Category Archives: Employment

How To Sell Your Business & Walk Out The Next Day: Part 2

Having something valuable to sell does not translate to having a buyer. Why? Because to attract the attention of buyers, you must be visible—to the right people. While a good product or service makes you visible,  entrepreneurs have  to raise awareness themselves.

Here some tips:

Ask yourself—Who needs to notice your company?

Your competitors are an obvious market. They do what you do; maybe they want to buy your company and do more of it. So, go ahead and identify large industry players, but go the next step as well. Identify what companies might want to add your business as a competitive advantage to their portfolio. Case in point–the company that acquired my business had a portfolio of HR-related companies and had just begun building legal and accounting divisions.

Once you have done your research, you are ready to start networking. I’m not talking about taking the easy way out and emailing or tweeting them. I’m talking about actual face to face contact. What conferences do they attend? What contacts do you have in common? Who could introduce you?

You can obviously start with those charged with acquisitions. But don’t stop with the obvious targets or assume you have to start at that level. . The reality is that you never know where a contact—whether social or professional—will lead. I knew I was going to sell my company some day, and I wasn’t shy about sharing that bold idea with anyone who would listen!

Ask yourself—How do I make the company visible?

I’m dating myself here, but I was operating pre-social media. The acquisitions person that called was someone I had reached out to early on in business. I had read about him, sent him a handwritten note, later chatted. Don’t kid yourself. The “old ways” still work because few are doing them.  Today’s entrepreneurs have an entire new arsenal of tactics at their disposal via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.  Turn those imaginings into action. No excuses!

Here are a couple ideas from my playbook:

  • Give lots of free, valuable advice consistently. As I mentioned in my last post, we wrote trade and magazine articles, career tip sheets, employer tip sheets, spoke at national and local conventions, participated in roundtables, joined committees, and sat on boards. We also reached out beyond our business world and did things like sponsor concerts and speakers. And yes, all this took time. A lot of time. My personal rule: I dedicated 50 percent of my time to this kind of marketing.
  • Build trust relationships with reporters. I believe one of an entrepreneur’s duties is to speak for the company (primarily for brand consistency). It shouldn’t be delegated to a public relations firm or someone who isn’t in senior management. Thus, I reached out to local and national reporters with story ideas. Importantly, those story ideas were not about us, but were trend stories, up-and-comer stories, career success stories, and client stories. They not only helped establish the company as an expert in the field, but also helped the reporters succeed in their jobs. Reporters are always looking for ideas. Try it, you will see!
  • Hired a team to put together impeccable financial summaries. As they say, part of success is knowing what you are not good at. Consequently, I hired two people I respected to help me showcase our financials in detail. I presented the financials at my first “casual” meeting with the acquisition’s lead. I thought he was going to faint. He told me it was not uncommon for them to have to go through shoeboxes filled with data to figure out the kind of information I presented! To this day, I believe our showcasing efforts were key to establishing credibility in our negotiations.

When I was approached about selling The Esquire Group, I was not in the market to sell, but forced myself to listen to the offer. In hindsight, I realize this was not a fluke, but a consequence of doing more than selling a good service.

  • We advised others.
  • We shared our good fortune.
  • We knew who we were and who we were not.

All that made us an attractive purchase.

My commitment to advising did not end with the closing of the sale, however, so please comment below, or message me privately.

Remember…You’re Never Stuck!

With Love,

Patty Comeford Adams

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Filed under Acquistion, Business, Career Coach, Employment, Entrepreneur, Jobs, Self Help

What employers really want…

headhunter book cover

Having been in the search business for many years, I’m often asked what employers really want. While the demand for certain skills often change, there are a number of key personal attributes which never go out of demand. Today we focus on five:

1. Good Common Sense:  Yes, you read that correctly: good common sense. I can’t tell you the number of times a client has specified that a job candidate “have a good head on his/her shoulders”. Sounds like something your parents or grandparents would say, doesn’t it? Well, they were spot on. I haven’t met an employer yet who wasn’t looking for it and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

2. Ability to play well with others:   Organizations are doing lots more with way less. This is where the ability to play well with others comes in.   Employers tell us that they simply don’t have the time nor inclination to iron out conflicts, turf wars or just deal with plain old immaturity. So even if you can’t stand that co-worker of yours one more minute, do your best to ignore it, rise above it and demonstrate your ability to work well with individuals at all levels in the organization.

3. Strong social skills:  This may seem strange at first but given we are in a service economy, the ability to build relationships and market is a key skill.  Lawyers, doctors, bankers…they are all expected to market to and develop prospective clients. Employers are even  evaluating new grads on social skills.   So while once upon time it was all about grades and class rank,  employers today  view proven social skills as a prerequisite to long-term success.

4. The ability to “Manage Up”: Roseanne Badoski, former executive assistant to Jack Welch,  coined this phrase in her book aptly named Managing Up.   It’s a brilliant concept.  In essence, she believes that to truly succeed , you need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work. In other words, it is your job to anticipate your manager’s needs and make him/her shine, not the other way around.  It’ s  your job to present possible solutions and not just problems to your boss.  By Managing Up, you not only make your employer look good  but also become indispensible. Not bad, eh?

5. Dependability:  In this economy, I am always shocked to hear that employers struggle with this issue. Webster’s dictionary defines “to depend “as placing reliance or trust in another. Employers often describe it a little more bluntly:  “Doing what you say you will do”. In other words, if you accepted a job, your employer is depending on you to show up on time. If your employer assigned a project to you, that means you will get it done in a timely fashion. If your employer….well, you get the idea.

So, let’s say you have some or even each and every one of these traits.  How do you convey them to a prospective employer without sounding obnoxious? One very effective way is to have your references convey this on your behalf. Typically references struggle with what to say anyway; so a little coaching on the above goes a long way. Another way is to convey them in a behavioral interview setting or bring them up yourself as some of the  strengths you possess. Last but not least, you can work them into your cover letter instead of  typical boiler plate language.

Always Remember…You’re Never Stuck ,

With love,

Patty Comeford Adams

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Filed under Attorneys, Author, Career Coach, Career/Job Related Blogs, Change, Cover Letter, Employment, Headhunter, Interviewing, Job Change, Job Offer, Jobs, Networking, Recruiter, relationships, Self Help, Stuck, Success

Gently Down the Revenue Stream

 

Last week’s blog talked a bit about supporting yourself and your family via revenue streams versus “the traditional job model” that many of us have become so accustomed to.  Many of you are eager to learn more about multiple revenue streams and today I’ll give examples and explain how you can make that happen for yourself.

As I’ve stated before, I truly believe our careers and personal lives are intertwined.  It is really not possible to separate the two.  Here are 4 real life examples of people “thinking out of the box” and changing not only their unemployment status or loss of income status, but changing their lives as those around them as well.  Please note:  some of the names in the following examples have been changed to protect the innocent:)

1.  Annie the accountant:  Annie was laid off last January.  She searched and searched for an accountant job but, found nothing was out there.  So she approached a high end temporary consulting firm.  She now consults with two different clients at the firm; one of the clients 2 days a week, and another client 2 days a week.  On Friday’s she works directly for her former clients, friends and family.  Guess what?  Annie now is making more money than her former “JOB” paid and she has lots of flexibility.  Many multiple streams!

2. Sam the salesman:  Sam sold financial leasing programs to CFO’s and CEO’s for the last 20 years. Then, the finance market collapsed.  His industry collapsed.  His company collapsed. Like everyone, he had lots of financial obligations and suddenly no job and no income.  He proactively cut back on expenses but after a year plus of looking for a job–nothing.  So, he had to “think out of the box” and did!  Being a numbers guy who could sell to top level executives, he attained his securities and insurance licenses.  He kept forward movement with lots of studying and hard work. As I’ve stated before, “no pity party here.” Sam is not peddling stocks across the table.  He thought bigger.  He is going into corporations (ie: using his C-level sales skills) and selling them various insurance programs and 401k products.  He is also marketing financial leasing programs to those folks. He now has multiple reasons to talk to them and multiple sources of revenue. Good work Sam!

3. Molly the realtor:  Molly, as I’ve written about before, is a successful realtor, but with the prices of homes and buyers continuing drop she proactively began to shift her focus and look for new ways to earn additional income.  Molly now helps me with marketing and computer work, she walks a neighbor dog each day-and gets paid for walking – imagine that!  She also makes business calls for her fiancé to help him grow his business too, paying it forward, in addition to maintaining her real estate business.  These multiple revenue streams allow her to maintain the flexibility needed in real estate yet earn her additional income as well.

4. Larry the Lawyer: Larry has been a successful litigator for years. In his mind that is all he thought he could do. Wrong-oh!  He didn’t quit but instead approached his firm to cut a deal. He kept his clients there and others in the law firm are servicing them. He receives a cut of the work given they remain as his clients. Now, Larry has lots of experience litigating and truly enjoys settling cases.  He is now a successful mediator as well, because clients and judges trust him.  He has morphed and designed his own career and is extremely successful because he has found his passion!  He is earning more than he did as a partner, working less and loving what he is doing.  This is a great example of moving gently down the multiple revenue streams.  For, Larry did not upset the apple cart, he gently started designing his own new career path.

So I ask you…what streams can you create?  Think big. This can be a time in your life when you look back a few years from now, and if you do it right, you could see this as a monumental turning point for you, for your family.  Think about your hobbies, your passions, your skills.  How many streams can you create for yourself?  The options are endless.

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