31 Recommendations to Build Long-Term Sustainable Value in Your Business

This week marks the one year anniversary of the release of our first blog and podcast releases. Thank you to all of our guests, for sharing their expertise and insights for business owners to maximize business value. In our podcast each week, I asked the same question of our guests: "What is the one most important thing you recommend business owners do to build long-term sustainable value in their businesses?"

To be perfectly honest, when we started asking that question, I just thought the guest would say something about the topic of that podcast, but many of them and have surprised me with answers that I just didn't expect, but I can tell you that it's been your gold. So today we look at all of the answers to that question, and here is a snippet from every single interview. So let's take a look back at dozens of things you can do to maximize your business value.

1. Build a Strong Leadership Team

"The one thing is, is create to grow, develop, and really nurture, have really, really good leadership team. So if you're going to spend any level of money within your organization, on your people, one of the key things where you're going to get the, where are you going to really get the most ROI from anywhere within your organization is to have good leaders within your organization who are really, they're not, they're walking the talk of your culture and your core values, because if you have a toxic leader within your organization, they will.

But if you have a toxic leader who is doing everything that is counter-cultural and perhaps even undermining the CEO or is doing things that are very inappropriate within the organization, that leader is going to create some turmoil. They're going to drive good people to leave the organization and they're going to take whatever positives the CEO tries to do and twist them. So it's one step forward, two steps back. If you have a person who is a poor leader, who is solidly against the culture and is doing everything they can to drive the culture down." - Mark Mitford

2. Find Trustworthy Advisors

"If I was going to give one piece of advice that business owners, it would be get outside input, whether that's joining Vistage or hiring a coach, get some other folks because it's very hard. If you're just feeling like you're in a bunker to be able to develop that long-term vision yourself.

And I would say, get a team of outside people that you can trust, who will give you some honest feedback and what the successful business owners I've seen are ones who were not myopic and only looking at it in their own bunker, but were getting input that really helped them grow their business and develop a longer vision." - Ladd Hirsh

"Conversations about this stuff are always complimentary. So take 20 minutes to have a conversation, to see if you're sitting on money." - Lindsay Polyak

"I think I would recommend going back to what Jim Rohn said, you're the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. So make them good. People find an accountability, tribe, peers that you trust, people that understand what you're going through. People that aren't afraid to hold your feet to the fire. When things get rough and people that are going to help recognize your blind spots and call you out when you're not making decisions with the best interest in mind, accountability, tribe of folks that will pick you up when maybe you've ran off the deep end and you, and you need somebody to, to save you. I mean, that's what I would recommend to business owners to build their value in business." - Dr. Jill Olmsted

"Invest in coaching. And here's the reason why according to HubSpot. So this is not just coming from Jimmy Curtin. According to HubSpot, if you invest in coaching, you will see a 16.7% return on investment for that time. So can you imagine you can increase your revenue by 16.7% by investing in coaching? I mean, it, that's the one thing I would say to do." - Jimmy Curtin

3. Get a Business Valuation

"At some point, look at getting their business valued of proper business valuation because we see so many owners who have no idea. They think they have an idea, but they do not have a real practical idea of the business, the value of their business. And so, you know, they get to the point, which is I want to sell tomorrow. They've had it for 25 years. They think because some friend down the street or whatever, sold their business for $10 million, that that's their retirement and their business. They live the same lifestyle. Their business must be worth $10 million to, although it's a completely different industry, a completely different success rate, a performance level and all that.

And when you value their business forum, they're literally in shock and think you're crazy. And it's a situation that makes it very difficult because they can get 20 valuations done. And anybody who knows what they're doing is not going to give them what they wanted to hear. Even if they're not thinking about it for five years or 10 years, because they'll at least then know, well, this is how it works. This is how the valuation process works. And they can then know what to strive for, with help from guys like you to get to that level." - Larry Lane

4. Strengthen Your Bench

"Get your bench strength together because you are not going to be able to do it alone. You are going to need to have the right players on the bus, sitting in the right seats, right? It's that concept because without that talent, you really cannot grow a business. It will not be sustainable. So get your talent squared away. To me is the number one thing. The rest just starts to take care of itself. Obviously if you're a decent CEO, you're a business minded. You're looking at building a practice. You're doing all the other things obviously to sustain a business, but the talent will take care of a big part of this for you. If you get to the right folks in place." - Susan Steinbrecher

5. Take Yourself Out of the Business

"You have to get yourself, your personality out of your business in order to be able to sell it. You really have to develop the leadership team too, to have the company really have inherent value for the purchaser of the business, as long as it is just you, as long as it is all commanding control, as long as it is the magic of the moment and not a process and a, a series of, of repeatable processes, you'll never get the value for your business that you could." - Jim Brewer

"Build your, your organization or leadership team, such that you can start elevating yourself to a, to a spot where you can work. You're working on the business versus being mired in, in the business, right? And so defining those, the functions of your business, clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each one of those functions and, and either report a hire to empower whatever that is, those individuals to operate those roles and inside of those roles or responsibilities. So that the company, when you decide to, to walk away from it in whatever shape, form, or fashion, the company will thrive and not miss a beat." - Dean Ash

So if you were to vanish from this planet tomorrow, can the buyer run your business without you? And if you think he or she can't, that's not a good sign. If they need you to run the business, they're not going to pay you high enough for the business. If you can establish that they do not need you for the business, and they can enjoy that consistent cashflow and let the business still run on autopilot, that business has value. So the closer you closer to get this, now you may not be able to get to it a hundred percent, right? Nothing runs a hundred percent on autopilot, right? Or no, cashflow is a hundred percent consistent, right? But the closer you closer to get to it, 70%, 80%, 90%, the higher, the value." - Bharat Kanodia

6. Find Your "Aha" Moment

"You know, there, there is an aha moment in your experience funnel in your experience that your ideal customer goes through from attraction to referral is very important to find that aha moment. Where does it happen? Does it happen in the marketing process, the sales process that happened when they've been with you for three months and have bought the product three times, wherever that aha moment is, is generally tied to your value proposition, to your unique value proposition. In general, if you have a must have product, you do have an aha moment. If you don't have the aha moment, maybe you don't have a best have product.

And if you, that is something to reconsider and now's the time to be doing that. But looking at that experience, funnel, finding that aha moment and then developing dashboards and reporting around the metrics that are driving the business is just really important because then marketing and the orchestration of other departments can get to work to improve those metrics in order to really just create massive growth for your company." - Michael Rose

7. Protect Your Business

"Protect the cash cow, protect the business that you already built, right? And you can do that through a captive insurance company, and it's going to build even more wealth for you. So you want to protect things that maybe you're going to sell in to five years, Make sure it stabilized, nothing crazy happens to it so that you can get the most value out of your business as possible." - Ken Huffman

"Know what's important to your company. Know what your crown jewels are, because that gives you the ability to focus on. What's really important to me because people look at, Oh, if I got to build all this resiliency stuff and planning stuff, I don't have time for that. It's like, and I can't afford it. It's like, great. I agree. Don't do that. Just figuring out what the real key key items are, what would really take you offline for five days and really creating your business. So that's one to create a plan and document it. You know, you don't have to create a 50 page, be him. If tome of the ages create something relatively small, something that, Hey, here are the steps. Here are the phone numbers of the people to call.

Here's what we want our employees to do. Here's what we want our clients to do. Here's our communication plan. You know, you don't want to be doing that. You know, when the lights are out and then the third item is test the plan, really test it and really understand really where your shortcomings are. And again, it doesn't have to be long. It doesn't have to be a quarterly thing, although quarterly is great, but ideally once a year, if you could test once a year documented, it's great. And then let me just add one more thing, because I think this really adds to the value is promotion of your program, go to your clients, go to your partners and say, by the way, I want to let you know, this is what we do to protect our business, because we value you as a partner and we value you as a client and we're going to be there for you." - Michael Puldy

8. Define Clear Priorities

"We believe the number one thing companies should do is to clearly understand its priorities, because then you can read the greatest impact for success. We see all the time where companies flitter around different priorities, depending on the day of the week or time of the day. And they just don't have clarity on what they are, what they want to accomplish, where they want to get and how they're going to get there. If they understand their priorities, that's the foundation for moving forward." - Charlene Aldridge

9. Document Critical Processes

"Put a plan together around working through your critical processes, working through your critical priorities. And if a company knows this and they know where to put their energy and resources, you know, they'll definitely know what needs to be done first - what processes need to be documented first? Why do those need to be documented first?

How's that implementing where we want to go as a company, how we want to grow, how we want to supplement that strategy that we all feel really good about. And, you know, this is not the sexy stuff, right. But it's a very essential thing. And I think that's what makes it most critical." - Todd Hunter

"This isn't sexy, but this really fits into the theme of your, what you do, right? The business, like the resale value, like how sellable is your business it's systems, man, it's the unsexy part of the business that like every single job you have in your company should have like a Wiki. You should be using some sort of thing with like, here's this person's job description. Here's step-by-step directions for all the tasks that this person performs on a weekly basis with your sales team. It's the same thing. I see this like complete, just winging it with the salespeople that come in and like they wing, they don't have like talk tracks and like emails, templates. It's like really systemizing everything, making sure everything's got a framework that it's got an approach to it that it's documented. All of that stuff is extremely important. You should be able to lose a leader in one department and someone else should be able to come in and pick up right where they left off." - Jason Bay

"Probably to, to document your processes, you know, understand what your, you know, where your constraints are and identify those as strategies to start to move towards those just as we are doing here in the cashflow, but to really document them, to get, to adjust them there, you know, things you may have done last year that just don't make sense to do, to do now." - Gerald McAdoo

10. Have Those Awkward Conversations

"Definitely communicate, talk to each other, sign to each other, write to each other, however you need to do it because anything that you're holding back is going to be affecting the business and affecting you, whether you want to admit it or not. I learned something from my friend, William Larson, who's incredible facilitator, that you should have a space in any meeting, not any meeting, but in certain units for awkward conversations. We have a spot on the agenda for awkward conversations where we can bring up anything that's sort of been eating at us, which could be something like, "I don't agree with that decision that you made," or it could be "your natural deodorant is not working as well as you think it is," Creating a space for communication is going to be the thing that will affect how your communication works the most, which is going to affect how your business runs the most. And so that I think is the most important thing." - Sheila Henson