Do you want to buy a Business? Part 2

February 18th, 2013

Part 2- Buying Considerations Continued

In Part 1- we began the discussion on Buying Considerations by asking you to consider:

1. What are your goals in acquiring?

2. What are your acquisition criteria?

3. How will your acquisitions be funded?

Are you looking for top-shelf well run companies or distressed properties? What resources are you better equipped to offer, financial, operational or human? This may influence the type of business you can integrate most successfully.

4. In choosing an acquisition target buyers often look to create value for themselves by:

  • Lowering unit costs through economies of scale and better cost management

If you would like to read Part 1 in its entirety please go to www.racohenconsulting.com go to Resources you will see a hyperlink to our current post (Blog) and the bottom right of that page has all our previous Blog posts.

Continuing on with our questions to help you determine which opportunities will best fit your growth needs.

5.  What do you need to see in a target opportunity?

All of these factors listed below would be nice to have, but it’s important to prioritize as companies like people are rarely perfect:

  • Strategic fit
  • Compatible culture
  • Talented management
  • Sustainable growth
  • High Gross and Operating Margins
  • Operating focus, single or blended 

6.  How will you identify target firms to acquire?

  • Use industry directories to develop a target list
  • Call or write to this target contact list
  • Ask your Staff to identify their best independent local competitors
  • Contact respected industry M & A Advisors & Intermediaries
  • Engage an intermediary to bring you suitable targets

7.  What will you buy:  assets, stock, either? What are the income / capital gains tax issues for you as they relate to each of these acquisition structures?

8.  What deal structure best suits your needs?

  • % of cash on closing?
  • Will you use notes? What interest rate will you offer?
  • Earn outs? If so, for how long? How will you structure upsides and downsides?
  • Will you use Stock?

9. Who will be on your acquisition assessment team?

  • Internal staff members
  • Outside experts /advisors

 10.  Who will negotiate your transactions? Are you aware of?

  • Current deal pricing?
  • Various deal structures?
  • Tax consequences for buyer and seller?
  • How best to negotiate with a future employee of your firm?
  • How to work with the seller’s professional advisors? 

For smooth sailing during the transaction these are areas that should be thought through in advance. Many deals are lost due to inflexibility on one or both sides of a transaction. You rarely will get a seller to agree to everything you want (if they did, you’d be suspicious). So decide what you really need and pick your fights around vital issues with high value for you.

11. What will you require for Due Diligence?

You’re Financial/Legal and if you choose a Business advisor should be able to assist you in developing an appropriate list of items to examine and review. Some items would include:

  • A complete set of financial statements for the last 3 years
  • Tax returns covering the same period
  • Most recent month’s Balance Sheet
  • Property Leases
  • Equipment Leases
  • Staff personnel records-Organization chart
  • Description of all Employee Benefit plans
  • Detailed Accounts Receivables Listing-Bad Debt History
  • Schedules of furniture, office equipment, computer hardware/software, telephones
  • Budgets for current and future years
  • A variety of schedules detailing assignments/projects with clients
  • Reports from outside Accountants/Auditors

12. What is your timetable?

How will you integrate the acquired businesses?

  • Fully with your brand name
  • Partially as a (your brand) company, i.e. ABC a Mega firm Company
  • Autonomously as an entity appearing to be independent

Integration is usually the most critical area for a successful acquisition.  Blending cultures is often the key to a successful transition. It will be addressed in a future post.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a quick and accurate complimentary Valuation of your business or a confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 140 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:  www.racohenconsulting.com

 

Research on women in the workplace!

December 3rd, 2012

In Randstad’s latest Engagement Index study, women’s insights and perspectives on work and employee engagement were highlighted, as well as how women viewed the economy’s impact on their jobs.

As the workplace continues to evolve, more workers are not only taking on additional responsibilities, but many are learning skills outside of their traditional roles. Thus, it’s not surprising that a newly released study today by Randstad US shows that flexibility and adaptability are two top skills women need to succeed in the workplace.

Just over half of women surveyed, 51 percent, reported these skill-sets as one of the top two most important, followed by knowledge of technology (selected by 37 percent) and teamwork (selected by 35 percent), respectively.

  • While 57 percent of women said they expect to grow their careers with their current employers, 48 percent of women still plan to explore other options when the job market picks up
  • Forty-one percent of women noted they would give a lot of consideration to a job offer given to them by a different company or organization

“Women are taking on leadership roles and advancing to the top levels of organizations faster than ever before.  It is, therefore, critical that companies not lose sight of what it takes to successfully identify, retain and engage high potential women,” said Linda Galipeau, Randstad CEO of North America.

 “We believe it is crucial for more executives, both men and women, to actively serve as sponsors for the next generation of female leaders. Not only is it essential for women to have access and visibility to senior executives, but it’s equally important for organizations to have a clearly defined strategy for developing women for the top roles while ensuring they are willing and able to throw their hats in the ring when the time is right.”

Other notable findings:

  • Sixty percent of women indicated that having their efforts valued and recognized is one of the most important elements. Only 63 percent feel that their efforts are, in fact, recognized and valued.
  • Also ranking towards the top, 53 percent of women indicated that one of the key elements driving their commitment to their jobs is enjoying going to work each day.
  • How can employers better engage their employees? Promotions and bonuses for high-performing employees, according to 39 percent of women surveyed. However, only 24 percent of respondents stated their companies offered such perks.

Where does your employer stand on these issues? Are women at your firm encouraged, supported mentored and promoted?

All food for thought or grist for the mill.

Our goal is to help you become better informed; for more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 

4 Lessons from a Time Square Street Peddler

November 26th, 2012

A street hawker may seem like an unlikely teacher, but you can use their simple techniques to increase the power of your sales efforts. They follow the basic rules of selling.

With a few small editorial changes, the credit for this post belongs to the author Matthew Swyers*, who shares in his own words.

 I was recently in New York City for business and stayed in Times Square. If you spend any amount of time there, in addition to other landmarks such as the famous ball that descends on New Year’s Eve and, of course, the Broadway marquees, you will also notice aggressive salesmen roaming the streets selling their goods and services.

They go after almost everyone, especially tourists who easily identify themselves by constantly starring skyward at the tall buildings in the city.

Some may dismiss these modern-day barkers as annoying parasites, but I always stop, from a safe distance, and marvel at the skills these street salesmen have perfected.  Although often crude and in your face you can learn a lot from these salesmen who hock everything from umbrellas to theater tickets. So what can you take away from an afternoon watching these guys?  Here’s what:

1. Engage

The No. 1 rule of thumb is to engage your prospective customer. In Times Square these street merchants will approach anyone, anytime, on any corner. That is how they engage their potential customers. For you it may be picking up your phone to speak with an inbound lead or perhaps it is methodically going through a cold-calling list. Whatever the case you cannot sell if you do not first engage. You must be unashamed and outright about it. That is what you are there to do. Do it.

2. Get Them Talking

Perhaps the most underrated skill among salespersons is the ability to get your prospective customer talking. In Times Square, for instance, if you happen to be wearing a Chicago Cubs Jersey they’ll say stuff like “Go Chicago” or “How them Cubs doing this year?” All they need is eye contact or any form of response and they have you. “Are you from Chicago?”  “Well, welcome to the Big Apple.”  “So what have you seen thus far?”

They’ve engaged you and they are getting you talking. In any sales position you must get your prospective customer talking so you can learn what they like, don’t like, and need so you can fashion your pitch and your products to fit what they need.

3. Listen and Use It

The guys in Times Square are fantastic at listening to what people have to say and using it to get to the next point and the next point until they can get to their pitch. Let’s say you offer that you’ve seen the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square but that you just got into town. Bingo! You said the magic words.

 4. Pitch and Close

Once they identify the information that they need, those Times Square salesmen are masterful pitch men and closers. “You haven’t seen the Statue of Liberty?” “Wow, have I got a deal for you.” And here comes the pitch…all that from wearing a Chicago Cubs Jersey.

*Matthew Swyers is the founder of The Trademark Company, a Web-based law firm specializing in protecting the trademark rights of small to medium-size businesses. The company is ranked No. 138 on the 2011 Inc. 500. @TrademarkCo

Our goal is to help you become better informed; for more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

 Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:   www.racohenconsulting.com

Rejection can be a powerful learning tool… if we use it to help us grow!

November 5th, 2012

Rejection can transform failure into a powerful tool for success and help your team develop the skills needed to deal effectively with adverse situations.

Here are some more critical points to help overcome rejection.

  • Use rejection as a form of feedback for self-improvement. What when wrong? What could’ve been done to prevent it?
  • Break challenges into incremental steps so that any failure is minimized.
  • Channel anxiety into a creative force for achievement so that, when frustrated, we become more productive.
  • Most salespeople will succeed only to the extent they are willing to suffer though many disappointments.
  • Being ready for the unexpected increases our chances of succeeding.
  • Whether we experience failure or success is unimportant; what is important is the way we deal with the experience.
  • If we can’t accept failure, we will quickly lose our enthusiasm.
  • Believing we have a chance to succeed sharpens our mental vision.
  • We resolve our fears by taking risks.
  • By breaking out of our comfort zone, we expand the arena of our opportunities.
  • When we avoid failure, we’re also avoiding new challenges and opportunities.
  • Recognize that failure is the ultimate learning tool. Every disappointment teaches a positive lesson — we just have to look for it.
  • It’s in times of adversity that we usually grow the most.

Adapted from the book The Courage to Fail by Art Mortell.

For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion on any Staffing M & A subject, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

15 Barriers to Sales Success

October 22nd, 2012

Don’t let these barriers hinder your Growth!

Sales managers, consultants and trainers were asked to list the worst mistakes new salespeople make. Here are the top 15 responses:

  1. Talking too much and not listening enough.
  2. Failure to ask good questions or phrasing them improperly.
  3. Trying to sell products or services while customers look for solutions.
  4. Confusing prospects and customers with too much information.
  5. Poor after-sales service.
  6. Failure to try to regain lost business.
  7. Reluctance to sell against established relationships.
  8. Failure to respond properly to customer complaints.
  9. Failure to convert first-time buyers into long-term customers.
  10. Failure to get more business from existing customers.
  11. Setting goals too high or too low, or improperly trying to attain them.
  12. Selling features and price rather than value and benefits.
  13. Exhibiting a poor attitude when calling on prospects and customers.
  14. Failure to build trust in prospects and customers.
  15. Not taking full advantage of selling time.

Source: Ted Barrows, a sales consultant based in Bristol, RI.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

14 Ways to Overcome Phone Rejections

October 15th, 2012

Rejection can transform failure into a powerful tool for success and help your team develop the skills needed to deal effectively with adverse situations. This can be an effective reminder for us “old pros” as well.

Here are some more critical points to help overcome rejection.

  1. Use rejection as a form of feedback for self-improvement what when wrong? What could’ve been done to prevent it?
  2. Break challenges into incremental steps so that any failure is minimized.
  3. Channel anxiety into a creative force for achievement so that, when frustrated, we become more productive.
  4. Most salespeople will succeed only to the extent they are willing to suffer though many disappointments.
  5. Being ready for the unexpected increases our chances of succeeding.
  6. Whether we experience failure or success is unimportant; what is important is the way we deal with the experience.
  7. If we can’t accept failure, we will quickly lose our enthusiasm.
  8. Believing we have a chance to succeed sharpens our mental vision.
  9. We resolve our fears by taking risks.
  10. By breaking out of our comfort zone, we expand the arena of our opportunities.
  11. When we avoid failure, we’re also avoiding new challenges and opportunities.
  12. Recognize that failure is the ultimate teaching tool. Every disappointment teaches a positive lesson — we just have to learn from it.
  13. 13. It’s in times of adversity that we usually grow the most.
  14. 14. Every rejection brings you closer to success.

Adapted from the book The Courage to Fail by Art Mortell.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com. Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

 

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day

October 1st, 2012

Don’t let a bad morning ruin your entire day. Use these mental tricks to change your momentum.

Had a difficult morning? Are things looking grim?

Credit for the post belongs to Geoffrey James who writes “Sales Source” for Inc.com.

Not to worry. The rest of your day need not be a disaster. It can in fact become one of your best, providing you take these simple steps:

1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.

There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck.” The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.

2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies. 

If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

3. Get a sense of proportion.

Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.

4. Change your threshold for “good” and “bad.”

Decide that a good day is any day that you’re above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.

5. Improve your body chemistry.

Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the pattern by getting up and moving around.  Take a walk or eat something healthy.

6. Focus on what’s going well.

The primary reason you’re convinced it’s a bad day is that you’re focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well.  Make list, and post it where it’s visible.

7. Expect something wondrous.

Just as an attitude of doom and gloom makes you see more problems, facing the future with a sense of wonder makes you alive to all sorts of wonderful things that are going on, right now, everywhere around you.

Remember, everything that comes, eventually goes, don’t get too caught up in it, it’s not worth the energy.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:

www.racohenconsulting.com

7 Stages of Stagnation

September 24th, 2012

Businesses do not start to fail all of a sudden. Especially those firms that have found success over the years. Often, when a business starts to shrink or become less relevant it is more like a death of a thousand cuts.

Sometimes, this is only apparent in retrospect as often, while you are in the middle of all the activity, there is so much fire-fighting that one doesn’t always have the time to step back and analyse why business is declining.

When the ship starts talking on water, morale is generally lower, it’s hard to feel good and remain proud of a company on its way down. Typically, your best performers will pick up the signs earliest as they are more attuned to the success of the past. They may be more invested in the business being a great company and more sensitive to its current lack of growth. Part of who they are requires them to feel successful and to be associated with a successful business.

Should the declines continue, they may be among the first to brush up their resume and call their favorite recruiters.

What signs are there that the business may be starting to stagnate?

Look out and listen for these warning signs, when staff or management say things like:

  1. 1.   We’ve never done it that way.
  2. 2.   We’re not ready for that yet.
  3. 3.   We’re doing ok without it?
  4. 4.   We tried it once and it didn’t work out. I actually heard a Branch Manager telling Corporate that very statement when he was referring to sales, as if sales were an event, not a process.
  5. 5.   It costs too much, we can’t afford it.
  6. 6.   That’s really not our responsibility; and lastly
  7. 7.    It will never work.

If you hear words or thoughts such as these, it sounds to me, like you’ve got some co-workers, management or new hires that have excused themselves from all responsibility as if their actions couldn’t possibly have any impact or that there is no solution to the decline and they just have to stay afloat until general economic tides will raise all ships including their own.

These are serious warning signs and if these attitudes prevail what direction would you expect the business to take?

 At a certain point, you may have to take actions to preserve your job and your future if no one at your firm is prepared to take some bold steps toward improvement of the status quo.

 For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

 Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information a:  www.racohenconsulting.com

 

You know you’re an Entrepreneur if….

August 27th, 2012

Are you really living the entrepreneurial life? Here are a few ways to know for sure.

Making money is serious business… until, of course, it’s not.

Entrepreneurs should be able to take themselves a lot less seriously than their businesses; that’s the assumption of Kirchner Private Capital Group (KPCG) a traditional merchant bank for early and mid-market companies.

So they put together a short humor book, How do you know …if you are an Entrepreneur, with one-liners and illustrations you can use to determine whether you’ve truly lived the entrepreneurial life.

Below are some of my favorites. You know you’re an entrepreneur if:

  • Your kids report their academic performance to you on a grades versus forecast basis
  • When someone says, “Good question,” you know they don’t have a clue what the answer might be
  • Most of the experience you’ve gained came right after you needed it
  • Two steps forward, one step backward is a great day
  • Most of your daily calories come from eating humble pie
  • You look for pessimists to borrow money from… since they are less likely to expect to get it back
  • You consider Red Bull a corporate sponsor
  • Being disruptive sounds like a good thing
  • You feel well paid… until you calculate it on an hourly basis
  • Your child thinks heaven must be a very rich place because angels give you money

It’s a fun little book, one that also makes KPCG sounds like a fun place to work. Proceeds go to the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping enrich the lives of people with cognitive, emotional, and physical challenges.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at:

 bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at:     www.racohenconsulting.com

 

Time Management

August 20th, 2012

When you draw up to-do lists, set schedules, make appointments, and so forth, chances are you may be wasting your time. So why even try?

Can any of us really manage time or can we at least keep time from managing us?

Turns out there is a mathematical law called the Pareto Principle* which says that (in most situations) 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The most famous example of this is the oft-repeated factoid that in sales groups 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the team.  (There are dozens of other examples, ranging from wealth distribution to damage from natural disasters.)

The Pareto Principle holds sway for most work efforts that aren’t purely rote.  Most people obtain 80% of their actual results from 20% of their actual effort.  If you really think about it, isn’t this true for you? It’s certainly true for me.

Rethink Your ‘To Do’ List

Unfortunately, most time management involves “to do” lists, which tend to treat the 20% of your work that really matters as equal to the 80% of things that don’t.  Having a simple list of things to do almost forces you to waste time doing stuff that doesn’t really count.

That’s true even if you prioritize according to importance. Plenty of important things take so much effort that, in the end, they’re not worth actually doing.

Here’s how to use the Pareto Principle to manage your time more effectively.

When you make a “to do” list, prioritize each item by the amount of effort required (1 to 10, with 1 being the least amount of effort) and the potential positive results (1 to 10, with 10 being the highest impact.)

Create a New Ranking

Now divide the potential results by the amount of effort to get a “priority” ranking.  Do the items with the lowest resulting priority number first.  Here’s a simple example:

  • Task 1: Write report on trip meeting.
    Effort=10, Result=2, Priority=5
  • Task 2: Prepare presentation for marketing.
    Effort=4, Result=4, Priority=1
  • Task 3: Call current customer about referral.
    Effort=1, Result=10, Priority=0.1

See your new priority-based order? You do Task 3 first; Task 2 second, and Task 1 last–if at all.

This simple method ensures that the 20% of your effort that really makes a difference always gets done first.  As for the 80% that doesn’t really matter, it’s automatically postponed, and possibly tabled forever.

I know this all sounds pretty simple; even simplistic, however it has helped lots of us focus on our highest earning activities instead of just being busy. 

  • Not to be confused with the Peter Principle that says many employees will be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

 Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

 We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com