Barry Lambert: how to position your business for sale
Barry Lambert headlined presentations at No More Practice Live, a one-day event dedicated to helping practice owners improve their practice value and grow their business, held in Sydney on Thursday 9 August 2012. Following is an edited excerpt of his presentation on how to grow practice value and successfully position your business for sale.
If you want to sell your business, then you need to position yourself so that someone will want to buy you, because you’re the only business of your kind in a potential buyer’s eyes.
While I never set Count up with selling in mind, what I did do was create a unique business. One of the big lessons for me came from Going beyond competition, by Edward de Bono. He said you should position your business so your clients don’t think there is anybody else like you. If you can position yourself so that your clients don’t want to go to anyone else because they don’t think there’s anyone who can do what you do, you have a great business.
When I started out financial planning was in its very rudimentary stages. I looked into financial planning and realised it wasn’t for me. I came to the view that accountants should give financial advice, and that’s why I decided to start my own company.
When I set Count up, there were no other accounting-based advice groups around. Some came along over the years, and they were usually backed by institutions. But I had no big brother to service, and accountants recognised that we were on their side. They loved us because we were simply there to help them build a better business, rather than just wanting referrals from them.
That’s why innovation is important in building your business. I did what I think was right and what would work – so I don’t copy other people. Many people have asked over the years where I got my business model from. I simply created a business that I believed was the right thing for accounting-based professionals.
So what I essentially did in the process was to position Count where someone wanted to buy us. That’s very important – you have to position yourself to be different and we positioned Count where there was no other business like Count in the market.
So if someone wanted to buy a business like Count, it wasn’t a matter of competition in buyers’ eyes. There was only one kind of business to buy, so that was a smart decision.
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