Ready to sell your business? Make sure it has value

Fifty-five per cent of businesses are going to transition to new owners or close in the next decade

Ready to sell your business? Make sure it has valueI recently gave a talk to a commercial real estate association. They asked me to talk about how they could sell more listed businesses. During the presentation, I asked them what percentage of businesses that are listed are actually sold. The response was “very few.” I wasn’t surprised. Not only is it hard to sell…

Battle scars of business the cost of excellence

Leadership isn’t always as glamorous as it seems and the wounds suffered in the pursuit of dreams don’t always heal

Battle scars of business the cost of excellenceI froze during my speech as I looked out at the faces of the members of that chamber of commerce. It was a temporary block that hopefully went unnoticed by my audience. Yet clearly, I was unfocused for a second. I had been asked to be the guest speaker at their awards celebration. I had…

Your business is lost without leadership

Good leaders provide a clarity of vision, decision-making structure and communication systems

Your business is lost without leadershipIt was 6 a.m. on a Monday morning and the instructor for the spin class didn’t show up. Lost without leadership, half a dozen women and a sprinkling of middle-aged men were sitting on their bikes pedalling aimlessly. Disappointed that there wasn’t going to be a fitness class, I considered what I should do for…

Are good salespeople manipulative?

The best sales traits include caring for customers, asking great questions, following a system and being persistent

Are good salespeople manipulative?The snow in 1979 was record breaking and it was still piled high in our yard late into the spring. My brother Rob was so anxious to see the green grass that he decided to sell the snow. He drafted a sign and put it in the front snowbank. He was determined to sell it…

Clearing the air: How industry should respond to public concerns

In Prince George, Canfor accepted the challenge to address pollution issues. Other businesses can and should follow suit to deal with social conflicts

Clearing the air: How industry should respond to public concernsA few years ago, I was involved with a small team of people in my community of Prince George who gathered with the sole goal of improving the air quality. I was spurred on by a letter to the newspaper by a woman unknown to me, Betty Bekkering, complaining about the local air quality. I…

Five skills we need to teach our emerging leaders

Communication, accountability, time management, servitude and mentoring all play important roles

Five skills we need to teach our emerging leadersThe surprise snowfall that spring day stopped just before I dropped my girls off at their high school. But more surprising than the snowfall was the vision I encountered at the school. The principal and the vice-principal were shovelling the sidewalks so the students didn’t have to trek through the wet snow. They were greeting…

The transition zone: how to hand your business off to new owners

You want to leave behind a functioning, viable business. And you want to ensure your employees are prepared for this stressful change

The transition zone: how to hand your business off to new ownersIt was one of my most embarrassing moments. I climbed out of the water at the triathlon at West Lake and in front of all the spectators, I threw up on James Sexton’s shoes. As his kids cheered me on, I moved to the transition zone where I quickly got on my bike and away…

How to overcome the sales/marketing disconnect

We need regular, repeatable communication systems that bring marketing into the sales cycle and allow sales to contribute to the marketing plans

How to overcome the sales/marketing disconnectOne of my clients was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing programs yet their customers didn’t seem engaged. They felt there was a problem with their sales team and asked if I could help. In many businesses, there’s a disconnect between the marketing department and the sales team. In an established business like…

Let silence do the heavy lifting

Most business leaders don't share their problems and concerns even when they should. Here's how you can get them talking

Let silence do the heavy liftingBeads of sweat were dripping off his forehead as he looked at me and contemplated his answer. I’d just asked him what was holding him back from the success that seemed to elude him, even though he had been laying out the plans for months. I could see his mind turning, the beads of sweat…

Service with a smile: the simple formula for success

Four tips to transform the customer service your business offers

Service with a smile: the simple formula for successI don’t usually eat at Wendy’s, but last week I was in the Phoenix airport and I was famished. Instead of lunch, I’d escaped from the conference I’d presented at and hiked Camelback Mountain. A few hours later, I was waiting for my flight home. I’d eaten a small meal at a neighbouring restaurant with…