Writing a Confidential Information Memorandum or Known as “Getting Naked”

If you are interested in selling your business and in the process of understanding how to secure the buyer and your prices, you must “get naked” and provide the potential buyer with a detailed package of information about your business. Merger & Acquisition professionals refer to this as Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM). The purpose of the CIM is to provide the buyer with enough information to generate an initial offer, called a Letter of Intent (LOI).

The CIM is a detailed brochure about your company that includes the facts that communicate your business differentiation to other businesses. It is also a marketing document that discusses both the features and benefits. According to “The Art of Selling Your Business” by John Warrillow, the sections that should be included in a CIM are:

Your business and its operations:

  • What makes your business model unique? For example, do you have a specialty that is superior, and you have many accolades in your area?
  • What do you do better than your competitors?
  • What have you figured out that an acquirer could leverage? You may outsource all your accounting, for example, versus doing it internally.

 

Products & Suppliers

  • List your services, organized by the percentage of annual revenue.
  • List your services, organized by the percentage of Gross Margin or Cost of Goods Sold.
  • Rank your top three to five suppliers by your annual spend.

 

Sales & Marketing

  • What is your customer “win” strategy?
  • How much does your customer acquisition cost for a new customer?
  • What is your market share?
  • Explain and emphasize any recurring revenue models (service agreements). Provide churn rates and the lifetime value of a customer.

 

Barriers of Entry

  • What makes your company unique and difficult for competitors to compete with?
  • What type of investment would it take to build what you have created, both time and money?

 

Trends and Opportunities

  • What is exciting in your industry?
  • What is growing or innovating?
  • What have you done in your business to embrace the trends and innovation of the future?

 

Financials

  • Include three years of adjusted P&Ls along with two years of projections.
  • Make sure adjustments are made to the financials to remove any one-time expenses and income that a new buyer would not incur.
  • Replace your compensation expense (salary and bonus) with a market-rate salary for a general manager who would do what you do.

 

Customers

  • Describe your customers by zip code, product sales, and average sale per customer. Do not provide a list of your customers.
  • What markets or products could you offer if you had more resources or capacity?

 

Management Team

  • Describe how well your company would run without you.
  • Show a visual organization chart that includes divisions and salary ranges of the employees.
  • Include a bio of each person in a leadership position, their compensation and incentives, and roles.

 

As you see from this list of items, providing a CIM is tricky when selling your business. You reveal some very intimate details about your company for an audience that may not use with the best intentions. Be careful of the buyer who just wants to learn more about what you do, like your fees, your processes, and your key customer strategies. If something is proprietary, do not expose that in the CIM. Even when a potential buyer signs an NDA, it is difficult to prove they used your proprietary asset to improve their business.

The CIM is not something you take lightly. It takes a lot of work and should not be given to any potential buyer unless you are committed to selling your business. Be prepared to be uncomfortable and know your leverage with a potential buyer.

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

The Secrets to a Happy Exit

Recently I have been involved in a lot of conversations with my clients about either selling their business or buying another business. Selling your business is a stressful and emotional process and should not be based on someone walking in and making an offer to buy your business. There are several considerations, and the first one is to consider “Why are you selling your business?” That is the question that seems to not be fully considered by the business owner.

I would like to recommend a great book, “The Art of Selling Your Business” by John Warrillow. John’s book guides a business owner by selling their business to avoid costs and the steps to allow one to prepare to travel this confusing and emotional journey.

In Section One, Chapter Two, the question is asked, “What is driving your decision to consider selling?”  Let us consider the answers: “I want to retire,” “I am tired,” “Bored,” “Burnt Out,” “Sick of dealing with employees.” Does this sound familiar?  All of these are legitimate, but if these are the only reasons, you may regret selling your business. Business owners find reason and purpose in their businesses. It takes hard work and a lot of sacrifices to build a business, but we know that every journey ends.

Do not let the things that are frustrating you “push” you out of the business, rather getting clear on the “pull” factors that excite you. You want to be looking back on owning your business with fond memories and have no regrets.

I listened to a podcast interview with Bo Burlingham about his book, “Finish Big”, he defines there are five good qualities of a good exit:

  • At the end of the process, a business owner feels they have been fairly treated and appropriately rewarded for all the hard work of building a business.
  • A seller can look back with a sense of pride in what they did as a business owner.
  • The seller has peace of mind about what happens to those people who were part of the business and their continued success.
  • One finds a sense of purpose outside of owning a business.
  • In some cases, it is important to continue to see the business thrive without the owner.

Even though the financial part of selling a business is very important, the emotional part is equally important. Usually, does not raise its head until after the transaction has been done. Burlingham states, “50% of the sellers are happy, but 50% of the sellers are miserable.”

A business owner needs to begin their exit strategy early in the business forming years. Before you sell your business, begin to understand how, why, and when is right for you.

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Home Services Contractors Are Redefining Exceptional Customer Experience Amid the Pandemic

Home services contractors have proven they can adapt to the new normal. But how can they retain and grow their customer base in the next normal?

The very best home services contractors work hard to influence customer retention with membership agreements that provide security, peace of mind, and offer some influence over a homeowner’s attention span; however, even these contractors are still swimming against the current. In today’s market, customer churn is guaranteed.

When dealing with change, it’s always best to focus on what you can control. So, while a contractor can never control a customer’s loyalty, they are 100% able to control the experience they provide to them. So let’s talk about how contractors can ensure that those experiences are exceptional and change the game entirely.

Changes that Stick

In order to win the confidence and trust of homeowners, contractors have to move beyond marginal improvements to the status quo. They will be required to concentrate their focus on providing the most convenient and personalized service experience to customers.

This starts by looking at how customer behavior changed during 2020 and what expectations will persist in the years ahead.  A recent McKinsey Insights article revealed that during the first six months of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, companies were pushed over a technology tipping point transforming business forever. In that short time, consumer engagement through digital channels such as texting, webchat, or apps jumped 24% over 2019 levels. Currently, over 65% of customer interactions in North America are digital.

For example, the conveniences we’ve all enjoyed, while their adoption has been accelerated by the pandemic will certainly remain incredibly high. At Schedule Engine, we saw the usage of web chat across the clients we support increase by 300% during the early phase of the pandemic, while adoption of online booking increased at an even steeper rate of 500%. Both of those metrics continue to rise today and show signs of accelerating even more as we move into 2021.

So, at the beginning of 2021, the home services industry is at a very different place when it comes to meeting consumer expectations than we were just a year ago. While the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital engagement by consumers, according to BDO USA, the effects are here to stay. Customers are not going to stop expecting the same level of convenience they are enjoying now.

Giving Customers What They Want

Some changes in consumer behavior that have been driven by necessity rather than preference, such as the reliance on food delivery services, may not persist at current levels after the pandemic is over. While caution will be the name of the game, post-pandemic consumers will seek out experiences like in-person dining and travel. But other changes initially driven by circumstances will be sustained because of their sheer convenience and exceptional customer experience long after the pandemic has faded. 

This is where home service contractors need to pay attention. Customers are not going to unlearn the advantages and convenience of the online services they’ve turned to in order to weather the pandemic. To keep up, contractors need to be able to provide modern online booking and live technical chat support on their websites.

At Schedule Engine, our team is driven to deliver customer experience solutions and live support services to help contractors offer this kind of convenience to their customers. Feel free to connect with me or send me a direct message online. You’re also welcome to email info@scheduleengine.com. We look forward to the conversation!

 

Strickland Tudor is the Vice President of Schedule Engine

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Clean the Clutter from Your Company

With the New Year comes new motivations. Be healthier, save more money, be more organized. But many times, organizing your business is often overlooked. Disorganization may be preventing your business from growing and being successful. Being unorganized results in measurable losses, like lost time and money, negatively affects your business reputation, adds stress to your life, and makes it difficult for you to work efficiently.

It’s time to organize your company. This task seems daunting, I know, but I find it easiest to break it down into three categories.  What to keep, what to recycle, what to throw away.

What to Keep

This is the easy one. You keep what adds value to you, your business. This includes time-saving techniques, essential employees, hardware, and software. Take the time to make sure these items are in good working order. Verify your software is up to date. If you haven’t in a while, now is a good time for employee reviews. Talk to your employees, let them know they add value to your company. Ask them what they need from you to keep performing at their best. Find out what they like to do, what they don’t like to do. Work with them to find ways to make the not so enjoyable tasks more enjoyable. Look at your vendors, suppliers, software companies, and business partners. Are you using all the benefits they provide?

What to Recycle 

Next is recycling. As you look around your office, I am sure there are many things you can recycle or donate. But this goes beyond that. Look at the processes your company does; are they out of date? ‘We have always done it this way’ should not be justification for tasks. Are you in compliance with OSHA and all other regulatory agencies? Are you using technology to streamline your processes, reduce your carbon footprint and minimize repetitive tasks? If you are still receiving or sending invoices and statements by snail mail, you need to take time to switch to electronic billing and processing. Going paperless can be overwhelming, but a recent study found 80% of filed papers never get looked at again. Electronically storing your invoices will save you time filing, researching items, and allow you access to your files from anywhere, at any time.

What to Throw Away

Throw away. This one is harder than it seems. But, with today’s technology, you can maximize your resources and start doing more with less. You will find that many tasks will remove themselves with the introduction of automation.

Now that you aren’t overwhelmed with unnecessary information, what are you doing with the information you do have? Keep your information as accurate and clean as possible. Correct capitalization and punctuation are essential. Are you providing personalized messaging to your customers? Are you reaching out regularly to potential customers?

 

Once you have taken the time to declutter your processes, your business, from generating leads to providing after-sales services, will run smoother.

 

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

I really struggled to write this article. I wanted to write something about New Year’s Resolutions and what we need to do to regroup and focus on our business and ourselves. Researching this, I found plenty of articles for inspiration, too many. You don’t need another article on starting the New Year off on the right foot and how to analyze your successes and failures of the past year. So, assuming you have or are in the process of choosing your resolutions, I am writing to give you tips on sticking with them. 

Try not to view resolutions as all or nothing. If you hate working out, then your resolution to work out every day is not going to work. You are going to be miserable and finally stop, then beat yourself up for breaking your resolution again. Instead, find something you enjoy doing, and do it. View it as an investment in yourself. Take away the mindset of CHANGING,  but view it as INVESTING in who you are.

Steve Mores with Dynamic Air Quality Solutions recently wrote an article for Comanche Marketing about Risk Taking. He referenced a mantra, Everything is learnable, from Marelisa Fabrega, for changing your life:

· I wish I were…

· I wish I had…

· I wish I knew how to…

Use these questions to help decide how to invest in yourself. Find something important to you, not what is expected of you by society or someone else. 

Create a plan.

 Set your goal, define the steps to get there, and focus on the process. Make small changes that will become habits. Be prepared for obstacles and how you will overcome them. 

Follow the Experts. 

You don’t have to do it alone. Find people who have been there and can help you achieve your goals. Whether online or in-person, build a network of resources. 

They can help you with questions, give you advice, and offer support. 

Find ways to hold yourself accountable.

 Share your goals with a friend, print them, and post on your bulletin board, anything that will hold you accountable. This is hard to do. Letting someone know your goals also lets someone know when you don’t reach them. 

But this is probably one of the most important steps to take in holding yourself accountable. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall or fail. 

Author Brené Brown offers the advice, ‘Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.’ However, the late musician Daniel Johnston said, ‘Most of the worst things said about me, I’ve said myself.’ 

A lot of us tend to treat ourselves more like Daniel than Brené. Everyone makes mistakes; it is what you learn and how you react to them that will make you a better person. 

Stay inspired. 

Remember, you are investing in yourself. Make yourself a priority. The goal you chose was important to you. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself why this was important to you. 

 

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!