Begin by defining your intention with a strong WHY.
Get seriously clear about your purpose, because it
will make a big difference in when you sell, to whom,
and for how much.
Is it lifestyle planning? Maybe you want the
freedom to get off the road. You may want to develop
a model designed to provide residuals or royalties off
of products such as training programs.
“My plan was to build a scalable business from
the beginning because I never wanted the business
to be tied to me personally. Tied to my name and my
work, yes. But never dependent on me showing up
someplace. I wanted ultimate freedom,” says Dianna
Booher, MA, CSP, CPAE. (See “High-Altitude Advice”
on p. 31.)
Is it retirement planning? Maybe you view your
business as a potential nest egg when you’re ready to
retire. In that case, you’ll want to build a business with
a high value that can maximize the upfront payoff.
That generally means a transferable operational model
with high revenue and consistent clientele.
You will need to plan with the help of your financial advisor so that you know what target to hit in
company valuation to receive the income you need.
Is it succession planning? Maybe you want, or
need, to move on to another venture. Scaling a business to a salable position can provide a significant
capital infusion for the next phase of your career
while allowing your creation to continue flourishing
under someone else’s leadership.
In this case, you have considerable flexibility
over the timing and payment structure. There’s a
greater emphasis on the compatibility of the buyer.
When I set my intention in 2008 to build a business to sell, I wanted it for lifestyle planning with a
projected timeline of 15 years. The plan accelerated
dramatically when, six years into the company’s
development, while on the highway for work, I was
hit by a semi-truck going 65 miles per hour. I could
tell the whole story, but this isn’t an article about
me, just as my business wasn’t really about me.
Because I had scaled my business properly,
it continued to operate while I was hospitalized
for months. My team fulfilled all of our contracts
with the boss completely out of the picture. When
I was ready, the business was salable. All of the
forethought and planning provided for a smooth
transition at a time when I needed it most. I successfully sold the business less than a year after the
collision and began transitioning my career.
In order to scale a business, you need a solid
team. Many speaking businesses, particularly
keynoters, rely on a cult of personality. Scalability
means thinking differently about who and what
you are marketing.
Design products and/or content that can be
presented by someone else. Let go of the idea that
others must be just like you in order to present
your content. They really don’t. Does your photo
or video even need to be in the marketing materials? For scalability, clients should focus on great
products and great results, not your platform personality. To sell a speaking-related business, you
have to position everything so a potential buyer
would think, “Oh yeah, I could do that!”
2DO NOT CLIMB SOLO No
Six years into the company’s development,
while on the highway for work, I was hit by a
semi-truck going 65 miles per hour. Because
I had scaled my business properly, it continued
to operate while I was hospitalized for months.