Building Business Value
Build your plan to become financially independent.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, business owners must often be reminded why they are in business. Daily matters such as handling customers, hiring and training associates and dealing with bankers keep the business owner’s eyes trained on what’s immediately ahead rather than on the long-term horizon accomplished by building business value. At Burke & Schindler, we work with our clients to ensure the long-term goal of building business value doesn’t get placed on the back burner due to the pressures of daily crises. In our experience, owners don’t need to work any harder on their businesses to create durable value but they do need to work smarter.
The first necessary act for the newly focused entrepreneur is to separate from the day-to-day. Since most owners started as a close approximation of a one-man band, they know every aspect of their business and usually believe they do it better than anyone else no matter what it is (with the possible exception of accounting). In truth, there is generally only one aspect of the business—often sales—where the owner adds singular value. At Burke & Schindler, we have found the best directive to move the owner from the microscope to the telescope is to inform them they should do only those things that only they can do. Inevitably, this frees plenty of time for owners to now work on their business rather than in their business.
In addition to focusing on that one area of their business that they do best, we also suggest a listening tour of the company. This tour starts with their staff. These discussions often yield new ideas, fresh approaches and maybe even a new business line. The tour then moves to customers or clients. Armed with information from associates, the owner is in a much better position to field questions or complaints from this tough audience. The last stop—our favorite—is engaging the owners’ advisors, particularly their accountants, to find out how to take their business to the next level. Our response generally involves helping them create processes that ensure consistent performance both customer-facing and back-of-house.
Processes are the only way to ensure a business operates exactly the same no matter who is at the helm. Owners, once they get past the product and people issues, must focus on documenting the processes that made them successful. Processes, because they are not people-dependent, ensure repeatable and, one hopes, profitable performance—the cornerstone of durable value.
Value-building should be the number one long-term goal of the business owner, and at Burke & Schindler, it is our number one service.