If there is one concept to espouse that creates more confusion, resistance, and misunderstanding than selling your business, I have yet to encounter it. At least in the business world. Truly, it’s understandable as most businesses are started as passion projects more than they are businesses, and that makes it all make perfect sense. “I love this, I want to do this full-time” is perhaps the single most prevalent guiding principle of small business, and by that metric, we can rule almost all small businesses a success, but also not always a business.
That notion, love-do-it-full-time is denoting a job, and for probably 99% of small businesses that’s exactly what they accomplish. Buying themselves a job. Which, if I’m honest is still commendable as I’d much rather see a world where people do what they love, rather than go to work where they hate each day. So, high five to those of you who made that leap, It’s scary no doubt but kudos to you for putting your passion first. That puts you in rare air.
Here is where it all goes wrong though. In the event you fall into that category, it’s all in jeopardy. It’s all directly tied to your presence, interest, and motivation. When any of those slip, so too does the entire business. Which is a problem, if you are reading this, you likely own an affiliate. Which means countless people count on the security of your business, not the whim of your passion. If you are in this thing to help people, and truly help them, which I know that you are, we need to ensure that they have the longevity to pursue their goals and the safe place in which to do it. Your affiliate.
The day you opened a business for yourself, ironically was the day it ceased being about you. It’s within this paradox, or understanding of this paradox that so many get lost. As being a business owner is a very selfish endeavor. Because everything falls firmly and squarely on your shoulders. Even the strongest person has a limit, and someday, one day, it’s going to be too much. All businesses grow, and with that, the weight of the problems does too. Eventually surpassing your threshold, and you buckle. So you do what most owners do, you stifle growth to control the weight on your shoulders, and that too threatens the whole business. Fish need water to survive, and businesses need growth. Any business that is not growing is dying, it’s a fish out of water, and it’s only a matter of time before it takes its last breath. The hardest lesson to learn in business is that there is no comfort zone, no settling, no plateau. If there is, and you found it, congratulations, you stifled your company, the clock has started ticking.
So how do you change it? It’s so big, messy, complicated, and you are doing the best you can. Naturally, you do not want to stifle it, you probably can’t even imagine you are as you are trying every day just to keep it afloat. Stifle it seems to be the furthest thing from your mind. But that’s just it. You are trying every day to keep it afloat. It’s on life support because you aren’t growing it, you are managing it.
It’s all so complicated, I get it, we have all been there. Lost in the woods, unable to see the forest for the trees. There is however one overreaching metric, one goal, one construct that can bring clarity to it all. Objectively defining how sellable your business is.
The more sellable a business, the healthier it is. The healthier it is, the less it is reliant on you. The less it is reliant on you, the safer your customers will be. The safer your customers are, the more boring the business is, and the more sellable it is. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.
Creating a sellable business has little to do with actually selling it, it has everything to do with being able to sell it. Wanting to one day, not needing to. The process itself is quite simple.
It like fitness, requires finding a starting point, measuring it, and then improving it. We at FitFilliate put it all together for you actually. We created a Sellability assessment that spits out a score, of 1-100, and then we built a course we call the “sellable 6” which are the 6 areas you need, any business needs, to focus on to improve the sellability of the business.
What you will find when you go through that course is that the answer to success is not more, it’s less. Creating a sellable business is not about doing more work, it’s about doing less. A sellable business is a boring business, and right now, your affiliate is likely anything but boring, and anytime it is, you likely find yourself shaking things up just to make it exciting.
We call this the ceiling of complexity. All entrepreneurs have this and hit this. This is the peak level of your capability you arrive at with no shortage of complexity. The messy middle so to speak. Like growth in all areas of life, our first attempt at growing in any area is to throw everything at it. Try everything, till something sticks basically. But the problem that arises when something does stick. Because everything has gotten so complex by the time something does stick, we rarely can identify the one thing that stuck, and even when we do, it’s scary to go all in on that one thing, when you did all the things to get to this point. So, like most, you trudge forward trying to keep them all in the air, because more surely must be better.
It’s not. Boring businesses are the best businesses. Sadly the owners are often the worst people to have making the business boring. They are very good at doing too much. This is where the help of a Coach comes in, as they help you step back and evaluate everything you are doing, and truly whether it’s actually necessary or not. Spoiler alert; Most often it’s not. Clarifying the ceiling of complexity is the only way to remove the ceiling, making the sky the limit.
Forward is elegance, the past is chaos.
Passing all of this through one filter of sellable or not sellable is the clearest, most objective way to measure what’s worth pursuing, and what’s worth leaving behind. Simply put, anything that makes your business more sellable, and more valuable, is worth doing, anything else is not.
Which brings us to the central confusion. Not all revenue is created equal. To a starving man, anything looks edible. To the passerby, not so much. The same is true of your business. For sure you are not where you want to be, or where you could be, and because of that, all things seem enticing. When you are broke, all revenue seems like a positive thing. However, not all of that revenue is the same, because it’s all generated differently. The more complex the generation of said revenue, the worse it measures up in improving your sellability. To someone who wants to buy your business, the amount of money you make matters very little compared to how simply it makes said money. In most affiliates, there are two types of money, the easy money, and the complex money.
This scores yet another point for the simplicity of sellability. As it makes it quite clear what is worth pursuing, and what is worth letting go. This same trend continues through every area of your business. Giving objective metrics, to what have always otherwise been subjective matters.
Preparing your business for sale is the art of pursuing only what is necessary, and removing the distractions of what is not. The ease of which we outline in the Sellable 6 course. It’s far more simple than you would think, but too complex to explain here, as each of the 6 could be their own blog.
For those of you who wish to go it alone, step back, and take a look at your entire business. Assess what can be explained and replicated simply, and what is complex. Eliminate the complex, and ramp up the simple. Businesses need just a few things: Regular and repeat revenue which you have. They need to be profitable which you can be. They need long-term teams who drive dreams, which you can build. They need to be boring. They need to be repeatable. They need to be valuable to a stranger. To do that they just need to be boring and profitable, as well as stable.
I don’t want you to sell your gym. I want you to love it. Most owners once they get to sellable realize they loved it all along. I want your clients and their future and this mission of saving the world to be worthwhile and possible. To do that, we need every affiliate to last, and many more to open. The most objective way to do that is to make every affiliate sellable.