Differentiate Your Business And Make It Easier And Less Stressful To Sell.
To sell a product or service, you must differentiate it. Your product is your business, so differentiate your business. Why should you act any differently just because it is a business. It is really just a bigger ticket product.
Remember that you can differentiate your business on the basis of features and/or benefits. If I recall correctly there is a saying that features tell and benefits sell. Meaning that talking about the features is not enough. You need to convert them into corresponding benefits to potential buyers. You can't rely on them to make the conversion. They may not know enough about your business, or its market place to do it.
Let's examine a couple of ways for you to differentiate your business, so you can understand it better. Suppose it is highly profitable, with much better margins than others in your industry. Potential buyers will like that when you tell them. Some will see the benefit as giving them more personal cash. Others will see as the benefit, that it will be easier to debt finance. Still others will see the benefit as a cost structure able to be profitable when others aren't. A superior ability to withstand economic reversals.
Don't leave it to chance. After you communicate the point of differentiation, superior margins, communicate the various related benefits. Don't rely on the prospect to recognize all of them on his own. Differentiation on the basis of real superiority must be your mission. That means you must build differentiable excellence into the performance of your business. It must be real, and must be verifiable.
Suppose you want to differentiate your business based on marketing excellence. Let's skip the benefits for the moment. How will you explain marketing excellence? One way is to be able to truthfully state that you have five different proven ways to develop business prospects. You can then name them as follows: direct mail, trade publication advertising, referrals, strategic alliances, and a web site. You can also point out that you know the lifetime value of a customer, so know how much you can profitably spend to acquire a customer.
On top of that you know your customer acquisition cost for each of these different marketing methods. You know that to acquire more customers, you need only increase the intensity of your various proven ways. On top of all that you can increase your communications effort with existing customers. As you know, they are your most reliable and cost effective sources of business. A critical component of marketing excellence is to know your numbers, and be able to demonstrate their validity.
Without being too repetitive, your challenge is to ruthlessly scrutinize your business searching for areas of proven and provable excellence. They will be based on documented systems and processes. Their performance must not rely on the superior skill of any one individual, In the novel the Caine Mutiny, someone described the US Navy as a system designed by a genius, to be run by idiots. A good way to think about the systems and processes used to differentiate your business.
As you go through this process, remember other types of excellence such as location, if it is important. And reputation if it attracts sales opportunities to your business. Now we get to the really tough part. What if you can't seem to identify any legitimate ways in which your business can be differentiated based on excellence? And what if your inability to identify them is not related to your lack of insight or imagination? If there are none?
If you can find no existing way to differentiate your business, you better build some excellence into your business. Without it, it will be difficult to sell, and you will not get what you want for it.
Examine every activity that your business does. Think about things that it doesn't do but could do to make life easier or better for your customers. Once you have identified each of them, you have identified activities that might become differentiable points of excellence. Determine which will be the easiest to develop, and go to it. And go on from that success.
You need to have something to sell, rather than just a lease and some fixtures. You want the prospective customer to see that it will be a sound business move paying a premium for your business, instead of buying something else at a lower price, but having no differentiable excellence.
Differentiate Your Business
Prepare Your Business For Sale
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