Introduction The world is full of myths, from fake news to faux facts. Mount Everest is not the world’s tallest mountain, The Great Wall of China can’t be seen from space, and the word “sushi” does not mean “raw fish”. (It’s the vinegared rice on which the fish was traditionally served, and it’s spread to mean the sour taste of the rice - so it describes the flavour of the dishes, not the dishes themselves.)
In business, it’s not just what you sell that matters, but how and where you sell it. This is your route to market. Yours could be selling direct; via Amazon, online, or over the phone – whatever works for your customer. The right route to market is the one that makes it easy for new customers to find you, and therefore buy from you. Get it wrong and they’ll go to your competitors instead. Today, selling via one channel or sticking to what you’ve always known leaves you in danger of being left behind, missing opportunities and losing market share.
For business owners, “Brexit means Brexit” means one thing: uncertainty. With all economic indicators pointing towards a recession, the question isn’t so much ‘if’ the downturn will hit, or even ‘when’. It’s ‘how’ businesses will manage to survive it. Responsible business owners should now be busy making plans to weather the storm.
To sell anything effectively, it pays to understand the people who are likely to purchase it. If you’re trying to sell fish, for instance, the way you sell it to a Michelin-starred restaurant will be vastly different to the sales pitch to a zoo looking to feed their penguins. One is concerned with quality, the other is all about price (unless they have a particularly fussy Emperor in their enclosures). Building a business to sell is no different. To get maximum value, you need to know what a buyer wants and is willing to pay for it. The answer is multi-faceted: from positioning via industry benchmarks and perfecting your brand to attracting and retaining talent through your employer brand. In this series, we’ve previously discussed these areas and how marketing can help you build value, but one key element remains.
When the time comes to sell your business, you’re selling a lot more than tangible assets like premises and product. You’re selling potential, in the form of return on the business’ current activities. You’re selling plans for new product development and new routes to market. And you’re also selling brand - both the employer brand you’ve developed among your talent pool, and the audience-facing brand that exists in your consumers’ perceptions. Consciously building your brand is, of course, something you should be doing anyway. It’s good practice whether you’re selling your business or not - strong brand values mean a more valuable and thus more profitable brand.