Q4 – 2014 : CEO … Time for Re-Evaluating & Preparation

The last quarter of 2014 has begun.

This is the time of year for CEO’s to re-evaluate their businesses, goals & plans — not just for the balance of 2014, but also to get the business ready for 2015.

I’ve been talking to quite a few private equity investors recently, and they continue to be amazed at the lack of preparation by so many companies that want to sell some or all of their business.  Most company CEOs do a great job knowing their business, and knowing what their business needs to succeed.  But far too often, the same high quality company CEO fails to understand or to prepare for an investor or strategic partner.

As a CEO, if we were to walk into a customer’s office to try to sell our products or services, we would be well prepared to know what the customer is likely thinking … what the customer’s needs and desires are … how much they probably think our products or services are worth.  The CEO will know going into the meeting how to position his company, what to emphasize to the potential client and how to effectively sell the prospect.

Why is it then that the same CEO would attempt to sell some or all of the business, to either a financial or strategic buyer, without really knowing his “customer” and getting ready?  Executives that will spend a week or a month getting ready for a single client presentation may walk into a room with a potential investor without any preparation.  What is the investor thinking?  What is their perspective on my company, my industry or the value of my business?  What do they want to learn from my presentation?  What are their “hot buttons”?  What is important to the organization that ultimately is the biggest customer that this CEO’s company may ever have?

CEO’s need to closely examine their business before seeking out new capital or strategic relationships.  The time, effort and money spent in getting ready for the largest transaction in the CEO’s corporate life will pay a dividend with an exponentially large return.