Client Video: Giving confidence, knowledge & experience for owners to make strategic & informed decisions to grow their business

Watch this video to hear how Staffordshire based Business advisor, Richard Lloyd has worked with the business owners to give them confidence, skills and experience to make more strategic and informed decisions for the development and growth of their business.

Business: Suppliers of advanced materials and equipment to scientific research and development sector.

Richard facilitates us to make decisions, he challenges s, he questions us. He gives us knowledge or information when we need it or sign post t places but its always us who makes the decisions with his support and mentoring behind us.’ Business owner, PI-KEM

‘Richard has enabled us to make far more strategic decisions and to be more analytical of our business and challenge ourselves more’ Business owner, PI-KEM

‘We would absolutely recommend Richard from CMC. He has given us confidence as a team and company to push us forward and to be aspirational. We have clear direction, the directors now have the skills and we can focus on the higher level management of the company, not the day to day tasks.’ Business owner, PI-KEM

3 Secrets to Buying a Marketing Agency

The marketing agency sector is fast-paced and exciting. If you’re in this sector, you may be looking to expand your business. One way to do this is to buy another marketing agency and absorb it into your operations.

When you are looking for the right business to buy, you need to be clear about your goals. Are you looking for a business with a specific niche offering or, perhaps, one with a particular client base?

There are several things that you will have to keep in mind no matter the reason you have for buying a marketing agency. Here we look more specifically at what you need to know before making an offer.

1.Know why you’re buying

The marketing sector has grown tremendously in the last decade. There are various different niches or areas of marketing that an agency can cover.

If your marketing agency lacks skills in certain areas, you may be looking for a business that can add to the technical elements that you are able to offer.

You need to have an in-depth knowledge of the industry so that you can understand what part of the industry is going to grow. You will want your business to keep expanding, make sure you are careful to research the area that you are looking to expand into before you buy a new business.

You could be looking for a particular creative skillset such as video creation or live events. Alternatively, you may be wanting to acquire particular marketing expertise.

Be as clear as possible with what your expectations and goals are so that you buy the right complimentary skillset. If you have been outsourcing a particular part of your business, it can be beneficial to buy a business that will be able to provide you this service in house.

Of course, with the fierce competition that exists within the marketing sector, you may be buying a competitor out so that they are no longer your competition. This way you will be able to increase your share of the market.

Be aware, in all situations, of the staff that will be coming on with the merger or acquisition. You can position yourself well to add impressive talent to your staff!

2. Know what you’re buying

An important part of what defines a marketing agency is the reputation that it has, and the type of clients that it has on its books.

Purchasing a new agency will mean taking on its reputation. If a business is selling cheap, you may want to find out why. Will you be able to rebrand the business successfully when you buy it and put it in line with your business’s identity?

In order to know what you are buying, you will have to take a careful look at the customer lists, clients and the intellectual property of the business.

When you take over another business, you should be very careful to secure the digital rights. You need to get hold of all the web domains, social media and email accounts as these form a vital part of any marketing agency.

3. Do your due diligence

If you are going to buy an existing marketing agency, you need to be prepared to conduct a thorough due diligence.

Have you fully researched what the strategic fit will be? You will also need to understand any employee and management issues and how these will play out in the wider structure of your already existing operation.

It might be in your interest to get the help of a lawyer, accountant or/and business advisors that can help you go through the process. You will need to go through all the contracts and accounts that the business has to know its real value.

You also need to make sure that the clients will remain on after the sale. If they are likely to leave with the old owner, your reason for purchasing the new agency might disappear.

CMC Partners are trusted experts delivering growth and exit strategy development to owners of SMEs since 1989. Growing a business by acquiring another through a merger or acquisition can be a viable option for growth for an SME but must be carefully planned, prepared and executed. With a proven track record of guiding owners successfully through this process and knowledge of the marketing industry with existing clients in this sector, it enables us to add real value to SMEs considering buying a marketing business. Contact us to arrange your free confidential meeting with your local CMC Partner to help realise your full business potential.

Guest blog by Matthew Hernon, an Account Manager at Dynamis looking after Business Transfer Agents and Franchises across BusinessesForSale.com and FranchiseSales.com.

Listen to CMC Partners at The Business 2019 – Mergers & Acquisitions for SMEs – Is it a viable option for growth?

Come and Listen to Atreya and Simon at The Business Show 2019 – 16th May, 2pm

Acquisitions is hard business. And it’s not all just about the big boys. Join Atreya and Simon  at Businesses For Sale Live to get to grips with the potential SME businesses have in growing through acquisitions.

For a CEO or Owner of an SME business the decision to invest in buying another firm can often be life-changing with the potential to alter the course of the firm and the opportunities for employees, for better or worse.

Company leaders should look for reasons and have a reasoned understanding of why they should acquire. Alternatives to acquisitions should also be strongly considered and evaluated.

Sources of financing the deal is critical – getting the numbers wrong can put a healthy company into critical care.

Key takeways you wont want to miss:

  • The potential and benefits to growing your SME via an acquisition
  • How to successfully plan, prepare and execute acquisitions to maximise the potential
  • Learn from successful SMEs acquisitions through targeting companies

Join CMC Partners at The Business Show 2019 in London Excel on Thursday 16th May at 2pm. Atreya and Simon will be presenting in the Businesses for Sale Live seminar area , located by their stand 1086.

Book your Free ticket here.

Check out the other seminar they’re presenting on increasing the value of your business.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Listen to CMC Partners at The Business Show 2019 – Increasing Your Business Value

Come and Listen to Atreya and Simon at The Business Show 2019 – 16th May, 12pm

When you have made the momentous decision to sell your business one of the next steps is to start thinking about a valuation.

It’s not just about coming up with a figure and sticking it on the market. Like any seller you’ll want to maximise your return, and, there are likely to be a few things you can do now which could increase the value of your business in the long term.

Key takeaways you won’t want to miss:

  • How to value your business
  • Key drivers to that will increase your valuation
  • Key preparation tips for a successful sell
  • Attractiveness of the business to a potential buyer
  • 6 step process to selling your business

Join CMC Partners at The Business Show 2019 in London Excel on Thursday 16th May at 12pm. Atreya and Simon will be presenting in the Businesses for Sale Live seminar area , located by their stand 1086.

Book your Free ticket here.

Check out the other seminar they’re presenting on Mergers and Acquisitions for SMEs to grow.

We look forward to seeing you there!

IoD Webinar – Mergers & Acquisitions for SMEs – is it a viable option for growth?

On the 12th April, 12pm Atreya Chaganty, Partner at CMC Partners will be presenting an IOD webinar to business owners and directors on whether mergers & acquisitions could be a viable option for their business growth.

How well do we understand the Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) activity of SME businesses? Should SME firms acquire to grow? How and when should SMEs plan and execute acquisitions? These are some of the questions Atreya will discuss when you tune into this webinar.

Who should join the webinar:

Business owners or directors who are exploring ways to grow their business or are simply curious of the benefits an acquisition could bring.

This webinar is free of charge and open to both IoD members and non members. 

Key takeaways, you won’t want to miss:

  • How acquisitions can grow your business 
  • Risks involved versus the rewards 
  • How to prepare for an acquisition
  • Whats involved
  • Financing options 
  • How to make it work post acquisitions 

Click ‘Join Webinar’ to join Atreya at 12pm on Friday 12 April. He loos forward to welcoming you. (don’t worry if you can’t attend this time, sign up anyway to receive a recording afterwards)

Join Webinar

Sales strategy for growth

In my post last year, ‘Not all growth is equal’ I discussed the options for business growth. Comments from readers led me to look at sales strategy for growth.  Whether you choose new products to existing clients, product expansion, or new clients with existing products, market expansion, you will need a sales strategy.

Establish your broad sales strategy and objectives

Decide how you want to position your business and your products or services. For example, if you launch an innovative new product, you could aim to sell small volumes at high prices to early adopters or opt for rapid market penetration to deter competitors.

For a new business, a key objective might be to quickly build a core customer base. Or you might concentrate on acquiring a single large customer to boost your profile.

Decide which groups of customers to target

As you build up a customer base, remember that retaining existing customers and winning repeat business is usually much easier and less expensive than selling to new customers.

The easiest new customers to sell to are usually ones who are similar to your existing customers. However, building a broad mix of customers is less risky than relying on a small number of similar customers.

Sales methods and channels

Evaluate the best method of selling to customers

Selling face-to-face is often the most effective method, particularly for complex sales, but it is time-consuming and expensive. It is usually only worthwhile for high-value sales or to build a long-term relationship with a customer.

Retail, direct mail and telesales are more cost-effective for lower-value sales. They can also be a good way of generating repeat business once a relationship with a customer exists.

Selling via your website can be the cheapest method, once the initial set-up costs have been considered.

You could opt to combine some or all of these sales methods in order to reach a wide range of potential customers.

Remember that it can take several months to build credibility and get access to a key decision-maker, particularly for high-value sales to large businesses.

Sales resources

Initial sales will often be the responsibility of the business principal, decide when you need to recruit a dedicated sales team

If you think the business is missing out on opportunities because of a lack of selling resources, or if you are uncomfortable selling yourself, you probably need a sales team.

The number of salespeople and the skills they need depends on how you sell, your markets and the sales targets you hope to achieve (see Sales planning).

Employing salespeople with existing customer relationships can reduce the time needed to break into a new market.

Clearly define the skills and experience you require in your sales recruits.

Give salespeople the tools they need, some form of database is essential for holding information on customers and prospective customers. Consider using customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Make selling easy

Simplify systems so that salespeople do not spend their time on unnecessary administrative chores. Use standard documents wherever possible: for example, proposal letters and standard contracts.

Sales planning

Involve your salespeople in the planning process

Imposing plans and targets without consultation rarely works.

Salespeople can provide up-to-date market information and suggest the best way to approach customers.

Identify the key drivers of sales performance

Externally, these will include the overall level of demand among your customers and what your competitors are doing.

Internal factors will include your marketing activities, any change in prices, the size of your sales team and how you sell.

Develop a small number of key performance indicators that will help you manage the sales team – for example, the number of new enquiries they generate, or the amount of time spent calling customers.

Make sure that targets are realistic, measurable and time specific.

Managing sales performance

Track sales progress on a weekly basis

Monitor key performance indicators and levels of actual sales. Discuss the information with your sales team.

For high-value sales, ask salespeople to assess the potential value of each sale they are working on and the likelihood of success.

Regularly review performance against objectives and budget, use feedback to refine your sales strategy and your overall business plan.

Client Video – Driving consistent revenue growth and profitability in a more structured way

Watch this video to hear how Worcestershire based Business advisor, Bob Brown has worked with this CEO to drive consistent revenue growth and profitability in a more structured and planned way as well as helping to clarify the vision and work towards the owners personal objectives.

Business: Mental Health Staffing Solution Provider

Number of employees:

Before I meet Bob, growth was chasing me, reacting to the business. It’s now very different with a scaleable strategy and a plan on how we grow the business.’ Trevor Mapondera, CEO Nurseline Healthcare

‘Bob’s enabled me to drive my business which has consistent revenue growth and profitability in a more structured way. He’s taken away the loneliness of running a business because it feels like we are doing it together’ Trevor Mapondera, CEO Nurseline Healthcare

‘Bobs helped me to focus on the things that make a difference to my business’  Trevor Mapondera, CEO Nurseline Healthcare

It wasn’t about Bob but about trying to create a hero in somebody else’  Trevor Mapondera, CEO Nurseline Healthcare

Managing SME Business Risks

Managing risks of an SME business

Ah, risk! That unsavoury word that conjures both clear and muddy impressions in the minds of a business owner. Risk is an integral part of our personal lives. Almost every activity of our daily living has inherent risk – driving, eating, giving birth. However, we have built mechanisms, through safety procedures or self-control, trained medical practitioners, regulations, etc. to safeguard us from such risks.

Running your own business, in many ways, exposes you (and your business) to many risks. A key element of managing your business is to protect it from failure. The nature of risk your company is exposed to also typically changes as your company grows and evolves in its own life cycle. Many risks however have the potential to adversely impact businesses of any size. Events that are rare but carry highly disproportionate impact, such as Brexit, for e.g. have widely sweeping implications for most businesses.

Hence understanding the types and nature of these risk is critical to ensure long term survival of your organisation. Consider some of the following risks your business could face:

Customer Risk

This involves risks of customers deserting your product (customer churn) or service in favour of your competitor’s. Credit risk is another common factor – customers could either delay payments or not pay at all. Customers are entitled to complain if they feel the product is not delivering to promise – rising customer complaints can be substantial risk. Customers expect the process of engaging with your business i.e. researching your products, buying, getting support to be increasingly through a digital medium  – not having digital channels for your customers to interact with your brand or business could result in customers moving to your competitor

Supplier Risk

Disruption of supply chains can affect your production process. Suppliers could go bankrupt or deliver faulty parts or input services hence effecting your downstream manufacturing or service delivery operations. Logistics disruptions could delay shipments and impact your ability to complete customer commitments in time.

Market Change Risk

Competition in open markets can be relentless. Inability to keep up with technology could add significant costs and risks of disrupting your manufacturing or service delivery process. You could quickly lose customers if you do not have digital channels such as mobile apps or ecommerce facilities, as discussed earlier. Changing market regulations governing your industry could be another highly potent form of risk.

Employee Risk

Quality employees make a quality company. Inability to attract high quality calibre can quickly erode your competitiveness. Inadequate training or a corrosive culture can often result in your top performers leaving the organisation.

 Financial Risk

We often associate risk with money matters. The above points show that business risk is significantly broader. However, managing financial risk is ultimately the key to survival. Managing your cash flow risks will ensure that you have adequate money to fund your working capital requirements while maintaining necessary capital expenditure to invest in growth. Export/import requirements could create currency risks. Level of leverage (debt) and interest rates can unduly increase interest payments and forcefully impact profitability and even ultimately solvency.

One cannot wish away risks. In fact, actively seeking risks is a crucial first step in managing them. CMC Partners works with owners of SME businesses in identifying and managing business risk systematically and then helping put a plan for mitigation. Business owners who are able to master the skills of managing risks ultimately create well run, profitable and valuable businesses.