Now, forget about all your hard work and attachments: Would you buy your own business? The weeks and months following my experience on Shark Tank, I realized that I would NOT buy my own business. Why? Because the return wasn’t there. At least, how it was at the time.
That hard reality completely changed the way I viewed my business and set fire to a growth pattern that is making it a worthwhile investment.
The first things an investor will look for are profit and growth. They should go hand in hand. The more you grow, the more units you sell, the higher your volumes, the greater your economies of scale and thus the higher the profits.
Then they’ll ask, is the growth sustained? This is where time plays a key role. Have your sales grown year over year? If the answer is “No” you have a lot of work to do and some time to put in before you are attractive enough for an investor or for a buyout. No amount of excuses are applicable here. Put in the time and make it happen.
Is the operation turn-key? Can your buyer walk into your business and run it without you? If this idea is foreign to you, I highly recommend reading The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. This book is all about making your business be able to run like a well oiled machine WITHOUT YOU. Set your ego aside, this is business.
When I used to run track, I would prepare for the day so that when I crossed that finish line there were no excuses as to why I couldn’t run my very best race that day. In business it’s very much the same. I regularly stop and ask myself, “What can we be doing better?” If there is an area of weakness (an excuse for stagnation), I eliminate it. That simple question will help differentiate yourself from your competition and make your business attractive.
Viewing your business from the perspective of a buyer will change the way your operate your business and how you grow it. Who knows, maybe you’ll make your business so attractive and profitable; your best investment is to keep it!
Kelly Costello is the owner and founder of Puppy Cake LLC. She appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and guest blogs for topics regarding business and dogs. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, where she currently lives with her two rescued terriers, you can regularly find Kelly creating a new dog product or sharing her passion for business with other entrepreneurs.