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I am constantly amazed when I hear that a husband and wife are successfully working together in a print shop. Even more amazing to me is when I come across an entire family toiling within the same walls. Are they exceedingly patient, excessively ignorant to the potential dangers or unemployable anywhere else? My ex-wife used to work in a family oil business. Along with her three brothers and dad, there was indeed patience, ignorance, and that unemployable-anywhere-else-issue present. But somehow it worked. What impressed me was their extraordinary ability to leave any work-related animosity at work. I’d hear of the infighting and power struggles and feelings...
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Letter of Intent

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After the Selling Company narrows the field of potential buyers to one or two, a request for a Non-Binding Letter of Intent (LOI) is made by the Seller. Some Buyers may agree to a Letter of Interest which typically does not have the level of detail that the seller may require to make a decision. The seller should ask for the LOI. Typically a LOI will spell out, assuming there are no surprises during due diligence, the Purchase Price and Structure; the Amount and Period of Time of monies to be held in escrow, if any; the Transaction Timing and Due Diligence Requirements; an Exclusivity Period, no further solicitation; and the Confidentiality required by...
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It’s your Company, so…

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Why do you tolerate non-performers, naysayers, drama stars, and generally those that aren’t up to the task and don’t play nice in the sandbox. There’s no place for them in your business. These are some of the issues that CEO’s who participate in The CEO Roundtable program want to address and become more proficient at. This is not a peer group, rather it’s a thought provoking environment where CEO’s step outside of their office for a day, working on the business instead of in the business and focus on issues like these: Making money from your existing business while you’re building a new model for the future Building...
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My daughter Madeline is the luckiest person I have ever met in my life. We are a board game-playing family and she is the undisputed queen of any games that involve luck. There is no question in my mind that she would excel at nailing a large account. Here’s how it would happen (assuming she goes into print sales, of course)… One day, she’d be out driving and would get into a minor car accident. Exchanging papers with the offending party while waiting for the police to come, they’d get talking and eventually the question, “ So, what do you do for work, Madi?” would come up. After Madeline identified herself as a print sales rep, the other driver would...
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Ever heard the expression, “Make the calls like you don’t need the business”? It refers to a selling attitude and putting some confidence in your voice even when….make that, ESPECIALLY when….you don’t have enough work and sales are down. By selling like you don’t need the sale, you exude confidence and it can be heard in your voice. Do it right and, voila, you pick up a new customer! What about this one: “ Make the calls when you don’t need the business”? That’s a whole different story and quite frankly, one that not many of us can relate to these days, but here’s how it works: You work hard to get your sales momentum going, slaving on call after...
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The inspiration for this blog came from a recent conference I attended - presented by Epicomm down in Savannah, GA. This is a printing and mailing association, that over the years has brought a number of trade organizations together, and in fact will be merging once again in June with another organization called Idealliance. To say that there has been much change within our industry's trade associations is definitely an understatement, and yet I suspect this is common amongst almost all membership organizations! As the ways to communicate with each other have expanded exponentially over the last 10 - 15 years, it seems that many believe...
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There are generally three types of investors seeking an acquisition: Strategic; Private Equity Company; or Individual Private Investors. A strategic buyer is looking to purchase companies that offer some of the following opportunities: Gain new technologies to improve efficiencies Gain new products or services to offer to their distribution network Fill excess capacity that they may have on their existing equipment If the selling company serves a market that is receiving high multiples, say 5 to 6 times, a strategic buyer will be quite competitive. They will have synergies that help offset the higher multiple. Those...
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Re-Engage Your Business

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How’s business? When I speak to CEO’s about their business, the focus is generally on sales, profitability and opportunities for growth. Here is some of the feedback I get when I ask the “How’s Business” question: We’re up 15% over last year – thriving! Flat to slightly up Down 3-5% over last year – no new business, ugh! Growing but with significant pressure to margins Flat, but as we lost our biggest account the end of last year, we’ve replaced it with four new ones – the best new business success we’ve had in a long time Which comment most resonates with your business? This post will focus...
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Motivation. A very simple, yet complex concept. All of us need motivation to move forward , whether we acknowledge it or not. Way back to our earliest stages in life, we used certain forms or motivation to gain what we wanted – even if we really did not understand it at the time. Consider when we stumbled forward, barely walking, just to make into mom or dad’s arms and get picked up for a big hug! Or we did all those chores like cleaning our rooms, just to earn a small allowance. Later we learned how studying a little bit harder for an exam would help us achieve the higher GPA, or how pushing ourselves a little harder each time around...
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I get this question all the time. In the old days, we used to buy lists and then dial for dollars. Depending on the age of the list, there was a high probability that either the company was out of business or the contact was long gone. The hard part was pronouncing the name while trying to sound like he/she was an old friend and your call was expected. Today, lists are still available and you can practice that age-old prospecting habit. As for the accuracy, well, I don ’ t think that will ever change: For years, I ’ ve given the name “ Desmond Farquharson ” to anyone who called to ask for the Office, Accounting, Shipping or any other Manager ’ s name....
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This post is part 6 (of 7) to be posted outlining what I believe to be the 5 key steps in the process to transitioning into a PROFITABLE Communications Service Provider. This series leads in to a panel I will be hosting on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at the Epicomm Experience Annual Conference entitled "Service Offerings Evolution: Profiting from the Fulfillment of our Communications Legacy" . As background information you may want to read the article PRINTING IMPRESSIONS asked me to write on Printer Evolution for the December, 2015 issue ( http://www.piworld.com/article/evolution-of-print-become-solutions-providers/ ). The response and feedback...
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It is customary to have a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) signed by both the Seller and Buyer once potential merger or acquisition discussions begin. Only after the NDA is signed should the sharing of confidential information begin. In many cases the Seller has not shared the fact that they are evaluating whether to pursue a merger or acquisition with their internal Management Team. Therefore, the Seller has to rely on outside accountants to provide financial information to the Buyer. It is typically not difficult to obtain prior and current year financials, the real challenge is getting to items that would be considered non-essential costs to a new owner....
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I’m about to violate an important personal principle related to the content I use in my blogs. I regard any mention of religion or politics to be too controversial and not really related to Epicomm’s work. However, the current cast of presidential candidates and their respective behavior is forcing me to make an exception. I’ve witnessed my share of local, regional, and national elections, and as a result seen more than enough boorish behavior. I’m not naïve. As a political science major I learned that American politics can be rough and tumble. But, this presidential campaign seems to have set a new standard for a level of bad behavior that we would never...
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This post is part 5 (of 7) to be posted over the coming weeks outlining what I believe to be the 5 key steps in the process to transitioning into a PROFITABLE Communications Service Provider. This series leads in to a panel I will be hosting on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at the Epicomm Experience Annual Conference entitled "Service Offerings Evolution: Profiting from the Fulfillment of our Communications Legacy." As background information, you may want to read the article PRINTING IMPRESSIONS asked me to write on Printer Evolution for the December, 2015 issue ( http://www.piworld.com/article/evolution-of-print-become-solutions-providers/ ). The...
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Heard at the Diner

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Last week I was fortunate enough to facilitate our NexGen Leadership group in a Sales Leadership session. Several of our participants are currently in a sales role and could relate to much of what we discussed. The others had to gauge the conversations from the role of a bystander, working in a different department that may or may not come directly into contact with the sales team. These sessions are designed to encourage give and take with group exercises and open discussion and everyone contributed equally. Youth Movement in our Industry In the most recent Epicomm State of the Industry report, my friend and colleague Andy Paparozzi listed the biggest...
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“ I am failing,” he said. “ I’m not writing any orders and every day is a struggle. I feel like I am getting beaten up on an ongoing basis.” I agree. And it is he that is administering the beating on himself all by himself. The coaching call went on for a while with my client talking about how miserable he felt. As I listened, it became clear to me that he believed he was not doing his job. Therefore, he was experiencing stress and disappointment and unhappiness. Why? Because he wasn’t selling what he felt he should sell. That was his measuring stick. That was his answer to the question, “ Am I doing my job?” I took a different tact. I asked the...
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During recent negotiations for the purchase of a company, it was asked of the Seller if they had consulted outside tax advisors to point out any tax considerations they should consider. The answer from the Seller was an unequivocal yes. My client (the Buyer) and I reiterated that there were many items that the Seller should discuss with their tax advisor, such as depreciation recapture, ordinary tax rates versus capital gains rates, asset purchase versus a stock purchase, allocation of the purchase price to non-competes, and Goodwill, etc. He again assured us that these issues had been discussed with his tax advisor. We continued our negotiations with...
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We talk to our clients all the time and visit them regularly. We conduct client surveys and run open houses and other events to get to know them better. We ask plenty of questions. But are we asking the right questions? That’s the subject of a pair of insightful posts I read recently: “5 Questions You Should Ask Every Customer,” by John Jantsch, and “10 Questions to Ask Your Customers,” by Rodrigo Fuentes. Among the must-asks that make one or both lists: • What’s one thing we do better than others you do business with? We think we know already. But what clients think may be very different from what we think. Listen carefully for themes. And use what...
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In General Stanley McChrystal’s bestseller Team of Teams he promotes an unconventional model for effective leadership. Inspired by his mother’s passion for gardening McChrystal rejects the notion of the “heroic leader” and instead proposes that the new paradigm of personal leadership is that of an “empathetic crafter of culture”. Watching his mother, he learned that if the garden is well planned and organized, is properly maintained, and harvested in a timely manner the results can be impressive. While the gardener can’t actually grow the vegetables she creates the environment in which the plants can flourish; that is, create and maintain the environment...
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This post is part 3 (of 7) to be posted over the coming weeks outlining what I believe to be the 5 key steps in the process to transitioning into a PROFITABLE Communications Service Provider. This series leads in to a panel I will be hosting on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at the Epicomm Experience Annual Conference entitled "Service Offerings Evolution: Profiting from the Fulfillment of our Communications Legacy." As background information you may want to read the article PRINTING IMPRESSIONS asked me to write on Printer Evolution for the December, 2015 issue ( http://www.piworld.com/article/evolution-of-print-become-solutions-providers/ ). The...
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