Every company that survives over an extended period of time has elements of special genius that give it the genetic capability for survival. The elemental genius of the business is its unique collection of special attributes that make it competitively superior. Such attributes range from product mix to quality, price, service, location, and all of the aspects of the business that differentiate it in the eyes of the customer.
Regardless of the nature of the business, every enterprise faces competition. Customers choose one business as their preference over another alternative, and the chosen one survives. The alternatives are not necessarily parallel competitors, but, in one form or another, the customers managed before you and will find a way to manage without you. However, in every sales dollar you generate, they have chosen to survive with you.
In all of our years of experience in examining and becoming intimately familiar with client sellers, we have been repeatedly surprised to find out how many of our clients have lost sight of their fundamental elements of value to their customers.
Business is like riding a bicycle. If you stop peddling, you’re going to fall over.
Stay focused. Keep adapting. Keep your eye on the big picture. One of our favorite strategic analysis tools, good to use even far in advance of sale, is the SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The analysis is a self-assessment, which is valuable in part because it encourages the introspection necessary to fully assess competitive and market position, and in part because it invites forward consideration of future possibilities. It is an extremely helpful self-view and is often one of our earliest analyses of a seller client. It also tends to closely mirror the study most buyers will make as they contemplate possible purchase.
If you, by the time of sale, can comfortably speak to your true position in your market, and your strategy for coping with the future (both opportunities and threats), you will find yourself: (a) more profitable and more secure, and (b) in fine form for astute presentation to buyers.