- In a 1996 tax and bond package promised light rail from the airport to the University District and virtually guaranteed it would be done in 10 years and within budget (no additional taxes the County Exec said).
- In 2008 “rebooted” the project for a shorter run (only to the stadium), another eight years, and with a new budget (a lot more money).
- A 2016 announcement they finished on-time and on budget.
- The previous admin seems to have gone MIA and no active marketing had been done. Only passive marketing, a listing on the website. Their other recent classes also experienced low attendance.
- They did two email blasts to their list and picked up 15 people in one week.
If you’ve read my books, articles, newsletters, or blog posts you know I stress, heavily stress, the buying and selling of a small business is a relationship game.
In my rules of buying and selling, I state, “If cash is king, relationships are the queen and like in chess, the queen is the most powerful piece on the board.”
Based on feedback, readers get my point. So why don’t (all) my clients? The following is something a client sent me, after skipping the step of meeting with the seller to discuss valuation ranges and deal structures.
Well, one thing that I learned from this is that we should always present a value/preliminary offer in person. Based on your notes, he clearly did not understand our intention in laying out the factors that could impact value.
Technology makes it too easy to take shortcuts. Email, voicemail, texting, etc. are great for some things, but not for sensitive issues, issues where body language and inflection can play a huge part. Or when it’s possible to misunderstand the context or ultimate objective.
Someone recently told me they flew from Seattle to LA for one meeting. A meeting less than 30 minutes, but they secured the business. It would have been easy to call or write but the in person visit added so much value it’s unbelievable.
As I write this from home I’m looking out the window at blossoming trees, grass seeming to grow as I watch it, and weeds taking over our garden.
It strikes me our businesses are a lot like my yard. The things we don’t care about, weeds, don’t need fertilizer or care. The things we do care about, flowers, vegetables, and grass, need constant care.
In our businesses we have to pay attention to our:
- Customers, or they leave to do business with a competitor.
- Employees, or they goof off, get bored, leave, etc.
- Culture, or productivity drops, the good people, who have many options, leave so we are left with a “C” level team.
- Equipment, or it breaks, makes bad a product, or slows down.
- Marketing, this being as or more important than any of the above because if we don’t do it we don’t need to worry about our customers, employees, culture, equipment, or anything else.
The owner of a $20MM company recently told me he feels there’s a tremendous amount of resources available to help him and other owners. The problem often is we (individually and collectively) are often too stubborn to think we need or to ask for help.
One resource is my book If They Can Sell Pet Rocks Why Can’t You Sell Your Business (For What You Want)? (At www.amazon.com.)
- My house has to be worth more than the others around here.
- My car is in great shape and hasn’t depreciated as much as others like it.
- My business is special, it’s not like others, and it’s worth more than conventional wisdom holds.