What is your strategy for creating wealth from your business? Some family-owned, closely-held business owners begin by focusing on the profit and loss sheet, or bottom line. There are steps to implement systems and processes to streamline, cut costs, become more productive and efficient. Owners intentionally grow their companies through these and many other value-generating actions.
From there, owners may determine that the opportunities to grow to the next level must come from a strategy of acquisition. Maybe acquire a competitor, and develop a new revenue stream by acquiring the competitor’s complementary product line. This is another path to creating personal wealth through the growth of the company. At this point, owners may look around for the next right step.
How does an owner prepare for what comes next? The steps to create wealth in a family-owned, closely held company that is growing, commanding market share and in a vibrant, robust industry, makes that company an ideal target for acquisition. How would that owner respond to an unsolicited offer? What that a part of the original plan?
As an M&A Coach, I recommend that my clients determine the value of their business regularly. Equally important is the need to determine personal values. An owner who plans to pass the reins on to the next generation may find that his/her values and priorities are not expressed or shared by the family candidates. The owner of a closely-held company may have given almost no thought to prioritizing his/her values and the unsolicited offer highlights this lack of self-awareness when the negotiation falters.
Clearly defined personal values can inform our decisions. For ex: suppose Will, of Widget & Co. receives an offer from USA Widgets, Inc that is for more money that he ever imagined. If Will is prepared, he knows that while money is important for his family’s long-term financial security, it is not his top priority.
For Will, autonomy, service and community are his top three values in order of priority. Using that framework, Will and his M&A team will negotiate hard for Will to have a seat on the board to allow him to influence future decisions. He will also instruct the team to negotiate on behalf of his employees to ensure their financial well-being. Finally, Will may negotiate that USAW continue as the major sponsor of the Walk For Life that he has sponsored in memory of his mother who passed away from breast cancer.
Each of those negotiating points have little to do with the purchase price. However, each is an expression of Will’s values and priorities and do not jeopardize his family’s financial well-being. This week we will explore the elements of preparation described here. Will was prepared. How will you prepare?
As always, I would love to coach you and your family, or partner through the preparation process. Call me at 804-372-7575 or contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a Get Your Bearings packet, we will schedule a call to review and determine if you are ready to get to work.