Is it time to put your house in order?
Published: November 05, 2020

In these difficult times you may be faced with an array of challenges, many of which are outside your control. So now may be a good time to turn your mind to something you’re in charge of – the state of your business. Whatever stage you’re at, it pays to get your house in order. Here’s why.

You’re suddenly investable.

A house in good shape is one people are more likely to put their money into. That’s why, before you buy a property, it’s advisable to have a full survey. The same applies to your business. If you’re looking for cash, you’re more likely to find it if you have a clear business proposition, a motivating and meaningful purpose, core values, a strong team around you, and a robust strategy that is implemented regularly. If you’re lacking in some of these key areas, don’t expect investors to be queuing up to speak to you.

You sleep better.

Would you sleep soundly in your bed at night knowing your roof was leaking, you had an infestation of rats, and the walls were damper than a Bank Holiday Monday? Probably not. The same goes for your business. Ask yourself, are some areas of your business keeping you awake at night?

Every entrepreneur has strengths and weaknesses. The trick is to narrow the gap between them. It’s no good being great at sales or marketing but being weak in operations and cash flow. Not everything can be a ten out of ten, but better to have scores that are close to eight out of ten across everything, than a mixture of high peaks and plunging troughs. Don’t just play to your strengths. Address your weaknesses. Then get that good night’s sleep.

It motivates.

A clean, well-ordered house is a nice place to be. in The same goes for your business. A good way to assess this is to take a long hard look at your website. Do you have a simple business proposition? Is your value and purpose crystal clear? Do you have case studies showing your successes? Do you explain who you are and what you do? Is this all done in a way that’s simple and concise?

These are vital questions, but often ignored. A quick trawl of the internet will reveal many businesses that fail to set their stall out in a clear, compelling way. Failure to do this will not only deter customers and investors, it will demotivate the people you work for. How can they rally behind you, if your offering is unclear?

It helps you improve.

There’s only one problem with decorating a room beautifully. It shows just how second rate some of your other rooms are. The same applies to business. Having one area of your business firing on all cylinders, can reveal weaknesses elsewhere. Let’s imagine you’ve hired some great talent. One boxed well and truly ticked. But ask yourself, have you the sales pipeline to pay for them? What has hiring this talent done to your cashflow? Does your business have a strong enough purpose to keep them? Do you have a strategy that they’ve bought into?

Only by having all areas of your business in full working order, can you expect to grow value. By putting each one of them under the microscope you will improve your business, and your chances of success.

It helps you to sell.

You may have pushed the idea of exiting to the farthest corner of your mind. You perhaps feel that now just isn’t the time to sell. You want to build more value in your business. Or perhaps you’re enjoying it too much. Or you want to wait until the pandemic is well and truly over.

But what if something happens that puts a sale much higher up the agenda. This could result from ill-health. Or falling out of love with your business. Or a need to urgently release some capital. Whatever the reason, it pays to be exit-ready.

Take the house analogy. Isn’t it better to have your house looking spick and span, instead of being in a position where you need to do an awful lot of work very quickly, and at great expense, in order to get the offer you’re looking for?

It can pay to think of your business as a house. Is it somewhere you’re proud of? Is it a place you and others enjoy spending time? Does it make you happy? What needs fixing urgently? Are all areas in order, or are some places well below par? If you had to, could you sell rapidly and still achieve a good price?

Could be time for some DIY.