Have you thought about it? Your exit strategy to move on from your business? Are you going to walk away with a fistful of dollars or nothing to show for your blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice? If you do this one thing then you can be guaranteed to increase the value of your business tenfold as well as the probability that you will have a buyer for your business when you are ready to retire.
The franchise model
The premise is not to turn your business into a franchise but to adopt the principles that make franchises successful. That boils down to two things: 1. Systems and 2. Documenting those systems. All businesses run on systems, processes by which you go about fulfilling a specific task in the business. The problem that most businesses run into is while they have systems, they NEVER document it. Why would someone want to buy your business if they have no idea how to run it?
An operations manual
I have a friend who has been trying to sell his business for the past ten years. He makes well over 6-figures a year but no one will buy it. Why? He’s the only one who knows how to run his business. No potential buyer wants to fly blind. If you have an operations manual outlining everything someone needs to know to run and grow your business then you can literally sell it for 10 times its current value. That’s why they call the Operations Manual a 10Xer. You’re creating a turn-key solution that shows the buyer you have a viable business which can run on it’s own without having to be physically present every moment. All they need is that operations manual, the keys to your doors, and they’re off and running.
A great example
Do you have doubts? Think of McDonalds. They have a huge 3-inch binder outlining in detail how to run every aspect of the business. Before you open your own location you have to attend McDonald’s University where they go over that binder and make sure you’re fully trained. Then you get the keys and you’re off to fulfilling your dreams.
That’s why people will buy a franchise before they buy your business. Franchises are proven to work because they have documented systems. Heck, that was the basis for Cattleman’s Ranch restaurant in the sitcom, Fresh Off the Boat. He was interested in a franchise, but didn’t have the buy in price. However, during the buy-in pitch they gave him the operations manual. He was supposed to give it back, but he stole it and created Cattleman’s Ranch, his own duplicate using their operations manual (it may be fictional, but it shows it works).
Where do I start?
Naturally, then how do you create your operations manual? Create a Word document and write down step-by-step how to do the various tasks of your business. This includes marketing plans, new hire processes and so forth. Everything you and your employees do, every day.
Start now, it will save you money
Many businesses see immediate value from taking the time to work on the documentation—you can streamline procedures, making them more efficient. You also save time and money in training new employees. By creating an operations manual you take the first step toward freeing yourself from your business and laying the groundwork for a successful exit strategy. Until next time I wish you much success transforming your business into an amazing brand.
George Paul III is a branding expert and award-winning designer. He’s the Founder of Seize the Brand, an education platform designed to empower business owners by leveraging the power of branding to realize business and life goals.