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The stages of a transition: Showcasing your brand

April 25, 2016 by Klaus Uhlig
When we consider the mergers and acquisitions process, there are four distinct stages that most every business must go through to get to the finish line. Regardless of whether a business owner is looking to buy or sell, the transition must always go through some form of these four phases.

• Valuation
• Preparation
• Execution
• Integration

In short, during the valuation and preparation phases, an experienced financial advisory professional should work with a business owner to examine every aspect of the company to advise on the necessary adjustments in order to maximize that business’s value. Business plans are evaluated, profitability records are examined and expenses are inspected; all in an effort to maximize value. That’s traditionally the process which investment bankers follow; it’s generally just about the numbers.

So where does a creative director fit into this picture?

Easily. Valuating and preparing a business for a transition also means effectively positioning it in the marketplace or sector. It’s not just about the financials – it’s also about appearances. What your company looks and sounds like and what folks know and think about your business also weighs in.

And just like a homeowner has a list of ‘little things’ to spruce up before putting their house up for sale, a business owner must do the same. And the face of the company, such as packaging, website and other branded collateral, is the most common places in need of a facelift.

To help you put your best foot forward, takes a look at your brand through a fresh set of eyes. Is it reflective of the times? How does it compare to that of your peers and competitors? Do the graphics and writing accurately reflect the voice and tone of your company? And most importantly, how do your customers and potential customers perceive your brand?

These questions aren’t to suggest that a company looking to make a major transition first needs a major brand overhaul. But, by creating a refreshed website or by putting a fresh coat of paint on branded collateral, you are creating a much better first impression.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – sellers aspire to a price whereas buyers perceive value. Selling your business is like selling your house. The people who make cosmetic changes before putting their house on the market, usually fetch a better price because their house shows well. The same theory applies to the presentation of your business.

Is your business remarkable or invisible?

April 05, 2016 by Klaus Uhlig
As a business owner, the first thing you need to do when preparing for any sort of significant transition is to take a good, hard look at your business. Whether you’re looking to sell your business or purchase another business, you need to make sure that your own house is in order first.

Before doing anything else, ask yourself this one question: “is my business remarkable or invisible?”

If you truly see it as remarkable – in that it stands out in the marketplace or sector in its own unique way and there’s nothing you can do to improve it or make it appear more attractive – then go ahead with your big transition. But chances are, although your business is likely not completely invisible, some improvements are probably still necessary.

Just like a well-staged house typically fetches a higher price, a well-organized business with marketing and branding that accurately reflect its current position in the marketplace also fairs better in the mergers and acquisitions realm.

And, just like preparing a home for sale, it takes time to turn an average business into one that is truly remarkable. How much time depends on how much work you need or want to do. Before getting started, answer these five questions:

1. What’s most appealing about our company?
2. Does my business look yester-year and need a face-lift?
3. What is our brand worth?
4. Are we putting our best foot forward?
5. What would make our company more valuable?

 To help you get your house in order, we start by conducting a “brand audit,” an assessment to see where your business fits in the market/sector. By doing that analysis, we can then frame and position your company in the best possible light.

Remember, while sellers aspire to a price, buyers perceive value – so our job is to make you noticeable, build awareness, and gain traction to give you the highest possible level of visibility in the marketplace.