Posts Tagged ‘ strategic recasting ’

thinking of selling? — play a game … (part 3 of 3)

(please read parts 1 and 2, below)

So you’ve played the game and you’ve summarised your thinking on how your company will fare.

You’ve created an invaluable set of maps for future owners: maps in the sense that different plausible business backdrops are made explicit, and more importantly, maps in the sense of different – profitable – directions the company could take.

What you’ve created is a way to make your company stand out.  A way to make your company appear to have a robust future — not matter what is thrown its way.

Everyone gives a snapshot of the past — an often airbrushed photo of what’s gone before.  In a couple of pages, a couple of additional web pages, you can give potential owners a way to look into the future – a well thought-out and profitable future.

Look around at how similar companies have positioned themselves to buyers.

Anyone else giving a glimpse of the future?

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thinking of selling? — play a game … (part 2 of 3)

(please read part-1, below)

So you’ve described how your company will make money in the future that everyone probably thinks is the common-sense future.  It’s certainly the kind of future business environment you’ve planned for, the kind of future where you have a pretty good idea of where there are opportunities and where there are potholes.

The tough news is that the chances are really, really good that your Official Future isn’t going to happen.

“Ahhhh”  you say.  You have ‘scenarios’ for that!  You’ll do “x” if business opportunities start to flag.  You’ll do “y” if business surges ahead of the competition.

You might as well be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Whatever future that comes our way  – experience has shown us time and time again – something will be something of a zinger.  There’ll be some weird twist, some bit of conventional wisdom about the way the world works – turned upside down.

And it’s very hard to see those coming. Very hard.

KeyForward game boardWhat we CAN do – and what you will do with this board game – is trick yourself to see plausible but heretofore un-considered business environments.

Again – the details of playing the game aren’t important here. What IS important is that what happens is that different cards are placed on the game-board.

Earlier in the game, you selected 4 cards – 4 critically important forces that will shape your ‘most likely’ business  environment.

As the game progresses, you exert less control over what forces appear on the game board — but your task is to help make sense of these new environments.  To help see where there are opportunities and dangers. To see who might be new suppliers, new customers, new business partners.

And you end up with a collection of different – truly different – scenarios , accompanied by some good, hard thinking about how your company will prosper in these different worlds.

thinking of selling? — play a game … (part 1 of 3)

Imagine a couple of senior people from your company standing at a conference room table.  On that table is a 2 ft by 3 ft piece of foam-core that’s been printed on.  There’s a small pile of cards that have shorthand descriptions of important issues facing your company.  There’re also some kind of spinners or dice for introducing random numbers.

picture-1How these cards ‘come to be’ is another topic, but for the purpose of the game, you and the handful of players stand at the table and determine WHICH of these cards are necessary (if not sufficient) to explain your company’s “Official Future,”  — the business environment that common sense tells you will emerge over the next 6 months, year, two years.

You’re then expected to scribble out a couple of descriptions of that future – short phrases.

Next step is digging a little deeper.  What are the strengths of your company in this ‘most likely’ of futures? What are its weaknesses, opportunities, etc?

You’re asked to give a name to this expected world, and finally, you’re asked to make some very clear descriptions of how your company will get from TODAY to THERE.

Ah…. but that’s only the beginning of the game.

And as to why you are spending an afternoon at this game?

Simply? It makes your company more valuable. It shows buyers that you have taken the time to plan for the future.  In this case – their future.

People who will buy your company are buying their own future – they’re buying an income stream for the next several years, they’re buying a new life.  The results of this game are a set of plans on how your company (and soon, theirs) will prosper in coming months and years.

Strategic Recasting – making your company more sale-able

Case study: A Northern California textile company – manufacturing and importing. Specializing in fine wool (men’s and women’s suits) and specialty fabrics. 12 years old, family run, $3.2M revenues. 2 woolen mills in Ireland. Steady if not impressive growth. Founder retiring, sons tired of business – will stay on for term. Company has weathered the decline of demand for men’s suits by branching into imported cottons and changing markets from men’s clothing to women’s fashion designers.

———-

The company is a solid performer in a fairly small niche. In preparation for sale, the company has re-stated its finances, and has paid a consultant to create reports describing the company, what it does best, and some of its future opportunities. (It sees its growth as doing ‘more of the same’ that’s kept it successful – moving to fashion houses and moving into specialty fabrics.)

In other words, this textile company has looked at its past and projected forward in order to talk about a likely future. It’s an Official Future that created by taking a straight-edge to past performance to predict what will happen.

Potential buyers look at the company, they look at the financials, and they try to imagine themselves as the new owners. Those with industry expertise will be able to see past the rose-y optimism of the consultant’s reports and will try to imagine themselves in charge of this company in 4, or 6 or 8 years.

What they need, and what they will value, is a kind of re-casting that talks about the future — or futures — of that company. We call it a “Strategic Recasting” report.

Strategic Recasting is the description of decisions the company should take if the overall business economy changes significantly. Many are broad questions dealing with supply and demand — in the case of this textile company for example, changes in consumer tastes and regulatory environments and changes in production or distribution technology. How will business opportunities change for example, if the US dollar weakens significantly, or if strict regulatory changes increase the cost of fabric-finishing? What happens if dramatic changes in textile production require massive retooling expenses, or if the cost of moving finished goods to market rises three-fold?

As a service, strategic recasting offers a way for a company being offered for sale to differentiate itself from similar ventures. It offers a way for potential buyers to see the long-term wisdom of buying *this* company rather than others.

Bottom line? We believe buyers will pay a premium for companies that offer this information.