collection is about to get much more dangerous

Berkonomics

On January First, 2020, California will enact the toughest data protection laws ever, far outpacing Europe’s General Data Protection Act (GDPR.) Called the California Consumer Privacy Ace (CCPA), few of us are even aware of this and need to know.

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Do people follow when you (think you) lead?

Berkonomics

Let’s get personal. Do you think you’re much better than a marginal leader? Well, here are a few tests for you to help come to an answer. And a few tips for you if you fall a bit short. Why do people follow their leader? Dictators are not great leaders in the long run.

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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.

Most of your big problems start as small problems.

Berkonomics

Let’s talk about surprises. And whether to warn your superiors or your boards about these unraveling events early. You have a dashboard or KPI’s, don’t you?

Can you just tell little business lies?

Berkonomics

Are any of these little lies worth worrying over? “He’s He’s not in right now.” “I am going to the doctor at that time.” “I paid only two dollars a unit to your competitor.”

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Are your chairman and CEO the same person?

Berkonomics

Here’s one that targets most any company that has taken investments at any stage, as well as more mature companies. Why would you split the positions?

The best things about your company board

Berkonomics

For weeks, we’ve highlighted both good and bad things about boards of directors for your company (or non-profit.) This week, let’s focus upon number one – aside from the requirements of boards to protect the company itself (not the shareholders.). Normal functions of boards.

So, your board is dysfunctional. What to do?

Berkonomics

It happens. Boards are elected by the shareholders, sometimes with preferred shareholders holding seats by right of their investment. In that instance, often the investor selects the board member and the CEO goes along with the choice, mostly out of having no alternative at the time.

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Insurance is always too expensive – until it’s needed.

Berkonomics

I expect that you have a story about how insurance saved you lots of money in your past. As usual, I have a story to make your hair stand on end. But first: here’s a fact.

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Let your board help with “what” and “why” – but rarely “how.”

Berkonomics

I am sure you can argue with this one. Sometimes a board member is valuable in teaching the “how” to get things done inside the company.

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Can you name the two most powerful words for business?

Berkonomics

Here’s a puzzle where the answer come first. Help me.”.

Does your board give you good advice?

Berkonomics

This may be news, but boards of directors can offer bad advice. Having served on more than forty boards, I’ve seen such a variety of good and bad advice that my stories could fill a book. (oh, oh, wait.

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.

How do you pay an early stage board?

Berkonomics

Give one percent equity to each outside board member vesting over four years of service. Many early stage CEOs and board members have asked for some guidance regarding pay and time commitments for board members. Here is my best advice, based upon many boards and many years.

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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.

Where’s your team playbook? Hmm?

Berkonomics

This one comes straight from football.

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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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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.

Can your team overcome messy problems?

Berkonomics

Some problems seem impossible to surmount. Leaders and teams can be overwhelmed. We’ve all probably experienced this. Several big problems hit us at once. Or the system goes down, stranding everyone. Or worse yet, “We’ve been hacked.” Add the twist of ransomware? The inevitability of a big problem.

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.

Any advice can be worthless, or worse.

Berkonomics

Close. Ever get bad advice? We all have in our past. Ever take that advice without question because the person giving it was an investor, a superior in rank, the chairperson of your board? I’ll bet you have at least one story of bad advice taken and being bitten as a result.

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Will tech kill your job?

Berkonomics

Close. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. “My My job as a (newspaper publisher telephone installer, stockbroker, travel agent, retail store manager) is safe as this economy continues to grow.” Thought so. We are in a decade of creative destruction that will affect most everybody.

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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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I won’t serve on a board without D&O insurance!

Berkonomics

Close. I’ve been sued as a board member too many times over the past twenty-five years of board service. Five times. Does that shock you? It does me. Entrepreneurs blaming their board for failures of a fragile, early stage company.

Learn to never handle a paper or email twice

Berkonomics

Close. We all do it… to our own detriment. So, let’s make a pact that we will try, if not succeed, to handle our incoming messages more efficiently. Personal time management helps immensely to make a better manager of you and me.

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How about your board members’ time commitments?

Berkonomics

Expect a board member to give a meeting a month, emails and phone calls between. Urgent issues require more of all. Board members are usually busy people, often running other companies or serving on multiple boards.

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How much of my business do I have to give to an investor?

Berkonomics

If you’re looking for growth capital, this one’s for you. We’ll cover what information you’ll expect to provide, your range of expected values and amounts of investment to expect. All to help you set your expectations. Financial History and Projections. Let’s start with the basics.

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Niche marketing works. Here’s how.

Berkonomics

Close. How many of us throw away marketing dollars because our paid efforts reach an audience that is much larger than the target or niche audience we need to reach?

Hire for your core. Partner for the rest.

Berkonomics

A trend for businesses large and small. There is a major trend shaping up that is worldwide, already identified by hundreds of thousands of startup and small business CEO’s.

How can you let a talented employee go to pursue a new career?

Berkonomics

It is tough to lose your best employees wanting to advance their careers. Sometimes you can be the coach, helping them even if it means losing them.

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