7 things a business buyer will pay a premium for – #7 People

August 25, 2011Post by Laura Humphreys

A business buyer will pay a premium for a business they feel sure will run without its owner. Unless you are planning to sell a concept or a leveraged business model (business models for exit are covered in the liber8yourbusiness programme), you are going to need people in your business to help you grow.   If you do it right, the people you hire and train will be the people that your buyer will want to run the business they buy.  So they are going to have a great interest in the people working for you.

Your people are a crucial key to the successful sale of your business.  And business buyers will pay a premium for great people.

 Hiring the right people

It costs twice as much (if not more) to fire someone as it does to hire them.  Getting the right people to join your team is CRITICAL.  I have been through some ugly employment disputes and learned the hard way how true that statement is.  Do get advice.  Using recruitment companies to hire people is worth the fee they charge, but if you feel you can’t afford their commissions be sure to get other people to help you interview.  Learn how to ask good interview questions.  Don’t do all the talking.  Don’t be afraid to make an interviewee work hard.  And trust your gut.  You know your business and your culture.  Do not hire someone who can do the job but won’t fit in.  Your team will reject them and it will be impossible to get rid of them.

Training people

Remember you are cloning people to run the company so that you don’t have to. You need to create very clear guidelines for how things are done in your company.  Make sure that your people are crystal clear on the culture, the processes and expectations.  Then let them do their job!

Get your ego out of the way

The hardest thing when you are growing your own business is to let others run the show.  When you hire juniors, it is critical that you clone them and teach them to do things exactly the way you would.  But when you hire senior people, it’s critical that you do not try to clone them.  You have to share the glory and let them have some input into the way the company operates.  Involve them in business planning, encourage their contribution to major decisions, and let them build a strong relationship with your favourite customers.


One often overlooked area in business planning is your Shareholders’ Agreement if you have a business partner.  This agreement defines the nature of your partnership and in particular your agreement around the end goals for the business.  It’s important that your business partner/s also have a goal to sell the business in the future and that you have some agreement around what will happen when the opportunity arises.