Like A Proud Father Trying To Find A Suitor For His Daughter
Think back to the olden days, being from an Asian background I don’t need to think too far back.
But I’m referring to a time when a loving, protecting, proud father tries to find a suitor for his beloved daughter.
His pride, his joy, everything he cherishes in the world. He’s spent decades nourishing, and protecting.
But now as his time comes, and his powers are fleeting, he realises he can’t be the protector anymore.
He has to do the one thing every father hates, give his daughter up into the protection of another man. He has to find her a suitor.
Proud, honourable, full of dignity. He has no doubt his beautiful daughter will have a line of Prince’s flocking for her hand.
Something’s Quite Not Right
But there’s a problem. The line never comes. The Prince’s don’t show up. There just aren’t many suitors. The odd check in here and there. Nothing solid or concrete.
Fear and desperation start to kick in.
Why does nobody want her? What has she done? Did she do something wrong that I don’t know about? Is it me? Did I raise her wrong?
Maybe rumours start to circulate of his daughter’s not so innocent past, she made some mistakes that are abhorrent…but still, it’s his daughter, his baby, his pride and joy.
So now every suitor that comes get’s the same presentation. How great she is. What she can and cannot do. How she’s an asset for any man.
But the suitor is someone the father would have never considered early on…yet circumstances dictate he has to lower his standards, change his criteria.
And then comes the sheepish question, almost like a whisper; all the pride and glory having the confidence knocked out of it knowing her troubled past. Hoping it’s not going to be a problem but not having the confident assurance he once did, he whispers…
“So…what do you think”?!
What’s This Tears To My Eyes Story Got To Do With Business?
Hmm…An old gentle soul, that’s seen the blood of battle, the sweat and the tears…and now wants to pass the baton so he can live out the rest of his days in peace. So what do you think?
Well, one of my earliest meetings with a seller was both enlightening and at one point cringe-worthy.
With my legal background I had absolutely no experience in the industry this particular business was in.
These concerns were raised prior to the meeting: “Without industry knowledge, how do you expect to run this business?!”
I suppose I wouldn’t have been considered a potential buyer had it not been a year since the business was first put up for sale.
But with time running out, desperation and fear rises.
The interview went well. The owner was clearly a phenomenal expert in his field, and had built a well-run, successful and profitable business.
Whilst going through the ins and outs, he was clearly proud of what he’d done over the years.
Proud about his business…of which he was now looking for to be nurtured by someone else.
The Proud Father Giving Up His Daughter
Despite my lack of industry knowledge being apparent, despite me not knowing half of what he was talking about…a point came where I was pretty much out of questions and he said:
“Sooo….what do you think?”
It wasn’t so much the words that irked me.
It was the body language. Tone of voice. Tonality. The facial expression. The gentle lean forward of nervous anticipation.
Like that of a proud father trying to find a suitor for his daughter, knowing she’s done wrong and therefore isn’t the catch he fully believes her to be.
The sheepish whisper in the way he asked someone who clearly wasn’t fit to run this business, what they thought about his business, was tantamount to the level of desperation he now was in to sell.
There was a hoping in his eyes…hopefully the business sounds good, hopefully it looks good, hopefully I’ll finally get someone to buy.
I didn’t know whether to cringe or cry.
The Ruthless Nature of Business
The business world is renowned for being ruthless.
This is the type of opportunity you take by the scruff of the neck…with limitations clearly exposed, this was the perfect kill.
But it’s never been in my nature to be ruthless.
Indeed, many…most, if not all, of those who know me have outright stated I won’t be successful in business because I’m not ruthless enough, I’m too nice.
Sounds like a nice compliment if the obvious implication wasn’t an insinuation of being too weak and feeble.
So now came the opportunity…prove my salt. Become the ruthless wolf and put this sheep to slaughter.
Make a ridiculous, embarrassing offer and take this business for nothing!
But…that’s not the thought that dominated my mind.
In fact it was the opposite.
How Many Owners Are In The Same Position?
Like, how many hard-working owners are out there like this?
How many have spent decade after decade in the trenches, pouring their blood, sweat and tears into a thriving business…planning for that magical retirement where they’ll grab a hefty sum for their labour, and fill out the rest of their days in deserved contentment?
Can you imagine spending that amount of time, working for the big pay day exit…only to find you can’t sell?!
Nobody wants to buy.
Nobody is willing to give you the sum your labour deserves.
The stress, the worry, the anxiety, am I not able to retire? Do I have to keep working? What am I going to do, I don’t have the same energy anymore?!
So that one question really was the turning point for me.
These guys need help, that one last helping hand to push them over the line to their desired promise land.
Yes it was a great business…but the problem was without him it wasn’t a business anymore.
He was too busy doing what he does best, practising his craft, he never had the time nor the knowledge of how to prime his business for the perfect sale.
Preparation and Priming Is Crucial
He didn’t position it for investors to throw money at it.
There was no plan…other than work hard and then sell when the time comes.
But it doesn’t work like that. The business needs to be primed, the exit prepared for.
Certain things need to be in place.
Attractive features need to be installed.
It’s like trying to win a beauty contest without realising what the requirements of the contest are.
Not knowing what the market demands.
What the people want.
But throwing yourself into the hat anyway, hoping you’ve worked hard enough to get what you want.
Only to realise, your precious baby is precious to nobody except yourself.
So to avoid being in that position, I again reiterate, it is crucial for you to prepare and prime your business for sale; not based on what you think is valuable, but what would objectively be considered valuable.
Is it any wonder millions of businesses for sale are in the market catching dust, rather than being whisked away by a new owner?!
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