Selling Your Business – Informing the Employees

When is the best time to inform employees that you are selling your business? Business brokers and merger and acquisition professionals are asked this question all the time.  The short answer is, “Wait until the transaction is completed,” and with good reason.

Most owners understand that much of the value of their business is embodied in their employees. Employees make the company possible, and many owners develop a close relationship with some of their employees.  Those relationships sometimes lead business owners to want to disclose the potential sale of their business to one or more of their employees.  “They deserve to know” is a common refrain.

There is an enormous risk in sharing this ‘inside information’ with employees.  Confidentiality needs to be maintained.  Once it is common knowledge that your company is for sale (and it will become common knowledge once employees know), it loses value: vendors are less like to sell to you or increase credit limits; customers are less likely to buy for fear of a lack of continuity of the relationship; and employees are less likely to stay.  Once the cat is out of the bag, if you are able to get it back in at all, the damage is already done, and it can take years to redevelop those relationships that made your company valuable in the first place.

While change is scary to some people, nothing is scarier than the unknown.  For example, with one or more employees knowing what is ‘in process’ or being considered, at a minimum the information will be shared with a spouse or close friends.  Invariably, their reactions are to share stories of mass layoffs, companies being relocated, wage and bonus reductions, etc.  It is human nature to fear the unknown and to expect (and perhaps plan) for the worst.  Planning for the worst often involves looking for alternative employment, sharing the news with other employees and, perhaps, outright resignations.  Also understand that when a concerned employee interviews within your industry, the first question they are asked is, “Why are you planning on leaving your current employer?” The answer will put an afterburner on the wildfire of rumors within your industry.  Remember, most buyers expect to have key employees on board when they acquire a business: If one or more of them have departed or indicated that they intent to depart, the value and marketability of your business has clearly been damaged.

Therefore, the best time to make announcements concerning the sale is on the afternoon of the day on which the transaction closes, after the closing is complete.  An employee meeting should be pre-planned to ensure 100% employees attendance.   Once everyone is gathered, you explain your reasons for considering a ‘transition of ownership’ (don’t use the word ‘sale’ or ‘sold’), and that, after a diligent search, you have found the perfect new owner(s).  You can also talk about how there will be a transition period where you will be involved in the operation of the business working with the new owners. The new owners should then be introduced to discuss their backgrounds, share their reasons for wanting to own the company and demonstrate their enthusiasm to do whatever is necessary to grow the business and create more opportunities for everyone. Last but not least, the new owners should honestly indicate that they plan no dramatic changes, that they value the current workforce, and that they want to meet individually with each employee (unless the number is just too large) to get their ideas and suggestions on the best way to grow the business.

In general, anyone who buys your company will want to keep your employees since they represent a significant portion of the value (and continuity) of your business. Massive job losses only occur in extremely rare cases where a new owner relocates the company a great distance, and then usually only after a period of transition.  Experience has taught that when the transition is handled well, virtually all employees perform better under the new management, for the simple reason they want to impress and be on good terms with the new owner.  New owners typically arrive with additional capital, new ideas, perhaps a synergy with an existing business and, almost invariably, a desire to grow the business.   Growth spells new opportunities for employees who want to develop their careers and, in almost all cases, they look forward to working with a new owner.

By keeping the sale of the business totally confidential until the transaction is closed, you are able to both preserve the value of your business and greatly reduce the fear of the unknown from your employees, thus making the transition of ownership a more seamless operation.

Promotional Mugs Are a Delightful Way to Share Business Information

With custom promotional mugs, you have a low cost but highly effective way to be able to reach out to people. Getting information out there about what you offer, how people can contact you, and building your brand are all key to longevity. You want your business to continue to grow and to be profitable. Not only right now, but may decades into the future.

Not all of your advertising dollars need to be focused on pushing products or services you offer. Some of them, such as custom promotional mugs, offer a wonderful way to thank customers and even business contacts for their relationship with you. This is a product most will use so it doesn’t get thrown in a drawer and forgotten.

Make sure you pay for very well made custom promotional mugs though. They should be durable with a lid that fits very good. If the product isn’t quality made, people aren’t going to be happy to use it. The goal is to make it something that is convenient for them and they will reach for it time and time again. Each time they do, they see your business information.

Grab them with Information

The lettering should be large enough they don’t have to get squinty trying to read it. The colors should be reflective of your company logo and other details. This is important so the person using it makes that visual connections to your business when they see it. Keep in mind, the product should be able to hold up well with the lettering too.

If it washes off when you clean the custom promotional mugs or when you put them in the dishwasher, it defeats the purpose. When the flaking starts, the quality of appearance starts to be compromised. This can cause some users to toss it out rather than to continue using it. Even if they do continue using it, the message you share is hindered.

Maximize the Space

You have plenty of space to complete your layout on custom promotional mugs. With that in mind, add a logo and your quotes for the business. Add your phone number, address, and website. To help build trust, add when your business started too if it has been a few years. This will show them you aren’t a flash in the pan business, but rather one that is here to stay!

Pick your Provider

You want custom promotional mugs that look great, hold up over time, and serve your marketing message with information. Share all of this with the provider you plan to work with and see what they can come up with for you. Find a provider who doesn’t charge anything to consult with them and share what they can offer to you. Find out what the price will be per unit.

Often, they will offer you tremendous savings if you buy a larger amount. This reduces the per unit cost so you save money. This is the type of promo item you can give away any time of the year and for any reason. They aren’t going to be out of style any time soon either so there is no reason not to buy in bulk and save. You don’t need tons of space to store them either!

Find out about the quality of the work the provider does before you talk to them about doing work for you. The last thing you need is to be embarrassed by the quality of what they deliver. It is an extension of your business, and it needs to show you care about quality on every level.

Software Telemarketing – Best Means in Handling Sensitive Business Information

One of the best functions that ERP software manufacturers and resellers provide is a means of transmitting and organizing business information in the most streamlined manner possible. Providers of that kind of software focus their role in rooting deficiencies in a company’s ERP.

However, do take note though that since ERP is an integral part in the stability of a company’s structure, it’s not surprising that plenty of companies aren’t willing to admit that there could be something wrong with it. That information is sensitive. It may not be as sensitive as information pertaining to national security, but if you’re a mega-corporation, it can come a close second to that. Some of them would even go as far as desperately search for an adequate ERP software developer whilst declining to answer any questions (like ones posed by a competitor’s spies) on the possible flaws in their ERP.

Do remember though that it’s never a wise course of action for a business to just wait around for a desperate buyer. The competition will leave them behind. Therefore, how does one go about sparking interest in their product without triggering this defense mechanism of denial?

Telemarketing firms exist as a solution to that. In the practice of B2B lead generation, telemarketing agents are trained extensively to know exactly the right questions to task and are determined enough not to let rejection stop them. Furthermore, they have largely invested in databases chock full of businesses who might have problems that only good ERP software can provide. Couple that with expert data analysts who organize and refine their information to suit a client’s preferences, you have a means that is fast, wide-covering, and also cost-efficient.

To top it off, all those employed by such companies are sworn to the secrecy of whatever sensitive information they obtain (be it from you or from the contacts they have). The security of their information is critical to their standing. They will not just give it to anyone and those they contact are guaranteed both privacy and discreet use of what they have been given.

Controversial as this may sound, every company has secrets it doesn’t want leaking out. Be that secret come in the form of information about a future product, outlines for marketing plans, or problems with the company’s ERP unnoticed by the general public, sensitive information like that can be exploited by their competitors (or worse). It is therefore understandable that they take whatever measure to make sure that information remains within company bounds. If that means declining questions or even straight-face denial, then there’s not much choice.

The downside to that though is it also locks out the inquiries of people like you, who are honestly just wanting to know if there is anything your software can do for them. Outsourcing to a telemarketing firm can help bypass that by lending you not only a private database of people on the look out for aid but also the expertise of agents who ask only the right questions without triggering any alarms.

Catering Business Information and Tips

Does everyone love your food? Do you create mouth-watering dishes that have people talking? Then starting a catering business may be just the breakthrough you needed. Why would a creative person like you who has that kind of talent work for someone else? This is the time to channel all your vigor and ideas into something you really love. Being your own boss can be challenging but running your own catering business will give you the opportunity of a lifetime. The only boundaries that are placed on you are those you place on yourself.

The catering business provides service for small or large parties, weddings, or even private dinner parties. A corporate event such as conferences, meetings, employee morale boosters, and grand openings looks for the services of a catering business.

The most important part of running any business is gaining clients. The ideal thing to do is to hire a sales person with a great personality in the catering business. If you are not the sales type and you are dealing with different clients including corporate executives, party planners, and nervous brides a sale person may very well be accommodating. The main ingredient to close the sale is to convince the client that the occasion will be memorable, the food will be presented appealingly and served quickly and discreetly. Networking with similar business will prove well to create a referral network to increase business. Successful caterers introduce themselves to other people and businesses that are involved in party and event planning as well. Good business in which to network are bridal boutiques, pastry chefs, wedding planners, florists, party supply, card and shop keepers.

Build a relationship with these businesses. Make sure they have your business cards and brochures. Check in with them often by dropping in with some tasty desserts or some hors d’oeuvres. They will remember you for that and may even result in some referrals. Create sales letters and brochure and send them to corporate offices requesting an appointment to talk about your services.

Follow it up with a phone call. Your accomplishment with catering will be directly linked to the strength of your planning, and the execution of that plan. Thirty percent in the catering business is food while the rest goes to delivery, transporting the food, lining up rental equipment, and juggling personnel. You will need to understand exactly, in writing, what your client wants, and deliver that in a way that reflects upon the client positively. Your organizational skills really count here.

To succeed in this business you must prioritize the tasks and devote your best effort to completing each task successfully. Show enthusiasm, discipline, and always aim to keep the clients happy. Have patience and understanding at all times to make the best out of any situation.