As you work through your Exit Plan one of the focus points will be the team that you have in your business.
The ideal outcome with your team is that they help you to build a business that operates day to day without you and that the business continues to improve and grow without you.
If the idea of that seems unachievable or something that only works for other people’s businesses then rest assured, that is a perfectly normal feeling. Most people who have successful self-managing businesses also felt the same at one point. In my experience, the best approach here is to remain open-minded, create a plan, and take action weekly to work towards the end result. This does not happen overnight and there will be challenges and setbacks, but it can be done.
The ideal outcome with an exit plan is that you end up with a business that is profitable, not too reliant on you, is ready to be sold at any time and is at its peak value. You know you have completed an exit plan successfully when you have a valuable business that you would be reluctant to sell unless you received an above-market offer.
In business sales, two of the major concerns that buyers have are:
How much input does the owner have in the operations?
How established is the team and will they stay after the sale?
As the business owner or seller, you need to consider any potential objections that buyers might have when looking at your business from the outside. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day busyness but I would encourage you to step back and ask yourself if your job and your business would be attractive to buyers.
If the answer to the question above is no I would imagine that your team has a lot to do with this.
Considering the two buyer objections above how would you answer these questions about your business at the moment?
If you feel that there is room for improvement then give some thought about what you can do to improve the strength of your team and the overall culture of your business.
Here are a few points to consider:
- How well-trained is your team?
- Do you have a recruitment process?
- Do you have a manager?
- Does everyone have a contract?
- Are your expectations understood and managed?
- Do you have your processes documented?
- Are you focused on the retention of team members?
- Do you have regular 1:1 reviews with your team?
- Do you know what motivates each individual team member?
- Do you have a clearly documented onboarding process?
- Do you have regular team meetings?
- Do you have team social events?
- Can you take full days off without having to check in?
- Can you take holidays without having to check in?
There are many more points to consider but hopefully, that has given you a few to get you started.
Looking at the list above what can you do to get closer to all the answers being yes? Consider picking just 2-3 to begin with, take a couple of small steps and you will find that those steps lead to more. This process is way easier than most people think, and the hardest part (like most things) is getting started.
Pick the points that you feel will create the biggest impact for you, the business and your team and map out what you can do to action this.
If for example, you don’t feel that certain team members have not been trained well enough and they are not doing things the way you would like them to what can you do to fix this? Take an objective view of how they have been recruited, onboarded, trained, and managed. Where are the gaps, where have you failed them and how can you improve this for existing and future employees?
As with most metrics and drivers in business, when you start measuring and monitoring this it typically improves. By putting a clear focus on your team and their needs you will see an almost immediate uplift. The clients that I have worked with on implementing this have found that even a small improvement gives you a newfound energy to take even more action to improve this area of the business.
A major by-product of working through this process is that your team is going to feel that they are more part of something rather than just doing a job. By putting focus on the needs of the team and taking action to improve training, management, systems, and processes you are sending out a clear message that your business is a professional operation and a great place to work. This has a positive impact on the culture of the business and this in turn is felt by your customers and always leads to more sales.
By taking incremental steps to make your business a better place to work you start to get a yes to all of the questions above. This is going to make your business easier and more enjoyable to run and your team is going to be fully engaged, more motivated, and far less likely to leave.
What difference would a fully engaged team make to your business?
- Businesses that have stable, fully trained, long-serving teams are more valuable, sell for more money, and typically have the least motivated vendors.
- Small amounts of action can make a big change in team engagement and culture – make a start.
I hope that this helps you to understand the benefits of focusing on your team. Whilst it’s good to tick it off from your overall exit plan this will also make your business the best place to work for yourself and for your team, there are no downsides!
If you have any comments or questions about this subject, please feel free to post them below.
If you would like some help to create and implement an exit plan get in touch with us today to discuss how one of our hospitality consultants may be able to assist you.