7 things a business buyer will pay a premium for #6 – Systems

August 11, 2011Post by Laura Humphreys

Let’s recap.  You have attracted a potential buyer with your unique offering, your powerful brand and your fantastic reputation in your industry.  They have looked at your books and can see the locked in future earning potential of your business.  (By the way, I’m not listing it as a key ingredient for getting a premium price, but if you are going to sell your business at any price you must have good looking accounts… tight on expenses, high on profitability with a healthy balance sheet).   They can also see that your clients are of a very high quality and not likely to walk when you do.

What else are they going to be looking at as you determine the value of the business to them?  They will start to look at how the business is run.  They will want to feel sure that they can take it over with ease and that it will continue to run well once its owner (you) is taken out of the picture.  They will want to review your business systems.

You simply cannot underestimate the value of tight systems.  I am one of the world’s most disorganised people and yet I love systems.  Because systems set you free. They tell others how you want the business run.  They keep consistency.  They ensure reliability.  And clever, well implemented systems using technology can make your whole business run with minimum human input.  If you haven’t already given the systems in your business serious consideration, now’s the time to do it.

Looking at the critical systems list below, conduct an internal audit on the robustness of your current systems.  What systems are documented under each section?  If a new person walked into your business tomorrow, would they know what to do without you telling them?   Set a goal for yourself to document the processes in each area by a certain date.

Critical Systems list

  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Client Management/customer relations
  • Service delivery (your product)
  • Product development
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Technology