News

  • 07 Feb

    Your Journey to Performing Higher – Step 2

    Step 2: Advancement

    At Eagle Corporate Advisors, we help you chart a course, cross bridges, avoid obstacles and stay on track to keep you and your business on the best path to your success. We call this roadmap “The Six A’s.”

    In our last issue, we talked about Assessment, in which we perform an objective comprehensive analysis of all factors which may impact your growth or transition strategy. This includes understanding your business position and personal goals from objective and subjective points of view.

    In this month’s newsletter, I want to focus on Advancement, which is the second A. Advancement involves developing the proper action plan and timeline to help make your dreams a reality.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  Why do you want to change or improve?  What will you accomplish? When will you have time to work on your course corrections?  When will you reach your destination?  How will you do it?  How will you find the resources and time to implement each action?  Who will be accountable for each step?  Will you try to take on more than you can handle and give up too soon?

    To truly advance along the path, you need a clear set of written instructions for your journey. Not only does this cover your “who, what, when, how and why,” but your accountability, focus, tracking, use of resources and much more.  You may want to re-visit the Planning section of the January 2019 newsletter as a review of some of the steps to be taken.

    There are several fundamental areas of your business that will need to be considered while determining what will be advanced first, second, third and so on.  Improving and advancing the transferrable value of your business is not a short process.  It can be simple, but definitely not easy.  Some of the areas to consider are Planning, Leadership, Sales, Marketing, People, Operations, Finance and Legal. Each has many parts and pieces that interconnect with the other primary areas.  Obtaining balance among them all is critical before you can successfully and significantly raise the quality of the whole batch.

    As you can see, this step is quite complex. You may find you need a company like ours to help you stay the course as you maneuver through the eight fundamental business areas that need to be reviewed and improved:

    • Planning – A company with a strong vision and mission supported by a fully-developed written business plan, and an understanding of its target market, competition, and barriers to entry, has significant advantage and value over other companies.
    •  Leadership – Your company’s transferrable value is increased when it has an active board of directors, a cooperative senior management team that effectively communicates within a positive culture, and can stay on track without constant interference from ownership.
    • Sales – High value companies have the ability to deliver on the sales promises made to the marketplace and to do it in a systematic and reliable process-driven manner.
    • Marketing – This includes a thorough marketing plan, appropriate positioning, use of technology, and public relations, along with predictable accurate implementation of marketing to generate sustainable sales.
    • People – Your business value depends on its ability to hire, develop and retain quality individuals. The right people can strengthen culture, ethics, customer relations, production, innovation and other aspects of operations.
    • Operations – Your company needs systems and documented processes in place to deliver on the promises made to the marketplace in an efficient and effective manner, allowing it to scale to the next level or region.
    • Finance – All of your company’s financial matters must be in order while following best practices. These include clean audits, readable financial statements, operating reports, adequate tax planning, insurance protection, use of current technology, and proper banking and capitalization strategies.
    • Legal – You have all legal matters in order, documented, including intellectual property. There are no claims for or against your company, you have a process to handle potential liability issues, and you have contracts with key customers, suppliers, advisors and contractors.
    By chuck News
  • 11 Jan
  • 08 Jan

    Your Journey to Performing Higher – Step 1

    Step 1: Assess

    Entrepreneurship, much like life itself, is a journey that begins with a single step. In fact, for most business owners, the line between the professional and personal is virtually nonexistent. So where to start?

    At Eagle Corporate Advisors, we highly recommend beginning with an assessment of your current position, essentially a comprehensive analysis of all factors to show you where you are today before making decisions which may impact your short term and long-term strategies. You can’t map out where you’re going until you determine where you are.

    The assessment covers your business position and personal goals from objective and subjective standpoints. From the personal perspective, it may begin with the simple question, “What does success mean to me?” Is it money in the bank, peace of mind, work/life balance, becoming the major player in your market category, leaving a lasting legacy? All of the above? There are no wrong or right answers, only ones that are meaningful to you. From the business perspective, it may begin with the question, “Do we have a written strategic plan?” Has the plan been communicated and adopted by everyone in the company? Who is responsible for achieving each portion of the plan? Who is going to ensure we stay focused when the phone rings or the next potential customer asks for services outside of your plans? In our February issue, we’ll address the next step on your path to personal, financial and emotional freedom.

    By chuck News
  • 08 Jan

    January Compass: Goal Setting

    Have you entered the New Year with confidence and optimism? Doubt and uncertainty? A combination of both?

    There’s nothing wrong with tempering your positivity with a healthy dose of realism. In our experience, the best way to balance the two is to take a proactive approach to goal setting.

    “A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline. That goal will remain a dream unless you create and execute a plan of action to accomplish it. Every goal that gets accomplished has a good plan behind it.”
    Harvey Mackay

    You’ve probably heard the term SMART goals, an acronym to help ensure that your goals are clear and reachable:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound

    A goal without these guidelines is little more than a wish. While you’re at it, make the “achievable” part just a little out of reach. Like a road trip with many planned pit stops to refuel and assess your progress, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how often you reach your destination and beyond.

    By chuck News
  • 08 Jan

    January GPS: Fundamentals Planning

    Fundamentals Planning

    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

    What is Planning?

    A basic management function involving formulation of one or more detailed plans to achieve optimum balance of needs or demands with the available resources. The planning process*:

    (1) identifies the goals or objectives to be achieved,

    (2) formulates strategies to achieve them,

    (3) arranges or creates the means required

    (4) implements, directs, and monitors all steps in their proper sequence.

    Planning can be a scary word for many business owners. After all, it never takes place in a vacuum. We need to consider and monitor the many outside forces over which we have little or no control: the local, national and international economy; political decisions; changes to laws and regulations; the arrival of new competitors; even the outbreak of a regional conflict half a world away. All of us, even those who do this for a living, are staring into crystal balls that are cloudy at best. And yet, an imperfect plan is far better than no plan at all.

    In order to plan properly, a written strategic plan should be developed that includes the Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics, Actions and Tasks. Each of these levels of planning is necessary to be effective and to be able to implement the plan successfully. The plan needs to be created with your entire executive team in order to obtain buy-in and alignment with the individuals and departments that will be taking the steps to fulfill the plan.

    When facilitating the planning process, typically done by an outside facilitator like ECA, several questions must be asked of the team. Who will be involved? What is the current status of the situation or organization? What are we going to do and why? When will the plan and activities start and end? How will we measure our success? Where will the planning take place? How will we accomplish the tasks, actions, tactics, strategies and objectives? What resources are available?

    The Army Handbook of 1973 addresses two key questions that must be asked when planning:

    -What are all the ingredients necessary for its successful execution?

    -What are all the possible forces or events that could hinder or destroy it?

    Too often, when ideas or plans are conceived, they are not clearly written out with specific timelines or accountability assignments, and rarely are the potential obstacles stated and how these might be overcome during the planning process.

    If you’ve put off your business planning until now, it’s not too late. If you’re feeling hesitant or overwhelmed, feel free to reach out any time. A simple conversation might be all it takes to put you on the path to performing higher.

     

    *http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/planning.html

    By chuck News
  • 16 Apr
    Business owners’ exit strategy shouldn’t start with a for-sale sign

    Business owners’ exit strategy shouldn’t start with a for-sale sign

    Image

    From the creation of a business, a business owner should be thinking of the exit strategy. Preparing a business for sale — whether to a family member or complete stranger — shouldn’t take place when the owner decides retirement is in the near future. Plans to sell a business should begin the day the doors open.

    There are five things an owner needs to check off the list before a business is ready for sale. But first, a quick test: Can the owner leave on vacation for a month and the business run smoothly, without any hiccups? The employees left to operate the business should be able to provide the owner with a one-page report regarding the business during that time.

    If the answer is “no” to the above, then the owner can revisit the following checklist to help prepare.

    • Clean financials: Keeping clean books is the foundation of any business, and when it’s up for sale, it’s the first thing potential buyers look at to establish business stability, value and future growth potential. A business should have three to five years of clean financial statements, with tax returns to match, preferably trending upward.

    • Leadership team: A business is only as good as the team that leads it. Is there a steady, knowledgeable team in place to operate the business while the owner is on a monthlong vacation? Potential buyers want to know a business can be successful with the current team. A good team can be a bargaining chip in a sale, and stay on after the transition, especially if it provides intangible assets, such as knowledge, creativity, expertise and processes.

    • Minimize risk: During the creation of a business’ strategic plan, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were identified. And although this analysis is important to the creation of a business, it’s also integral to the sale. Risks can be anything from customer concentration, cybersecurity, improper branding, supplier, vendor, legal or employee issues. They can all play into the value of the sale. New buyers don’t want to inherit problems, so taking a hard look at the business, including the risks and weaknesses, and fixing those problems will only help increase the value and price point of the sale. You can’t just tell the potential buyer that a particular issue can be fixed later; if so, a price discount for any outstanding risks would be negotiated.

    • Determine the most valuable part of the business: Intangible assets can’t be easily replaced or purchased. A good team, with everything stated above, can be one of those valuable intangible assets. Looking at the company as a whole, a creative culture, streamlined workflow processes and methodology can be highly valuable to potential buyers, if it helps the company function and be successful on a higher level. Providing potential buyers with assets they can’t purchase anywhere else increases the strength and thereby price point of a business sale.

    • Is the owner personally ready? This is a loaded question, as an owner may or may not be ready before any of the above has been met. However, if all items have been checked off this list, and the owner is able to go on vacation without a hitch, the following is important: Is the owner financially, psychologically and emotionally ready to sell the business? Will the sale of the business financially provide him or her with enough to be comfortably sustained throughout the next phase of life? The owner needs to know what is financially needed to either retire, purchase another business or whatever the next stage holds.

    A business plan helps set the course for the beginning stages of a business, and its strategic plan gives it a map for increments of growth. The sale of a business — essentially the third stage of a business’s life — requires the same amount of planning. If there isn’t a plan, the business isn’t ready for sale. If the owner doesn’t have a plan, the deal will fall apart.

    Chuck Mohler owns Eagle Corporate Advisors.

    Business

    This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.

    By chuck News
  • 08 Jan
    Proper business valuation is a roadmap to success

    Proper business valuation is a roadmap to success

    Business owners commonly ask themselves, “What is my business worth?” In a perfect world, they would already know. In truth, it’s a complex answer to a relatively simple question.

    In the next dozen years, approximately 250,000 business owners in the United States will try to exit. Only 50,000 will be deemed market-ready. Of those, 30,000 will go through with the transaction, 16,000 of which will sell with concessions and 14,000 at the owner’s desired value. The success rate of these attempts is forecasted at 5 percent.

    The reason? Business owners weren’t proactive and didn’t understand the importance of tracking their valuation, a financial blueprint of a business’s worth.

    Valuations should be done annually. As with many tasks in business, it’s easier to maintain once initiated the first time.

    Business owners need to understand that a business valuation varies based on purpose. Different purposes will cause different values. Reasons to seek a business valuation include establishing a baseline — where am I? — or an exit strategy that includes selling the business, transitioning to another co-owner, keeping the business in the family, or during the estate-planning process. A valuation also can be a valuable, ongoing business decision tool for diversifying risk, borrowing money or planning to grow the business.

    It is crucial to step outside of the business and look back at the whole picture from a third-party perspective to examine how the value of the business will affect the rest of the business owner’s life. Many times, business owners are working in their business instead of working on their business.

    The valuation process consists of determining the purpose for the valuation and standard of value; conducting a financial, economic and industry analysis; and finally, determining a valuation using the various approaches of cost, market or income before a range of values becomes apparent. In short, it’s an intimate look at the business behind the curtain — including finding the company’s weak links — and a detailed look at the books. In this case, an independent, certified valuator — not the company CPA or lawyer — should complete a valuation.

    It may sound scary and a bit invasive, but there are big benefits to completing a business assessment and evaluation beyond just peace of mind and a good gauge as to where a business stands. A valuation allows business owners to assess and thereby reduce risks, align their team, enhance access to capital, achieve goals, and become more effective, controllable, predictable and sustainable when improvements are implemented to increase the value.

    Like a solid business plan, a complete business assessment and evaluation is a roadmap to success. It allows business owners to know where they are and, more importantly, where they can go.

    Chuck Mohler is the owner of Eagle Corporate Advisors.

    By chuck News