Marketing

In the competitive world of business, marketing plays a pivotal role to drive revenue generation, brand equity, and overall business valuation. Companies that view branding and advertising as a growth strategy are twice as likely to see revenue growth of 5% or more than those that don’t (source: “Read our case study for details. A pilot program is a great way to get started with evaluating how marketing can support the sales process. Be sure to give the program enough time and budget to be effective. In the B2B environment, it often does not take much to recoup the costs of a successful marketing campaign. Getting Started In today’s digital age, businesses that fail to leverage marketing risk being left behind by competitors who effectively tell their story and reach their target audiences. As a trusted advisor, you have the opportunity to guide business owners in recognizing marketing’s potential to drive sustainable growth, profitability, and long-term enterprise value. Knowmad is here to help you design and build a digital marketing program that gets measurable business results. Reach out to William McKee and discover the potential that a data-driven marketing plan can make for your business.

outsourced CMO services. In short, we become your company’s chief marketing officer and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999, we’ve enjoyed building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client’s success have positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and bottom line. Stop paying for digital and traditional services you may not need. Our retainer, no markup model means our recommendations don’t come with any catch or commission. Our advice aligns with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact us at 410-366-9479 or info@incitecmo.com. 

“Opinions are like boats on the sea of knowledge; while they can guide us, it is important to navigate with caution and consider multiple perspectives.” Are you in the process of evaluating or updating your current website? If so, you’ll soon be drowning in stakeholder feedback. When conducting a site evaluation and content review, it’s best to gather stakeholder feedback early in the process and build your solution around an informed, agreed-upon strategy. However, gathering those perspectives can be overwhelming and an administrative nightmare. Fear not. In this article, we will help you navigate the turbulent waters of conducting a  What Are the Benefits of Conducting a Website Audit? First, let’s start with a quick overview of why you should conduct a website audit before putting pen to paper or mouse to monitor: 1. Identify and fix technical issues: A website audit helps uncover any technical issues affecting your site’s performance, such as broken links, slow loading times, or mobile responsiveness problems. Addressing these issues can improve the user experience and ensure your site functions at its best. 2. Enhance SEO performance: An evaluation also allows you to identify areas where your site can be optimized for better visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), such as improving keyword targeting, optimizing meta tags, or enhancing site structure. By optimizing your site for SEO, you can attract more organic traffic and improve your search rankings. 3. Analyze content effectiveness: A website audit helps you evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your website content. You can assess whether your content aligns with your target audience’s needs and preferences, identify gaps or areas for improvement, and ensure consistency across your site. This analysis can help you create a content strategy that resonates with your audience and drives engagement. 4. Assess user experience: In an audit, you can evaluate the site’s navigation, layout, and overall usability to identify any pain points or barriers hindering visitors from engaging with your site. Improving the UX can enhance user satisfaction, increase conversions, and encourage repeat visits. 5. Benchmark against competitors: Another great benefit of a website audit is that it enables you to compare your site’s performance and features against your competitors. You can identify areas where you may be falling behind or where you excel. This benchmarking analysis can help you uncover opportunities for differentiation and improvement to stay ahead in the competitive landscape. By conducting a website audit, you can gain valuable insights into your site’s strengths and weaknesses and take actionable steps to improve its overall performance and user experience.   How to Capture and Organize Stakeholder Feedback During a Website Audit? All captains need a logbook. When gathering, managing, and implementing stakeholder feedback, you can use several tools and methods to streamline the process and make your life much easier. Here are a few of our favorites: 1. Hotjar: Google Sheet can be an effective way to organize stakeholder feedback. You can create a column for all the URLs of the website pages being audited. Then, you can add columns for the feedback links with descriptions, the point person responsible for making the change, and due dates. You can also include a column with a drop-down multiple-choice for the status, such as “Active,” “Pending Approval,” or “Live.” This will help you track the progress of each feedback item. 3. Project or Content Management Tools: Various project management tools can help you capture and organize stakeholder feedback. Tools like Wrike, Asana, Google Docs or Microsoft Teams can also capture and organize stakeholder feedback. You can create a shared document or folder where stakeholders can directly provide feedback. This allows real-time collaboration and easy access to all feedback in one centralized location. Your choice of tools and methods will depend on how your team communicates best, your budget, and your current tech stack. Test out a few options first to ensure they will help versus hinder the process.   Captaining a website audit has its challenges. But with the right process, people, and tools in place, you’ll be in ship-shape. If you need assistance conducting a website audit or developing your digital marketing strategy, please contact us at outsourced CMO services. In short, we become your company’s chief marketing officer and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999, we’ve enjoyed building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client’s success have positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and bottom line. Stop paying for digital and traditional services you may not need. Our retainer, no markup model means our recommendations don’t come with any catch or commission. Our advice aligns with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact us at 410-366-9479 or info@incitecmo.com. 

B2B businesses, particularly professional services, are some of the most skeptical and risk-averse companies when it comes to embracing marketing. I should know because I service this client base. However, once I explain how marketing can elevate awareness and increase ROI, most B2B companies will adopt today’s proven digital marketing tactics. In today’s blog, we explore some common myths and provide insights into the power of B2B marketing. Common Marketing Myths Debunked Myth #1: My website is the only marketing initiative my business needs. First, having a website is a critical piece of any marketing plan, but it’s not enough. Many business owners believe having a website is enough to generate leads and grow their business. Unfortunately, this is a myth. While a website is important, it’s far from the only marketing investment you need. In today’s digital landscape, there are numerous marketing tactics that you can use to grow your business. From email marketing and content creation to social media marketing and search engine optimization, there are many approaches that you can use to increase your visibility and reach potential customers. Additionally, it’s important to remember that having a website is not a one-time investment. You must constantly update and optimize your site for the best results and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy incorporating multiple tactics. This will ensure you can reach your target audience and build a strong brand presence. Myth #2: B2Bs don’t need a marketing strategy. When it comes to marketing, B2B companies need to take a strategic approach to ensure their efforts are successful. Without a plan in place, there is a risk of wasting time and money on tactics that are not effective. On the other hand, a well-crafted

If your business performance is lackluster, take a closer look at how it’s operating. And if you’re a business owner already running your company on EOS® – the Entrepreneurial Operating System — congratulations! You’ve already taken an essential first step toward gaining clarity around your goals and organizing the milestones for how you and your team will achieve them. But where and when does marketing fit into the equation? EOS® plugs marketing strategy into a two-day Vision Building™ Agenda and seven other important topics. That’s a great start, but it only scratches the surface. A comprehensive EOS Model® provides a visual illustration of a six-piece pie chart comprised of the components it deems essential to any business, including: Vision People Data Issues Process Traction Vision Powered by Marketing Strategy & Planning Arguably the foundation for success, and the focus of this article, a company’s vision typically encompasses its core values, purpose, passion, niche, and unique value. It is designed to inspire and motivate employees to work toward a common goal. So…what happens when there’s no clarity around the vision? No focused goal and zero hopes of achieving it. EOS® corrects this by getting everyone in the organization crystal clear about where they’re going and how they’ll get there. But here’s the thing — if you only consider yourselves in this vision, you’re leaving out an essential piece of the picture — your customers. Marketing plays a crucial role in clarifying a company’s vision. Effective marketing is about understanding your target audience and communicating your company’s purpose and values to them in a way that resonates. In other words, your vision needs to align with the needs and desires of your customers. By conducting Positioning Workshop, SWOT analysis, and competitive and industry research, you will unearth existing brand perceptions, gain vital insight to determine if those perceptions will help or hinder your value proposition, and allow you to adjust your vision accordingly. What if, for example, Patagonia’s vision to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” lacked a sizeable enough target market that cared enough about Mother Earth to pay $299 for a jacket? It would be a company without any customers and any profit. Luckily for Patagonia, the company’s vision seems to resonate with the strategic marketing plan to your operating system, and you’ll get the insight you need to realize your vision. And stay tuned for our upcoming contact Incite Creative. We have over 23 years of marketing expertise and have worked with businesses running on EOS® and welcome the opportunity to partner with EOS Implementers®. outsourced CMO services. In short, we become your company’s chief marketing officer and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999 we’ve had the pleasure of building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client’s success have positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and bottom line. Stop paying for digital and traditional services you may not need. Our retainer, no markup model means our recommendations don’t come with any catch or commission. Our advice aligns with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact us at 410-366-9479 or info@incitecmo.com. 

Every business needs a strong Marketing Strategy & Planning Creative Direction Reporting & Analysis 2. Flexibility & Scalability, only an Outsourced CMO can Provide A fractional CMO is highly valuable because it offers flexibility and scalability that a full-time employee arrangement doesn’t provide. With an outsourced option, you can quickly scale up or down as needed depending on your current business circumstances. If you’re facing a hiring or skillset gap, a particularly busy season, or need additional assistance with a new product or service launch, an external CMO can quickly be brought in at short notice — without any long-term commitment from either side. Plus, an external expert won’t get bogged down by day-to-day tasks or administrative issues. Instead, a fractional CMO can address your specific objectives and focus on delivering results. What are typical outsourced CMOs’ hours? An outsourced Chief Marketing Officer will provide an hourly consultative rate or a retainer based on a predetermined number of hours per month that they will dedicate to your business. This number and rate will depend on your objectives, the timeframe to complete them, and the CMO’s level of expertise. That said, while an FTE’s salary is based on a 40-hour work week, outsourced CMOs only charge for the time they are actively engaged in your project. Therefore, a standard monthly contract may be based on 30, 40, or 50 hours per month or more. 3. Fractional CMO Services Provide a High ROI Hiring an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer to lead your business also has several added financial benefits compared to hiring a full-time CMO. Outsourcing eliminates costly recruitment fees, employment taxes, and benefits packages. Plus, since most outsourced professionals charge a monthly retainer that aligns with a pre-set scope of work, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting for your money without worrying about hidden costs or change order fees that weren’t accounted for initially. Chief Marketing Officer salary (50th percentile) in the United States ($342,859 as of February 27, 2023). This adds up to considerable savings — typically 33-50% or more — that could make all the difference between expanding your business operations and struggling to break even. Where can I find a fractional CMO company? Fractional C-Suite executives have become more mainstream over recent years, with outsourced COOs, CFOs, and CTOs leading the way. While some outsourced marketing professionals are a little newer to the scene, Schedule your free 30-minute consultation today. Incite Creative is a marketing advisory firm that provides outsourced CMO services. In short, we become your company’s chief marketing officer and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999 we’ve had the pleasure of building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client’s success have positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and bottom line. Stop paying for digital and traditional services you may not need. Our retainer, no markup model means our recommendations don’t come with any catch or commission. The advice we provide aligns with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact us at 410-366-9479 or info@incitecmo.com. 

In the current crazy employee hiring and retaining climate, little things to boost morale and culture can go a long way. That’s why Employee Appreciation Day may be more important in 2023 than ever before.You know your team best. What is it that will feel like a “gift” vs. an obligation to participate because, let’s face…

Yea, a headache that’s a good example. A headache is a symptom, but the problem could be from lack of sleep or food or a myriad of other things. So what do most people do? Grab a couple of Motrin to try to help alleviate the symptom instead of using their brain and asking, “When was the last time I ate. Oh, it was eight hours ago. I betcha, that’s why I have a headache. Maybe I should eat something.” So is ChatGPT a good thing or a bad thing? As you can see, we had some fun writing this article. As for ChatGPT, we think it’s a good thing, but the jury is still out on how much it will help or hinder certain human behaviors, how much reliance people put into it using it as a crutch instead of tapping into their own creativity, how it will be regulated for authenticity, and if it will just push us all further into our devices instead of bringing us closer together. If, however, it’s used to help us be more creative and more productive together without losing everything that makes us human (sense of humor, diverse perspectives, truly, etc.), and our brands stand for something truly unique, I’m all for it. So go. Explore 

When your business owner client decides to sell, there’s a unique, uncommon opportunity for you as a wealth manager to provide an incredibly valuable service to your clients while also growing your assets under management. As a wealth manager, you play a critical role in the lives of your clients. It’s not a stretch to say that their future is literally in your hands. They rely on you to ensure their retirement is going to look a particular way. For business owners, exiting their business is almost always a key component of their retirement plan. The sale of a business may be the biggest liquidity event in their lives. As a wealth manager, you have the opportunity to help figure out exactly how to make the most of that money for their retirement — or for any other purposes they may have in mind. There’s a huge opportunity here — Baby Boomers are beginning to retire in droves (and will keep doing so for at least a decade). There are many business owners retiring right now who will need your help. Here’s what you need to know about exit planning and the role you’ll play in it for your business-owner clients. Figuring Out The Number The first thing you’ll be doing for your business owner clients is helping them figure out the number: the amount of money your client needs to get out of the business when they exit. Usually, retirement is the goal, but there are other potential goals. Maybe they want to open another business or start a non-profit. Maybe they want to engage in some philanthropy or set up a trust for their family. Whatever the case, you play a major role here. As exit planners, we need you to help us figure out how much they need and then do a net present value of the amount. We can then subtract other assets that are available for whatever they have in mind and come up with the number. Valuing the Business Once we have the number, then we have to figure out how much the business is actually worth in today’s market. That’s something the exit planners and business valuation experts in your network will help define. When we have a clear idea of how much our mutual client can potentially make from selling their business, we can then compare it with the number. The difference between the number and the current value of the business will tell them what they need to do next. They’ll need your services for this. If there’s a shortfall, you’ll have to talk to them about what to do. Do they want to reduce their standard of living for retirement? Work a little longer? Increase the value of the business and then look at a potential sale in a few more years? Whatever the case, they now have a plan in place — and they’re looking to you to implement key components of that plan. And of course, there are opportunities for you as well. Opportunities for Wealth Managers One of the first things exit planners will do is to have clients complete a financial plan for the business owner and other stakeholders — you’ll be responsible for your clients’ financial plans and potentially those of their key employees. You also have the opportunity to capture more assets under management. And, as the exit planning moves ahead, there are other opportunities: for example, 401(k) or IRAs and other assets can be transitioned to your management. Another thing to consider is that, once you become an advisor to a business owner, you gain potential access to their network. They might refer you to key people in their organization who also need your help — not to mention their family and friends. For years after the exit, you’ll be managing their assets (and likely managing those assets for their family after they pass). All this because you had a seat at the exit planning table and helped your clients through the process. The Advisor’s Edge — The Education You (and Your Clients) Need The Advisor’s Edge is a library of content that you can use to educate potential and existing clients on exit planning — and you can use it to educate yourself as well. Instead of giving every client an individual presentation (which you probably won’t get them to schedule anyway), you can send them content that answers their questions and educates them. Or you can bolster your social media and marketing efforts with short videos that build the case for working with you and trusting your processes and network.  The Advisor’s Edge includes documents and videos that explain just about every aspect of what CEPAs, financial professionals, and business advisors do in a way that’s clear and highly professional. The content is extremely high quality and has been created by top professionals in exit planning and value building. This means your potential clients will see you not just as a resource and someone they can trust, but as someone who is a true expert, who really knows what they’re talking about.

Do you want to know how to get featured in the NY Times, Fast Company and other media and attract more clients? Meet Meet Nationally acclaimed Marketing/PR Expert Cassandra Bailey co-author of “Pay Attention”. Click here to join Cassandra live to ask her questions about PR and Marketing:

Host Bill McDermott was joined by three accomplished business leaders on this edition of ProfitSense. Banker Samantha McElhaney discussed what business owners need to be focused on now, what to look for in choosing an advisor, as well as how she uses her extensive network to assist her clients. Keith Costley shared how his engineering consulting firm develops and retains talent, how collaboration with clients has been so crucial to their success, and his firm’s succession planning process. Derek Griffin talked about how his firm helps gift and home decor firms, industrial products companies, distributors, and other B2B companies with website and e-commerce solutions for their marketing needs. Bill closed the show with a commentary on the four components of getting a business ready to sell for its maximum value. ProfitSense with Bill McDermott is produced and broadcast by the 

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I once had the thrill of interviewing Jerry West on management. He was “The Logo” for the NBA, although back then they didn’t advertise him as such. Only the Laker followers knew for sure. In 1989 the “Showtime” Lakers were coming off back-to-back championships.  Pat Riley was a year away from his first of three Coach of the Year awards. 

Can you Offer Too Many SKUs to Your Customers? The short answer is YES! A SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, defines each different product version that you sell and keep inventory of.  There may be different SKUs of the same overall item based on size, color, capacity (think computer or cellphone memory), features, and many other parameters.  For build to forecast businesses, that number of variations can quickly explode and become difficult to manage. Your customers are busy and want ordering simplified. Of course, they may need (or want) more than one variation of a product. That is reasonable and a common aspect of business – one size does not fit all! But there is a point where too offering too many SKUs is not value added either for your customer or your business.  In his April 30, 2013 article “Successful Retailers Learn That Fewer Choices Trigger More Sales” in Forbes, Carmine Gallo discusses his experience and a study about “choice overload” by other authors. He writes about a retailer that “has discovered that giving a customer more than three choices at one time actually overwhelms customers and makes them frustrated…when the customer is faced with too many choices at once, it leaves the customer confused and less likely to buy from any of the choices!” Choice overload is well-documented in consumer studies but can apply in B2B as well. While customer satisfaction is important, another key concern is the often-hidden costs associated with a business offering and managing a large number of SKUs for a given product type. These costs include holding inventory, S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning) team time, small production runs, and scrapping inventory. Holding inventory takes up space, which may come with a cost or utilize racks that could be used for other products. Scheduled inventory counts take up employee time and may result in blackout periods when the warehouse is not shipping product.  The more SKUs there are, including extra SKUS, the greater the potential impact. The Sales team’s forecasting and the Operations team’s purchasing reviews that are part of the S&OP process can occupy more of their valuable time if they need to consider these times. If small orders or forecasts require a new production run, this could be costly and create excess inventory. Whether from this new production or past builds, eventually it will make sense to write off and scrap old inventory, another cost impact to the company. How do you know which SKUs to focus on if you wish to look at reducing your total number of SKUs? Start by examining SKUs that have: Low historic sales over a period of time Small variations between SKUs that customers do not value Older technology or model when newer option SKUs are available This requires a true partnership between Sales and Operations. It starts with educating both teams on the costs involved – neither group may be aware of the money and time impact to the company. Periodic (such as quarterly) reviews of SKUs that meet the above descriptions should become a fixed part of the calendar. A review of the data and other available for sale options should result in the identification of SKUs which may not be needed. At that point, it is helpful to have a customer friendly EOL (End of Life) Notice process by which you inform customers of last time buy requirements for this SKU and alternates available. It is usually best to provide some time for the last time buy in the interest of customer satisfaction, although that may not always be necessary. At a company that designed and sold electronics, a robust SKU rationalization process was implemented to help address these issues. A representative from the Operations team analyzed SKUs that met a version of the above criteria and suggested candidates for the EOL process. Next, a member of the Sales team reviewed them and, where appropriate, issued product change or EOL notices to customers, providing them time for last time buy orders when needed. These steps helped reduce the work involved in maintaining these SKUs while not leading to any customer complaints. A final note – sometimes it makes sense to continue offering low selling SKUs – to support customers buying other items (hopefully in larger quantities). It may be worthwhile to encourage them to keep coming back to you for all of their product needs and this may be a way to accomplish that. But it helps to understand that this is truly the case and not assume that this customer would not be equally happy with another, more popular, SKU.   Steven Lustig is founder and CEO of Lustig Global Consulting and an experienced Supply Chain Executive.  He is a recognized thought leader in supply chain and risk mitigation, and serves on the Boards of Directors for Loh Medical and Atlanta Technology Angels.

When it comes to careers, business owners are a minority of the population. In conversations this week, I mentioned the statistics several times, and each owner I was discussing it with was surprised that they had so few peers. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are over 33,000,000 businesses in the US. Let’s discount those with zero employees. Many are shell companies or real estate holding entities. Also, those with fewer than 5 employees, true “Mom and Pop” businesses, are hard to distinguish from a job. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Association, lists businesses with 5 to 99 employees at about 3,300,000, and 123,000 have 100 to 500 employees (the SBA’s largest “small business” classification.) Overall, that means about 1% of the country are private employers. Owners are a small minority, a very small minority, of the population. Even if we only count working adults (161,000,000) business owners represent only a little more than 2% of that population. So What? Where am I going with this, and how does it relate to our recent discussions of purpose in business exit planning? It’s an important issue to consider when discussing an owner’s identity after transition. Whether or not individual owners know the statistics of their “rare species” status in society, they instinctively understand that they are different. They are identified with their owner status in every aspect of their business and personal life. At a social event, when asked “What do you do?” they will often respond “I own a business.” It’s an immediate differentiator from describing a job. “I am a carpenter.” or “I work in systems engineering,” describes a function. “I am a business owner” describes a life role. When asked for further information, the owner frequently replies in the Imperial first person plural. “We build multi-family housing,” is never mistaken for a personal role in the company. No one takes that answer to mean that the speaker swings a hammer all day. Owners are a Minority We process much of our information subconsciously. If a man enters a business gathering, for example, and the others in the room are 75% female, he will know instinctively, without consciously counting, that this business meeting or organization is different from others he attends. Similarly, business owners accept their minority status without thinking about it. They expect that the vast majority of the people they meet socially, who attend their church, or who have kids that play sports with theirs, work for someone else. There are places where owners congregate, but otherwise, they don’t expect to meet many other owners in the normal course of daily activity. This can be an issue after they exit the business. You see, telling people “I’m retired” has no distinction. Roughly 98% of the other people who say that never built an organization. They didn’t take the same risks. Others didn’t deal with the same broad variety of issues and challenges. Most didn’t have to personally live with the impact of every daily decision they made, or watch others suffer the consequences of their bad calls. That is why so many former owners suffer from a lack of identity after they leave. Subconsciously, they expect to stand out from the other 98%. “I’m retired” carries no such distinction.       This article was originally published by John F. Dini, CBEC, CExP, CEPA on

In a recent research study by The Value Builder System™, they analyzed data from 20,000 business owners who completed a Value Builder assessment of their business and discovered that owners who have businesses dependent on them, known as Hub & Spoke owners are facing a 35% discount on the value of their businesses and part of the problem may be the degree of customization they offer. For the purposes of the study, a Hub & Spoke owner is someone who answered the question “Which of the following best describes your personal relationship with your company’s customers?” with the response, “I know each of my customers by first name and they expect that I personally get involved when they buy from my company.”  One reason customers want the owner to personally attend to their project is the degree of customization Hub & Spoke owners offer.  In fact, the study shows that Hub & Spoke owners are more than twice as likely to say they offer a complete custom solution for each customer.  Since the owner is usually the person with the most subject matter expertise inside their company, it’s not surprising customers want the owner’s full attention on their job. The secret to making a business less reliant on its owner is to stop offering a custom solution for every customer.   How Ned MacPherson Built More Value By Doing Less   Ned MacPherson is a digital marketing guru, so it’s not surprising that when he first started offering his time, it was in demand.   In the early days as a consultant, he offered all sorts of growth hacking services. But when demand outstripped his supply of time, Ned had a decision to make. He could either turn away prospective clients or build a team of consultants underneath him.  As a growth guy, the idea of treading water didn’t appeal to Ned, so he opted to build a team. However, to ensure his team could execute without him, Ned decided to focus on one service offering: post-click analysis. Rather than help optimize a website for the entire customer journey, Ned’s company would become one of the world’s leading firms on optimizing a customer’s journey after they opted in to a website.   Most digital marketing consultants offer a wide range of services, but Ned knew it would be impossible to remove himself if they offered help in too many areas. By specializing in post-click analysis, Ned and his team were able to streamline their offering. Demand for Ned’s time started to diminish as his employees became some of the world’s leading experts in a narrow slice of the analytics market.   Within seven years of starting Endrock Growth & Analytics, Ned had 70 employees, more than $2 million a year in EBITDA, and multiple acquisition offers.   

The sale of a business marks a major life event. It’s emotional, stressful, and exciting all at the same time. And unfortunately, it’s often a lot of work. Most business owners will only experience the process of selling a business once in their life. This is both good and bad news. On the bright side, you only need to get through it once. But many business owners aren’t ready for the process and risk leaving money on the table as a result. With many sellers relying on the sale to fund their retirement and lifelong financial goals, getting it right from the start is critical. Here are tips from sell-side business advisors on what to do (and not do) when selling a business. What to do (and not do) when selling a business Start thinking about selling your business early — really early One of the top mistakes sellers make when selling their business is not starting the process early enough. There are many reasons starting last minute can really hurt your bottom line. It’s not uncommon for business owners to assume they’ll never retire at some point during their life. But as often happens, life changes. Perhaps health concerns for you or a spouse make continuing to run your business difficult. Or maybe you eventually lose the excitement when getting up every day and want a change of pace. Sudden sales or immediate retirements Unfortunately, when business owners want to sell with a tight timeline (or fire sale), they may have fewer options to exit. It’s not uncommon for some buyers to want the owner and/or members of the management team to stay on for a period to help with the transition. If there’s an earn-out, it’ll usually require the seller to stick with the company for different milestones (time, financial, or otherwise) to earn the full purchase price. Earn-outs aren’t ideal for sellers, but if you’re unwilling or unable to consider deals with any continuation component, it could impact the sale price, timeline to find a buyer, or both. Make your business more sellable later by getting advice now Business brokers often recommend getting a valuation done years before expecting to sell the company. Sarah Grossman, Principal of BayState Business Brokers in Needham, MA, says this helps sellers “shape their timeline and any financial planning that needs to be completed prior to a sale.” Understanding the fair market value of the company is critical to setting expectations for the seller, but understanding the drivers of the valuation can help increase the sale price over time. Grossman says, “a [business] broker can advise them on things they can do in their business over the next few years to make it more saleable when it does go on the market.” How to maximize your cash at closing Aaron Naisbitt, Managing Director at Dunn Rush & Co, an investment bank focused on sell-side M&A in Boston, MA, emphasizes the importance of going to market and knowing what your business is worth. He says, “the biggest mistake many businesses owners make is not running a competitive process when the business is capable of attracting interest from a broad number of buyers. This mistake most often occurs when the owner has already made the second biggest mistake – not taking the time to educate themselves and prepare adequately for the process.” Not every business will be able to run a competitive process. But those that can, and don’t, “Will leave money and terms on the table if they do not do so” he adds. Getting professional help is key here as trying to negotiate a sale directly with a buyer might be short-sighted. Grossman says it’s not uncommon for sellers to be approached directly by competitors. She cautions sellers considering working with buyers directly as “They could be leaving significant money on the table without a clear understanding of the valuation of their company. Sellers also need to work with a broker and their advisors to understand a typical deal structure so that they can maximize their cash at closing.” The importance of understanding the terms of the deal cannot be overstated. This is where money is made or lost. Naisbitt cautions that sometimes terms can sound really good, but aren’t always common sense. He adds that without an advisor, sellers “Don’t know where to argue.” During negotiations, you have to consider “What is it that’s important to you and what are you willing to give up” he says. Exit planning is not time to DIY — assemble your team of advisors When selling a company, gathering your team of advisors early on is key to getting a successful outcome. Again, odds are you haven’t sold a business before and probably won’t again. We don’t know what we don’t know…and you only have one shot to get this right. Your team of business and personal advisors will be instrumental in getting the deal over the finish line. Your business advisory team may consist of: a business broker or M&A advisor, accounting and tax advisors, and transaction/M&A attorney. On the personal side, your sudden wealth advisor who focuses on helping individuals experiencing a transformative liquidity event. Be sure to involve your wealth advisor in discussions around deal terms too. For example, when considering deal structure, it’s important to ensure alignment with your objectives or financial needs. What are your income needs after the sale or do you have plans for a big purchase? Your advisor can help determine how much cash you need at closing and whether to consider the pros and cons of arrangements like an installment sale. And at closing, a financial advisor can help you determine Section 1202, realizing the gain over time with an installment sale, asset versus stock purchase, or state tax implications such as the charitable goals, legacy objectives for heirs, or estate tax planning strategies. Brokers explain what sellers are most unprepared for during the process Selling a business is a lot of work. In addition to running the company in the usual course of business, sellers also need to comply with a host of due diligence requests from the buyer’s team and the lender financing the transaction. The magnitude of this process is by far the most 

In March 2022, Florida enacted the politically charged Individual Freedom Act, informally known as the STOP WOKE (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act. Less than two years later, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit blocked the enforcement of the Act on the grounds it violates employers’ right to free speech. This decision directly impacts employers in the Eleventh Circuit and will have a ripple effect on employers nationally.   How did the Individual Freedom Act (Stop WOKE Act) affect employers? The Act attempted to prevent employers from mandating training or meetings for employees which “promote” a “certain set of beliefs” the state “found offensive” and discriminatory. There are eight prohibited beliefs each relating to race, color, sex, and national origin. According to the Act, employers must not teach the following: Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another race, color, sex, or national origin. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. An individual’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect due to race, color, sex, or national origin. An individual, based on his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin. An individual, based on his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, and were committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, color, sex, or national origin. Employers still had the ability to mandate employees attend sessions that either refute these concepts or present them in an “objective manner without endorsement.” This dictates how an employer deals with its employees and is particularly limiting in how employers address discrimination training. Employers who failed to adhere to the law were liable for “serious financial penalties—back pay, compensatory damages, and up to $100,000 in punitive damages, plus attorney’s fees—on top of injunctive relief.”   The Ruling – Honeyfund.com Inc. v. Governor [2024] In March 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit served an injunction preventing enforcement of the Act. Despite the state insisting the Act banned conduct rather than speech, the court ruled the Act unlawfully violated the First Amendment’s right of free speech by barring speech based on its content and penalizing certain viewpoints. While certain categories of speech such as “obscenity, fighting words, incitement, and the like” are traditionally unprotected, the court pointed out that “new categories of unprotected speech may not be added to the list by a legislature that concludes certain speech is too harmful to be tolerated.” Florida is keen to appeal against the decision.   What does this mean for employers? Regardless of one’s opinions on the matter, this can be viewed positively from an employer’s standpoint. Employers in the private sector can control speech in the workplace, and this ruling confirms their autonomy will continue. Whether or not the rest of the country will follow suit remains to be seen. This case, in tandem with the US Supreme Court’s ruling to ban race based affirmative action, signals today’s intense political climate is likely to continue to impact how employer diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are approached. Employers should continue to review their DEI initiatives, ensuring they are in line with the latest precedents. Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest local, state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560      

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