Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Travel Insurance

The following article was published in the April 2013 issue of The Insurance & Investment Journal.  It discusses some of the things that could go wrong when you travel out of your home province and what you need to do to protect yourself.

Build your Business to Sell It – Notes from a Workshop

The AIC Clarity Series: Build your Business to Sell It – a Workshop
May 27, 2013
Led by:
Cheryl Rankin
Heather Freed, CFP, CLU, CHS

These are notes from a workshop given at the Association of Independent Consultants on Monday, May 27, 2013.  

What to sell?
If you were to sell your business, what could you sell?  Some businesses are sold as a complete package and others can only sell specific pieces.  Many of these items will also affect the price that you are able to ask for your business.

-          stock (raw or finished product)
-          machines
-          client list (not the business cards, a list that is in Excel or some other format)
-          contact list
-          assets (e.g. bouncy tables)
-          property (e.g. land or buildings)
-          contracts / agreements
-          brand / name / website
-          intellectual property (patents, trademark, service)
-          revenue (1 year) / goodwill
-          book of business (financial  / insurance industries that give you customers and residual income / trailers)
-          phone number
-          process (how to get clients, process, staff – franchise)
-          training program
-          active employees (knowledge)
-          receivables
-          tax losses (special circumstances)

Who to sell to? (Plan)
Even though you may have an idea / plan of who you would like to sell your business to – the plan may not come together so you are best to have other options.

-          children take over
-          children buy it
-          existing management or employees buy it
-          competitor
-          client / customer
-          supplier / vendor
-          investor
-          sell to someone in transition (unemployed and just got a buy out)
-          sell and stay in business as employee or consultant
-          partner buy-out
-          someone buys in as a partner
-          foreign investor
-          immigrant
-          new business owner who does not want to start a business from scratch

In order to make your business sellable, it needs to be able to run without you.
Operating the business without you
The majority of small business owners are the main source of knowledge and work efforts, so if the business owner is not part of the business any more then the business is not as valuable and may not be able to run.  What do you need to do in order to have your business survive a week or a month without you?
-          document all procedures (operations manual / standard operating procedures SOP)
o   it’s not tangible if it’s not documented
o   critical checklists
o   suggestion to systemize everything with post-it notes
-          who can check voicemail and email?
-          list of contacts in one place
-          trained back-up
-          ** passwords** (do not share passwords but have a way to get someone passwords if it becomes necessary)
-          rotate employees in different positions
-          financial access – make sure someone else has access
-          virtual assistant / bookkeeper
-          list of current projects
-          signing authority (with appropriate restrictions)
-          key dates / key actions
-          assessment of existing employees and what they can / should be doing
-          communication plan
-          do a test run
-          buy to see the process through financial records / plans

Next step(s)

What do you plan to do to take your business a step forward to making it more sellable?  Here are some of the steps that AIC attendees stated that they need to take for their business to move forwards and make it more sellable.
-          Document client services procedures
-          Document business procedures
-          E-Myth  by Michael Gerber (book)
-          Bring contact list up to date
-          Keep task list up to date
-          Passwords
-          Clone themselves
-          Automate
-          Create systems
-          Document “what I do”
-          Set guidelines / restrictions for coverage
-          Key list of contacts – suppliers / partners
-          Get organized
-          Practice running the business from Florida (run itself)
-          Power of attorney
-          Signing authority (phone bill example)
-          Client list
-          Train / hire a consultant
-          Passwords – only if necessary