By Sid Chadwick
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well… the product or service fits him --- and sells itself…”………..Peter Drucker:
In the last three months, two key personnel at two clients --- have initiated discussions --- to buy their employer’s business….!
One of those owners asked us “to coach” his potential buyer’s skills --- into becoming a successful Business Development champion, saying to me, in effect:
“Every business eventually has tough times, and only those owners who can sell their way out of those tough times – can be expected to prosper, long term. I owe my loyal employees…. and this community…. the responsibility to leave this company in the hands of someone who can go get business, when he needs it.”
Our regimen of (monthly) assignments and check-ups --- for our “Student/Budding Entrepreneur” --- in no particular order --- included (but not limited to):
- Get out of your plant and office, and go visit neglected customers, target prospects, and current customers --- where there’s more desirable business --- you’re not getting. Document your observations, and what you hear --- for reflection, and “next action steps”.
- Get to know better --- your fellow employees, and invite them to get to know you. Recognize – at its best, this takes time, and patience. At critical moments --- you only want near you those who are “all-in”.
- Develop tools that improve your Business Development performance record. Examples include: (a) Personalized Quote Letters, (b) An effective Quote follow-up process, (c) Customer Profile and Communications Systems, (d) Tools that educate your customer on the Value of Print, and Options for Print, (e) An organized Sample Department, and (f) a series of optional, purposeful questions, that tend to unlock central issues and meaningful business --- with important customers.
- Join and become active in your local Toastmasters Club --- to improve your thinking, speaking, and presentation skills.
- Track, record in detail, and study --- your successes, and almost successes.
- Engage your employer re. your ambitions, what he/she requires, and ask for monthly --- and written --- feedback.
- Become familiar with your organization’s financial statements, suppliers, and supporting financial institutions.
Be aware --- when this process is “about complete” --- you’ll be ready to buy this company, or one that is nearby --- recognizing that there are probably at least a half-dozen or more companies --- similar to yours --- available to be bought --- within 5 – 15 miles of your plant.
And one or more of those owners --- has no succession plan --- and needs --- and wants --- an exit plan.
For several clients, we’ve produced in-depth “Research” of the commercial printing companies --- of a certain size --- of certain capabilities --- within 5 – 15 miles of their plants.
Purpose of that Research? Identify who’s available to be merged into our client’s company --- that they’ve not pursued.
Surprise? There were far more companies in those geographic circles --- available to be acquired --- than anyone was aware…!
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From quiet reflection will come even more effective action…..”…………….Peter Drucker