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Where Do Small Business Buyers Come From?

Before a small business begins the process of looking for a buyer for their business; they must first understand why they want to sell the business. I typically hear retirement for the main reason but I also see partner disputes, estate planning, burn out, and to many other interests. Whatever the reason a small business seller must commit to a process once that decision to sell is made.

I don’t want to discuss the process of selling a business but rather discuss the types of potential business buyers that are really feeding the small local markets. These buyers have access to more information and are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to buying a business.

Below are some examples of the categories of potential business buyers:

1. Retirees – There are over ten thousand individuals retiring every day in the United States. Many of the retirees want to remain active and/or do not have the financial security to retire. They have tremendous wisdom and knowledge and are quick at understanding a business with which they have an interest.

2. Business Competitors – As a small business owner, the thought of selling your business to a competitor with which you have competed with over the years is a difficult possibility to accept. However this group is typically y over looked, but may be the best possibility as expansion for them is always an option. They have the business knowledge and skills and most likely have the resources to acquire your business. The tricky part is to make sure that competitor is serious before disclosing confidential information. There are also synergistic buyers that may not be competitors but could benefit from the products and service your business may offer.

3. Family – Business owners will usually look at family members as a potential source of buyers. This may be done very early on for estate planning or later in the business life cycle as different family members express interest in working for the business. Also, extended family should be considered as a potential source. The issue with family members is that they may lack the capital to pay for the business and the conflicts that may arise for ongoing support. That separation of business and family may be difficult.

4. Key Employees – Your business is only as good as your staff and key employees. I see on many occasions key members of management may be the only option as if the business is sold to an external buyer, the key employees may not stay, making that sale difficult. Establishing clear line of communication with these group will create a better transition and potential exit strategy.

5. Money Buyers – These buyers are typically looking to buy a business strictly on some multiple of net cash flow of your business. They are the most demanding, most sophisticated and are hard negotiators. Some are looking to buy a job but most are looking for a return on their investment. For this group having accurate financial records is extremely important.

It is not easy to find the right buyer for your business to create a win/win scenario. It is self-serving but I highly recommend using n experienced business broker. In the Emerald Coast of Florida, my company, South Walton Business Brokers is the leader for connecting business buyers and sellers.

Seven Cutting Edge Strategies to Boost Your Business Profit and Potential

In a contemporary era during which the rise of globalism and the internet has made the world of business increasingly competitive, business owners who want to experience perpetual growth and expansion must be strategic and innovative when they develop plans to sell their goods and products. There are several strategies that business owners can employ to accomplish this objective, and seven of them appear below:

1. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an incredibly effective way for a business to connect with prospective clients and improve its conversion rates. There are a plethora of social media marketing strategies that can be employed to accomplish this objective, including tweeting links to the business’s product pages via Twitter.

2. SEO
Internet marketing is an important and effective way to advertise your business goods and services in the online world. The central component that makes the internet marketing process efficacious is SEO-or search engine optimization. Although broadly defined, SEO is basically the process of implementing strategies that will help a business website or other media forms achieve page one ranking on the results pages of major engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. There are several SEO strategies that can be implemented, including great content creation, link building, keyword analysis, etc.

3. Blend Online/Offline Advertising
Both online and offline advertising are powerful mechanisms through which to advertise your business. To ensure that you make the most of each market sector, you can blend the two. For example, company leaders often take business cards to lectures, conferences, etc for business purposes. The next time you do this, consider the value of placing the url to your website and your e-mail address on the card. By doing this, you’ll be able to connect with prospective clients and/or business partners in multiple ways. As many people who have attained business consultation services know, the key to success in the world of selling products and services is being able to connect with people in more than one setting, and blending your online/offline advertising efforts enables you to accomplish this objective.

4. Volunteer
Volunteering is yet another effective strategy that you can implement to boost your business profits. Oftentimes, individuals who attain business coaching services are taught that some of the most profit-boosting endeavors are those that do not involve the intentional attempt to sell something. When you, your business partners, and your employees volunteer, you show the local community that you are genuinely interested in improving the quality of life for local citizens. In recognizing this reality, members of your local community will oftentimes be much more receptive to doing business with you. In many cases, those individuals who attain business success mentoring services are the most effective in utilizing this strategy because they attain the professional knowledge and wisdom necessary to make the most of this opportunity.

5. Hire A Professional
As many people who have attained business consultation services know, hiring a professional to help your business boost its profit and potential can be incredibly effective. This is the case for many reasons, including the fact that business consultation services often incorporate business coaching sessions that involve providing the client with the tools, strategies, etc necessary to engender results such as improved conversion rates or some other form of substantive return on investment. By attaining these types of business success mentoring services, your company can begin to get the highly specific, customized assistance necessary to take you from good to great.

6. Branding
One great key to making your business successful is the implementation of sound marketing principles. In order to attain business marketing success, you can make use of proven strategies such as branding. Although broadly defined, branding is basically the practice of using icons and images to create a singular, distinct image for a business’s goods and services. As many people learn in business coaching sessions, branding is an incredibly effective way to attain business marketing success for several reasons, one of which is that it provides prospective clients with a basic overview of the goods and services that you offer. Thus if you are interested in attaining business marketing success, this is a good strategy to implement. If you want to ensure that you implement this strategy successfully, consider the role that attaining business success mentoring can play in assisting you.

7. Promotional Products
Oftentimes, people who attain business consultation or business coaching services learn that giving away promotional products is one of the most effective strategies that can be utilized to build a business. The use of promotional products is efficient for several reasons, including the fact that the individuals who use the product offer the business owner a form of free advertising each time they do so. If you want to attain business marketing success through the use of this strategy, consider the role that attaining professional business success mentoring courses can play in assisting you.

Effective Business Analysis in the IT Industry: Reduce Project (1) Risks (2) Costs and (3) Duration

A Few Items to Mention

Business Analysis is a discipline based on project planning required for every project, regardless of the size of the project: regardless if a single developer works on a website or an entire team works on a scalable multi-platform system architecture. There is no set limit on how much analysis can be done, and so this can reflect on the size of the project. When no Business Analysis is performed we usually see the following penalties:

  • Project Risks: Unforeseeable circumstances may cause the project to fail
  • Project Costs: The poor management of resources cause additional project costs
  • Project Duration: The poor management of overlapping tasks cause projects to take longer

Business Analysis has a foundation of widely accepted best practices which will be discussed in this article. However, it is not an exact science, and there are some conflicting opinions in regards to some of its practices. Most organizations which rely heavily on Business Analysis may even refine their own practices that work best for their industry.

Business Analysis is an intricate discipline, and cannot be thoroughly covered in a single article. Rather, this article contains several carefully chosen topics aimed for those with little to no experience with the discipline, and aimed for businesses researching whether the practice is right for them (hint: it is).

Who Should Perform Business Analysis?

It is rare that an organization has a person dedicated to Business Analysis. Rather a Business Analyst is someone who can wear many hats, and can include one of the following:

  • Software Engineer
  • Team Leader
  • Project Manager
  • IT Manager

Although a Business Analyst can be almost any member of a project, it is essential that the person has a fair amount of technical knowledge as a technical solution is the end goal of Business Analysis practices. In larger projects, a Business Analyst may not be able to have an understanding of all the technologies involved and may consult with other software engineers involved in the project.

What Tasks does a Business Analyst Perform?

There are many activities performed by a Business Analyst, however the most basic and widely accepted best practices include the following activities:

  • Gathering Project Goals
  • Creating a Project Scope
  • Refining Project Scope into Project Requirements
  • Refining Project Requirements into a Project Technical Specification

These tasks are broken down into more details in the following sections.

Activity 1: Gathering Project Goals

This is the first task a Business Analyst must perform, and unfortunately it seems so simple that its difficulty is oftentimes underestimated. In this activity a Business Analyst must obtain a clear list of project goals that the project will be built upon. The analyst must discover the real business needs in order to eventually propose a solution that satisfies these needs instead of implementing a guess solution.

Here are some common mistakes that novice Business Analysts will make in this step:

  • Talk to the wrong person: Project goals can only be obtained from a person who has the authority to set the scope of the project. The goals should not be obtained from another project team member, but ideally from the client or organization which is funding the project.
  • Ask the wrong questions: At this point in an analyst is focused entirely on obtaining the scope of the project. The Business Analyst should not gather any project goals that are oriented towards a specific solution or technology, unless this is a direct project constraint imposed by the client.
  • Poor organization of project goals: When written down, project goals should be written down in atomic form to be easily referenced (ideally by a numbered list). Business Analysts avoid compound sentences or writing down more than one goal in a sentence.
  • Incomplete project goals: A Business Analyst must double check and triple check that the Project Goals indeed consist of all the goals that the client requires. It is often without exception that the goals are not properly collected which results in the client attempting to introduce them in the project while it is in the development stage.

Activity 2: Creating a Project Scope

In order to fully ensure that the Project Goals are complete a Project Scope document is created, which contains the full scope of what the project solution will contain and what the project solution will not contain. This is the first form of risk management performed by a Business Analyst, as it ensures that the client and project development team are on the same page in regards to the project tasks that must be completed. If the client does not agree with the Project Scope at this stage in the project, then the Project Goals must be refined and a new Project Scope must be created.

Activity 3: Refining Project Goals into Project Requirements

Loosely put, a requirement is a capability to which a specific part of the project should conform. When specifying Project Requirements, a Business Analyst must take the Project Scope and create an enumerable list of specific tasks that the final project solution will be required to perform based on the scope (however the analyst should not specify how to implement these requirements, as that is the next activity). A Project Requirements document allows software engineers to easily translate a requirements specification into a software technical specification (which is actually the next activity discussed).

There are two types of important Project Requirements:

  • Functional Requirement: A requirement that specifies a specific behavior or function. Broadly, it specifies what a system is supposed to do.
  • Non-Functional Requirement: A requirement that specifies criteria that can be used to judge the operation of a system, rather than specific behaviors. Broadly, it specifies what a system is supposed to be.

Requirements are beneficial because they are written in plain English, without technical jargon, and can be understood by higher level management who may not have IT experience. Thus, requirements are the essential cornerstone to communication between business management teams and IT development teams. On top of the list of requirements refined in his activity, a Project Requirements specification may also utilize several techniques and tools that can help facilitate the communication of requirements, such as:

  • Use Case Scenario Modeling
  • Entity Relationship Diagrams
  • Sequence Diagrams
  • UML Modeling

Finally, Project Requirements actually serve as another means of risk analysis because they specify exactly what the final project solution will do in minute details, even though a technological blueprint has not been completed yet. If there is a problem with the project solution, then it is identified early in the project life cycle before system development has begun.

Activity 4: Refining Project Requirements into a Project Technical Specification

In this activity a Business Analyst will (often with the help of other software engineers) specify a thorough technological blueprint for the final project solution. This will include all technologies and business processes involved in the creation of the solution. A substantial amount of software engineering will go into this activity, and so it can also be seen as the first activity of the software development lifecycle, even though nothing has been implemented at this point.

Theoretically, if two qualified Business Analysts performed Activities 1, 2 and 3 for a specific project, then they should obtain similar results. However, the Technical Specification in Activity 4 is a specific solution to the Project Requirements defined in the previous step. The possibilities for this solution are many, and so a Technical Specification should also provide a clear argument for why the specific approach was taken.

This is also the last form of risk management that the analyst will utilize, by guaranteeing that the approach taken is the most optimal solution to satisfy the functional and non-functional requirements. The specific technological implementation for the project solution should guarantee the following:

  • Business processes are improved with maximum efficiency through automatization or other means.
  • The technologies chosen satisfy the functional requirements in such a way that results in: faster development, cheaper software costs, or most reliable solution. At a point some compromises will be made, and those will have to be argued.
  • The software engineering approach provides a unique and efficient solution to the specific problems outlined in the requirements.