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Your business is likely your largest asset and one you’ve worked very hard to build. The relationships you have established both in and outside your business have been forged over time and the trust you have in your closest allies is of great value; especially in your most trusted advisers.

If you’re like most owners, you’ve had a long-standing relationship with at least one adviser. Typically, the CPA or attorney are your main points of contact when you have important decisions to make about the business and rightfully so. Having sound financial and legal advice is critical and knowing they’ve truly got your back is just as important.

One thing that is vitally important to know about your current advisory is whether they have any experience in business transition. While there are many well-versed accountants and attorneys out there, most are not experts in planning a business exit. It’s not only important to have expert advice, but it’s also crucial that the experts you choose are able and willing to work as a team. You have only one chance at a successful exit and it will likely be the most important financial decision of your life. Having a team of advisers who will work together as a collaborative team to help you create and implement a plan is essential to a successful exit and will allow you to leave on your own terms and not someone else’s. The truth is, no single adviser can have all the answers, but collectively they do. Advisers who are willing to work together to help you achieve your best possible outcome can and will save you time and money. You may think that a team will cost you more in fee’s and initially it may, but the actual cost of not having a team and getting conflicting or incomplete advice could cost you exponentially more than just fee’s. The rest of your life and its means of support depend on expert transition advice now (not after the liquidity event) so you can have the peace of mind knowing the future is secure for you, your family and all the stakeholders involved.

The post The Importance of a Team Approach in Business Transition Planning appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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When business owners are getting ready to “exit their business,” via retirement or selling, they have to come up with an estimate of what their company is worth. In general, they have a tendency to overshoot the value, realizing it’s not worth as much as they thought.

The result is that owners are forced to directly work in their business longer, in order to increase the value of it. If they neglect to do so, they may experience issues trying to maintain their current financial lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you make a more accurate estimate of what your business is actually worth, and have the opportunity to plan accordingly. One tool that Keye Strategies trusts is the Value Builder System. It consists of a 13-minute questionnaire that calculates a value for company from a scale of 1-100.

Based on quantitative data gathered from over 30,000 companies, businesses that achieve a score of 80 or more are predicted to receive offers for their business that are 71% than the average business.

You’ll begin by entering your contact information, including your name and the name of your business. This allows the Value Builder System to provide you with information and services that may help you increase the value of your business.

Next is a series of questions about the state of your business. Are you in decline or growing? Do you sell an easily accessible commodity or an exclusive product? What is your relationship with your customer base? All of these questions, and more, will help determine just what your business is worth.

Finally, you’ll share some information about how far into the process of selling you are. If you’ve already received an offer of intent to buy the business, you’ll share that with the tool, which can influence your score further.

If you’re thinking about exiting your business, Keye Strategies has services and resources to make the best of this big decision. Check out our eBook on maximizing business value, or find out more about transition coaching

The post Value Builder System appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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Clarify your purpose. Then fulfill it. If you know where you are and where you want to go, then you can map your company’s route to success. Your business development strategy shows the way to your destination.

If done well, a business development strategy gives you well-grounded confidence. You have good reason to believe you’ll arrive.

How Will You Get There?

For Polaris, a change that seemed like a serious threat became the road to the future.

Mild winters revealed the limits of relying on snowmobile sales alone. So, Polaris began thinking about its strengths and opportunities. Then the company decided on a strategy. It used its resources and competence as a maker of Powersports vehicles to launch a new product: ATVs.

A new product for new customers. This strategy made the most sense, given Polaris’ circumstances and what they did best.

The company thrived. They became a leader in the All-Terrain Vehicle market and, later, further expanded their product line to include motorcycles and commercial and military vehicles.

Knowing where you want to go isn’t enough. You need to know how to get there. The right plan gives you something invaluable: confidence.

Among other benefits, a good business development strategy will:

  • Provide a sharpened sense of your business’ unique value and strengths
  • Identify the marketing, financial, and human resource strategies best suited to your position and long-term objectives
  • Create measurable goals
  • Establish systems of accountability

Are you confident your current plan can guide you to your destination?

Dream, Plan, Then Execute

Answering “Where are we?”, “Where are we going?”, and “How Will We Get There?” may not be a linear process. The answers to one question may influence your answers to the other two.

What matters is that you have clear answers for all three questions. That’s what brings purpose, satisfaction, and confidence to your work. That’s what allows you to contribute most to the lives of your clients and customers.

That’s what a business development strategy gives you.

A strategic business advisor can help you answer each question well. Sit down to talk with a business development expert who’s eager to hear you story. You can contact Julie Keyes for a free consultation. Once Julie has learned about you and your business, she can work with you to develop the right strategy.

She’ll also help you execute. She’ll regularly review your progress with you, help you shift tactics when necessary, and work with you to see your strategy through. An advisor dedicated to your success can make all the difference.

Even the best business minds need partners who will ask the right questions, test their thinking, and offer new perspectives and ideas. Start unlocking the potential of your business today. 

The post Business Development Strategy III: The Road to Success appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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You exist. But why? It’s not just a question for philosophers. For your business, it’s the most crucial and practical question. Your long-term success and satisfaction depend on answering it well. A business development strategy will help you achieve clarity about your firm’s unique purpose.

Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, writes, “(O)nly with real clarity of purpose can people, teams, and organizations fully mobilize and achieve something truly excellent.”

If you want to take your company to the next level, do what it takes to define exactly why your company exists.

A business development strategy answers three vital questions:

  • Where are you?
  • Where are you going?
  • How do you get there?

The last post addressed the need to locate yourself in a business environment that’s constantly presenting new challenges and new opportunities. That’s the first question: “Where are you?”  

The next question, “Where are you going?” is another way of asking “Why are you here?” If you have a purpose, it means you have a destination.

Where Are You Going?

Polaris wasn’t looking to expand or shift their focus. Instead, external circumstances–the weather–forced the company to adapt.

But change in direction can also come from within.

You’ve changed since you created your business plan. You’ve learned from experience. Maybe you’ve begun to refine your sense of purpose. Or you’ve realized you have particular strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you have new ideas or passions.

Or, amidst the tyranny of the urgent, your sense of purpose may have simply grown foggy. Do ever find your motivation sagging? Are you just not sure what’s next?

Your sense of purpose can change for many reasons. Most likely, though, it’s not exactly what it was when you started.

McKeown tells the story of Nancy Duarte, the owner of an agency that produced a range of communications material for corporations. As a generalist agency, little distinguished her firm from others.

McKeown writes, “Then Nancy read Jim Collins’s Good to Great, in which he contends if there’s one thing you are passionate about–and that you can be best at–you should do just that one thing. That’s when she realized the real opportunity to differentiate the company might be in the very type of work nobody else in the industry wanted to do: designing presentations.”

Creating a business development strategy doesn’t mean leaving behind your original vision, but a maturing business does need refined objectives. You and the world have changed since you launched. Do you know where you’re going

Identify Your Destination

A clear sense of purpose renews your drive, keeps you going through obstacles, and brings satisfaction. It’s vital to long-term success.

But clarifying your purpose takes work. It requires reflection, analysis, and asking hard questions. For most business owners, finding the right conversation partners is essential.

A strategic business advisor can help you find yourself on the map, and then help you identify your destination. The right advisor has the experience, perspective, and proven processes to help you achieve the clarity you need to “achieve something truly excellent.”

Please contact Julie Keyes for a free consultation.

Then, you can map the best route. The next post will address the final question a business development strategy answers: “How will you get there?” Answering this question gives you confidence to execute and achieve your purpose.

Find out more about how Julie Keyes has helped business owners like you clarify their purpose and move confidently toward the right goals. [/fusion_text][/one_full]

The post Business Development Strategy II: “Why Are We Here?” appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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Your industry changes. The world changes. You change. Your business plan got you off the ground, but it won’t unlock your firm’s potential. As your company matures, you need a business development strategy.

Without a business development strategy, entrepreneurs often drift. They’re unprepared for many challenges and miss opportunities. If you want to take your business to the next level, now is the time to think seriously about:

  • Where you are
  • Where you want to go
  • How to get there
Shaping the Future, From Where You Are Now

Your business plan launched you, but it wasn’t built to guide your business forever. A business development strategy identifies where you are now, clarifies exactly where you want to go, and maps out precisely how to get there.

You can shape your future–if you have the right strategy.

Creating a good business development strategy is a lot of work. It requires mentally stepping out of your business’ daily operations. That way, you can work “on” your business, not just “in” your business. The process requires:

But the reward is worth it. A clear vision of where you’re going is a powerful thing. It renews your drive, keeps you going through obstacles, and brings satisfaction. You know you have a purpose.

Another reward for creating a business development strategy is confidence. You don’t just know where you want to go. You know how to get there. 

But Where Are You?

Polaris made snowmobiles. In fact, they invented the snowmobile and created the industry. Their business’ purpose seemed clear.

Then the weather changed. Keith R. McFarland, in his book The Breakthrough Company, describes how a series of mild winters threatened Polaris’ bottom line.

The world and your industry change all the time. So, new challenges and new opportunities constantly appear. Depending on your industry, change could come from something as basic as the weather.

Often, though, crucial changes aren’t that obvious. Are you seeing all of the challenges and opportunities relevant to your business’ success? Do you know with confidence which threats are greatest and which opportunities best fit your strengths?

Do you know where you are?

Your Business GPS

You’re not where you were when you started out. Don’t mistake your business plan for a reliable map. If you have an established business, invest the time and resources in a business development strategy.

It’s a big task, but there’s a simple way to start. It begins with a conversation. Sit down and talk with a strategic advisor who’s eager to hear your story. You can contact Julie Keyes for a free consultation.

Talking with a skilled business advisor is like turning on your business’ GPS. You’re sending your signal to a partner with a broad perspective and critical tools. Together, you’ll determine your exact coordinates. Then you can see where you are and what’s around you.

Mapping a route to your goals begins with locating your business on the map. Start shaping your future today.

The next post will address the second question your business development strategy must answer: “Where are you going?”

The post Business Development Strategy: “Don’t I Already Have One?” appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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There are more young entrepreneurs than ever before. With advances in advertising and marketing, it’s easier to make a presence online without spending major funds to do so. It should come as no surprise that the time is right to own your own business. Most young entrepreneurs already know that there’s more to being a great business leader than having interpersonal skills, but it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what those entrepreneurial traits are. Read on to find out more about what makes a great entrepreneur and how a business advisor can assist in the development of those skills:

1. A Keen Eye for Detail

It’s important for a young entrepreneur to keep their eyes on the big prize, but there can’t be enough said for always making sure that you pay attention to the little things. Write a thank you letter to a client for choosing your company or send flowers to an ill co worker’s mother. Maintaining a sense of duty to those around you and keeping up with the small details can make a huge impact. Having a keen eye for details means always having a sense of empathy. What would you expect of others if you were in their shoes?

2. Sense of Humor

In a world full of pressure and stress, being able to laugh at yourself is one of the best ways to keep your head above water. It can also help boost morale in times of struggle, which means rebounding even stronger when the bad times are over.

3. Unquenchable Curiosity

The best entrepreneurs never lose their sense of wonder for the field that they’re in. Whether it’s attending conferences or reading the latest self-help resources for business owners, you have to be willing to stay on top of the market, even if it’s deciding that the newest trends aren’t right for your business. A willingness to put the time and energy into being a lifelong learner can be developed through one-on-ones with your business advisor.

4. Passion

Perhaps the most difficult entrepreneurial trait to learn is passion for your field. It may seem hard to believe that anyone would open a business in a market that they’re no passionate about, but it certainly happens. Don’t fall into that trap. Without passion, you’re just going through the motions.

5. Remaining Humble

Sometimes, it’s best if you’re not the smartest person in the room. Recognizing that you have a lot to learn from the people around you is one of the best ways to continue to grow in your field. It’s impossible to become the perfect entrepreneur, but staying humble and accepting help from those who have been in your shoes can get you far closer than assuming that you’ve already reached your zenith. Additionally, it creates opportunities to develop new relationships with other business leaders.

Julie Keyes, of KeyeStrategies, invites you to learn more about what business advisors can do for all the young entrepreneurs out there looking to make their mark on the business world. Read more about the services we offer, and when you’re ready, head over to the contact page to schedule your consultation. 

The post Developing Entrepreneurial Traits Early in Your Career appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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As part of an ongoing series to help our readers find solutions to real-world business problems, we round up the best resources, tools, and literature about a particular topic once a month. This month, we’re zeroing in on three web tools that can help you market your business more productively and efficiently.

Marketing Strategy is Vital

First and foremost, this point must be made clear: In order to run a successful business, you absolutely must have a marketing strategy. There are simply too many businesses, likely selling similar products and services to the ones you offer, for you not to have a way to keep your consumers engaged.

A recent article written by CMO Jenna Gross at Moving Targets, a marketing company that’s been in business for over 25 years, lays out the 6 jobs that marketing does for a business: provides information, creates a more balanced playing field for all businesses, provides life-giving sustenance (new and return customers), sales, engagement, and growth. Simply put, without marketing, your company will not be able to survive in a world where marketing has become so easy to do. Every day, your potential customers and clients are seeing marketing efforts from dozens, if not hundreds, of other companies.

Take a look at this screen grab from my personal mailbox. In the last 9 days, I’ve received nearly 400 promotional emails, most of which I’ve opened, read, and browsed the sites from which they came. Marketing works. You just have to have the tools to make it easy.

Email Marketing: MailChimp

MailChimp is email marketing automation software that sends over a billion emails every single day for companies just like yours. As your emails are sent out, it automatically collects data on click-through rates, which helps you figure out what email marketing strategies are working for your clients. It’s an invaluable tool for anyone thinking about starting an email marketing campaign.

Social Media Marketing: Buffer

Buffer takes the stress out of managing your social media accounts. It gathers all accounts into one place, where you can curate and schedule posts months ahead of time. You can set it and forget it, leaving you more time and resources to spend on crafting excellent marketing content.

Market Research: BuzzSumo

Perhaps the most invaluable tool on the list, BuzzSumo shows you content relevant to your business that is popular on the web. While this may not seem very important at face value, when you use the popular content as pieces of exemplary marketing, you can craft your strategy around these pieces that have proven successful. If you can create marketing content that looks like theirs and add in your company’s own voice, you’re well on your way to seeing your marketing efforts engage and inspire present and future customers. 

The post Monthly Roundup: 3 Web Tools to Help You Maximize Marketing for Business Growth appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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[fusion_text]On your journey to growing as a CEO, it’s absolutely imperative that you spend some time reading, researching, and understanding what it is that creates excellence. Without a doubt, CEO advising is a necessary part of that journey, but it should come after you’ve parsed through the data about what gives some people that extra “oomph” that takes them from ordinary to extraordinary. If you’re passionate about going the extra mile before you meet with an advisor, read up on some of the literature that’s been compiled about your field.

Harvard Business Review: “4 Things That Set Successful CEOs Apart”

There’s a reason that Harvard University is one of the most trusted and esteemed homes of higher education in the world. Their passion for data-driven research and aiding in advancements in nearly every field, from linguistics to law, sets them apart as a bounty of information. Their bi-monthly publication, the Harvard Business Review, is an invaluable resource for those seeking the latest news in the business sector. An article from their May-June 2017 lays out the four common qualities found in successful CEOs. Start here to evaluate where you are in terms of each of those qualities:

  1. Deciding with speed and conviction
  2. Engaging for impact
  3. Adapting proactively
  4. Delivering reliably

From there, you can start setting goals before you ever step foot into your first CEO advising meeting.

Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell: “The CEO Next Door

While not light reading, Botelho and Powell’s book is based on breakthrough research on what sets certain leaders apart and what leaves others with a lot to be desired. Though it was only published earlier this month, it’s already causing quite the stir amongst thought leaders in the field. The renowned author of Drive and When, Daniel Pink, said of the book, “Drawing on a remarkable analysis of thousands of current and potential CEOs, they find that the best of the best share some common traits… Whether you’re running a large organization, or simply have your eye on the corner office, this book should be your guide.” Read more at their website or purchase it on Amazon.

Julie Keyes: “Choosing a Trusted Business Advisor”

So, you’ve read about what it takes to be a successful CEO and you’re ready to get started with a CEO advising consultation to help you get there. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your career and making the right choice should be a top priority. Julie Keyes, who has been in the business of CEO advising for over 30 years, put together a video to help you make the right decision. Once you’re sure that you’re ready, book your appointment for a consultation and start your CEO advising relationship with the best of the best. Don’t just take our word for it: Read client testimonials from business leaders just like you who found success and satisfaction with Keye Strategies. [/fusion_text][one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][button link=”https://keyestrategies.com/exit-planning-minneapolis/” color=”default” size=”xlarge” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” gradient_colors=”|” gradient_hover_colors=”|” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”” class=”” id=””]Begin Exit Planning[/button][/one_full]

The post 3 Resources You Need to See Before You Seek CEO Advising appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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When you own a business, you have to strike a very careful balance between getting what you want and giving the customer what they want. If that balance falls too far one way or the other, the business relationship can feel strained or disproportionate, with one person left giving up more than they bargained for. If you want to learn to successfully negotiate, Julie Keyes, experienced business advisor and founder of KeyeStrategies, LLC, can help you learn the art of sealing the deal. This skill is invaluable for every business owner looking for ways to satisfy the needs of both the customer and your company. In the meantime, read on to find out more about 3 negotiation strategies you can start to implement today:

1. Ask “What is it Going to Take?”

Sometimes, negotiation can feel like you’re on opposing sides with your client, but that’s not the case. You’re attempting to strike up a mutually beneficial relationship that will bring a service to the client and revenue to your business. Ask them, “What is it going to take to finish this deal?” Sometimes just asking them a question about what they’re looking for can put you on their side and assure them that you’re looking out for their interests.

2. Know Your Bottom Line

Before you take a single step into the conference room, know how far you’re willing to go. For some, landing the deal is more important than setting up both parties for success. That can be very dangerous, as it sets a precedent for your company as one that can be talked down into being unprofitable for the sake of the client. That is a one-sided deal and not really much of a negotiation at all.  

3. Sleep On It

Before you sign on the dotted line, let the client know that you want to sleep on the deal before you sign. During that time, consult with others in the company, including all those that it would affect. Getting a second opinion (and third and fourth) is never a bad idea, especially if you’re already uneasy about the negotiation. If a client tries to force you to decide before you sleep on it, you probably wouldn’t like working with them anyway. Compulsivity can be dangerous.

The post Sealing the Deal: Successful Negotiation Strategies for Businesses appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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If you’re planning to transition new leadership into your small business, a business coach can help ease the process and reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that naturally comes with any big change. The key to working with a business coach during transition planning is to start early. The process can take a while, especially if you want to do it correctly. If you’re thinking of phasing out of your small business, start with Keye Strategies.

Plan

The first step will mean getting a plan down on paper. Some transitions plans can take anywhere from 5-10 years to fully implement. Starting early, and with an experienced business coach, could mean the difference in the foray being successful, or you finding yourself stuck underneath of a small business that you simply can’t get out from under.

Once you’ve got a plan, you can start working with your financial advisor to decide how much you’ll need to live on throughout your retirement. Without understanding your family’s financial needs, any decision to sell is a risky one. Too often, small business owners who decide to transition out into retirement find themselves lacking funds in the near future. Working with a business coach to decide if exit is possible requires cooperation between yourself, your coach, and your advisors.

Sell?

Business coaches can also help you decide whether sale or bringing in someone new is the best option. Depending on whether or not your family needs a continuing stream of income is the biggest factor in this decision. While selling means that you get a larger lump sum now, a business that is doing well may pay more dividends in the future by hiring new leadership.

Help Navigate

Finally, your business coach can help you navigate the pitfalls and hurdles that often pop up over the course of exit planning. While a lucky minority experience a smooth transition, that’s the exception, not the rule. Working with a business coach means that you can spend more time relaxing at your beach house and less time signing paperwork and re-scanning necessary documents.

Julie Keyes at Keye Strategies is experienced in helping business owners complete the transition planning process and finding the situation that works FOR them, not against them.

To learn more, check out this page on business exit planning and download your free ebook!

The post Business Coaches Can Help You with Transition Planning appeared first on KeyeStrategies.

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