Connect with us

Leadership Conversations

Are You Building Your Business To Last Or To Sell?



Building a business is tough but simple. Identify your market and the problems they have. Gather the herd and produce product to suit by helping them meet their needs and solve their problems. Service them so well so that they love you and tell their friends and routinely sell at a profit. Easier said than done? Marcus Cauchi Managing Director, London Sandler Training

One of the first questions I ask new clients is, “Are you building this business to last and pass on to future generations or are you building to sell and cash out?” The reason for this question is that it gives me a better idea and understanding as to how the person or persons are running the business and why.

Entrepreneurship is all about starting, growing, and building a business that matters. It is the deliberate use of one’s life to create a significant company that helps to solve one or more problems plaguing humanity. And why you do it is very important.

John Warrillow in his book, Built to Sell outlines that “Your business can grow and prosper without sacrificing the freedom to live the lifestyle you want. And that you can build a company that you can cash out and sell one day so you can retire comfortably or go after your next big idea. These two ideas are not mutually exclusive. The idea that you have to work your fingers to the bone for years to build a sellable company is flawed. In fact, the opposite is true. If you want to sell your business for the maximum amount of money, it needs to be designed to thrive without you, so the next owner can continue to grow and profit from your hard work when you’re gone”.

Norm Brodsky, Inc. columnist and co-author of Street Smarts suggest that “Most entrepreneurs don’t think about selling their businesses until it’s time to leave, which is a big mistake. As John Warrillow shows in his highly readable book, Built to Sell, you adopt sounder business practices if you build to sell from day one. Not only will you wind up with a better, stronger, more valuable company, but you’ll put yourself in a position to earn a larger financial reward if and when you do decide to sell.”

Rich Sloan, Co-founder and chief startupologist of StartupNation weighs in with the view that “As we’ve always advised at StartupNation, the end depends upon the beginning. Built To Sell, like other great business books, brings into clarity the game-changing importance of clearly envisioning the destiny of your business. But even more, it tells you how to bring that destiny to life.”

Greg Fisher (an associate faculty member at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and currently researching Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington in Seattle), writing in Entrepreneur magazine South Africa suggests that “Research shows that business owners generally take home less money each month than their corporate executive counterparts, yet business owners are, on average, more wealthy than corporate executives. The reason for this is that much of the business owners’ wealth is tied up in their businesses. To realise this wealth they need to sell their business at some point in time”.

“A small minority of people may wish to never sell their business because they are building it as a family enterprise that they will pass on to their children, but for others, the sale of their businesses is critical to realising the fruits of their entrepreneurial and management efforts. The earlier business owners consider the realities of selling a business, the more likely they are to build a business that is actually saleable.”

John Warrillow in his book reports that just one out of every one hundred business owners is successful in selling their business each year. The primary reasons that so many businesses are unsalable are that:

(a) The business is too dependent on the current owner
(b) The business offers nothing unique or distinguishable
(c) The demand for the business offering is no longer growing or
(d) The business is too messy because of poor records or potential liabilities.

Depending on the opportunity that presents itself, it may be best for all concerned if you design a company that will start fast, grow quickly, and then be sold or merged with another. Ask yourself whether you truly want to commit yourself and your company to the goal of a long and independent life. Each presents different challenges and approach to how the business is managed and resources allocated.

For Business that are been built To last:
 Growth is slower, paced and structured.
 Equity distribution is designed to encourage retention of key executives.
 Succession planning is clearly defined and
 Capital structure is designed to facilitate the long term growth of the business.

In the article Building a Family Business to Last written By James Olan Hutcheson and published in Businessweek magazine, he argues that “If you’d like your enterprise to be around for a long time, construct a foundation of passion, clear communication, and rock-solid ethics. If you want your family business to endure, strengthen it from the foundation up. Making a conscious choice to create a long-lived company is the first step in building a strong foundation. It takes some luck to survive for generations, certainly, but these things don’t happen by accident either. It starts with your intentions”.

Some of these foundation building elements start by exposing your children to the business. Take them to work with you. Tell them about the things that you love in your business. Mentor them to have a romance with the enterprise.

Also, make sure your business has good governance in place. This means creating an independent and strong board of directors with a significant number of outside directors.

Neglecting things such as wills, buy-sell agreements, or dividend payout policies is akin to inviting disease into your business and home. Keep your company healthy with prenuptial agreements, employment policies, and other corporate documents defining the strong and lasting business structure that you desire.

A business that are been built To Sell:
 Growth is much faster, but still paced and structured.
 Timeline and horizons for the owners and entrepreneurs are much shorter.
 Clearly defined cashouts
 Equity distribution is designed to allow the sale to the buyer.
 Capital structure is designed to facilitate the short term growth of the business.

According to Greg Fisher, one of the keys to being effective in selling a business is to clearly understand why the buyer wants the business.

There are four primary reasons why another company or individual will purchase a business:
1. Access to the cash flow and profits
2. Access to the customer base
3. Ownership of the technology in the business or utilisation of the technology.
4. Talented mix of employees.

As a business owner, it is important to recognise what kind of value you are creating. Is your value embedded in the operating cash flow of the business, in its customer base, in the technology that is being developed or in the talented mix of employees. Often a combination of these factors will be discussed in the sale negotiation, but in the end one of these factors will be the primary reason someone wants to buy your company. If you wish to sell your business one day, you need to create significant value in at least one of these areas.

Other factors to consider include the number of interested buyers and of course the timing to sell.

So when building a business, it is important to begin with the end in mind. Therefore, if you wish to build a business you can sell one day, think about what will happen at the time of the sale.

For more please go to

Continue Reading
Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Leadership Conversations

A Sector-Specific Mechanism To identify And Develop New Tourism Businesses And New Tourism Ideas.



With the onslaught of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Tourism, has been strategizing the recovery of Jamaica’s tourism industry. The goal of this recovery, however, is not to resume the traditional way of doing business, but to use this opportunity to re-imagine and re-invent our tourism product and value chains.

By doing so, we have championed the Blue Ocean Strategy as the theoretical underpinning of this plan of action. This strategy can be defined as the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open new market spaces and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby rendering competition irrelevant.

It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not set in cement and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players. To implement a Blue Ocean Strategy, we must re-evaluate the premises that inform our understanding of the industry’s assumptions and shape new business models. We must re-evaluate our understanding of the tourism industry, re-assess what we think our customers need and what we offer them. The goal is to expand the value chain and identify completely new products and markets.

To that end the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) is tasked with establishing a sector-specific, mechanism to support the identification and development of new tourism businesses and new tourism ideas. We are moving to establish the TEF’s Tourism Innovation Incubator.

This Tourism Innovation Incubator is a business development centre for individuals or entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas that can impact the tourism sector. This Incubator will provide a unique and highly flexible combination of services, including business support services, infrastructure; this Incubator will also nurture these entrepreneurs and support them through early stages of development and execution.

I look forward to the successful establishment of this key initiative and the impact that it will have on the future of our local tourism industry.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett

Click for more information on the Tourism Innovation Incubator

BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant. It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not a given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players.

Continue Reading

Leadership Voices

Keith Duncan and Christopher Williams have two different views on opportunities in the Caribbean. Which one is correct or are they both correct?



“The Dominican Republic is firing, and now Trinidad is firing up. The Trinidad economy has been recovering very nicely and JMMB Bank T&T continues to grow at a faster rate than market. We are really confident that we have a good team in place to drive that growth. We continue to look at opportunities in Central America and the Caribbean; that’s a pipeline that we continue to actively work, and we are hoping for good things,”
JMMB Group CEO Keith Duncan




Proven Group Limited plans to avoid acquisitions this year due to global uncertainty, but will continue to develop real estate projects. It’s the second time since the onset of the pandemic that the firm has adopted a passive approach.

“We want to preserve capital. We operate throughout the Caribbean and there are varying levels of downturn. None has been significant as a percentage, nothing greater than three or four per cent, but there is definitely a slowdown right across the Caribbean, interest rate hikes, inflation and supply chain challenges. So we are not looking for any acquisitions as a result; we are just sitting tight and making the best of our existing portfolio.”
Proven CEO Christopher Williams

Continue Reading

Leadership Conversations

How Jamaica Producers Group Has Been Organised To Generate Revenues From A Diverse Range Of Business Lines



Jamaica Producers Group Limited has been organised to generate revenues from a diverse range of business lines and, importantly, a diverse range of markets. Our Food & Drink business includes premium and travel retail products, as well as everyday snacks and basic food items. These businesses are aligned to general consumer trends such as the focus on health, convenience and provenance, and they serve markets as diverse as the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora, Northern Europe, North America and Caribbean travel retail and hospitality.

Our logistics businesses, also operating in Europe, the USA and the Caribbean, handle a wide range of commodities and service a large number of origin and destination markets. Services provided range from shipping and freight forwarding to stevedoring, terminal operations, cold storage and logistics.

We see the diversity of our business as a strength. We are of the view, however, that inflation, supply chain shocks and disruptions to business confidence arising out of war, health-related restrictions, logistics challenges and adverse macroeconomic conditions all present general business challenges in the short term. Our strategy is to build on our core business capabilities in Food & Drink and Logistics & Infrastructure through active engagement and strategic alignment with key customers, efficiency enhancing capital investment projects and selective acquisitions. Core capital investments in our terminal, cranes and warehousing at Kingston Wharves are designed to expand capacity, gain market share and drive
efficiency in our logistics businesses.

Investment in food grade packaging lines, information technology systems, efficiency and hygiene, and health and safety are all expected to bolster the Food &Drink Division in the months ahead.

Based on our acquisition strategy, we will continue to identify other logistics services that support trade with the Caribbean, and Food & Drink businesses in markets that present definite new growth opportunities for the Group. With shareholders’ equity of $18.4 billion (an increase of 9% relative to the prior year) and cash and investments of $10.9 billion, we believe that the JP Group has the balance sheet strength to support this strategy.

C.H. Johnston Chairman Jamaica Producers Group Limited

Continue Reading

Leadership Conversations

Pathways to Transformational Leadership



Leadership is a mysterious blend of managerial acumen, strategic vision, operational efficiency, performance management, tactical planning, emotional intelligence, and the capacity to inspire others to marshal all of their abilities in support of a common mission. Leadership is the nourishing ingredient that can ignite an organization to flourish or stifle to the point that it languishes in a sea of mediocrity. Characteristics attributed to effective 21st-century leaders are skills like:

 The creation of an organizational vision such that people share it and work tirelessly to bring it to fruition, or;
 Fostering communication networks and a culture that breeds trust, confidence, and commitment, or maybe;
 Stirring personal motivation so that people exert deliberate effort to achieve organizational goals, or what about;
 Building teams that tap into synergy, interdependence and performance excellence, and;
 Understanding that organizations are social systems which require tapping into emotional intelligence; or perhaps,
 Making calculated risks within the framework of an overall organizational strategy, and
 Nurturing strategic collaborative relationships that support organizational goals and function as a catalyst for creating opportunities for goal achievement.
Leadership and management of organizations have shifted from transactional functioning, the old “step and fetch it” mentality; to an essential need for transformational cultures that fully engage and encourage the participation of workers at all levels. No longer can performance excellence be achieved in autocratic climates, with orders and assignments dished out without any consideration for the motivations, interests or personality of the individual holding the plate.

In simplistic terms, phenomenal leaders choose, create, communicate, collaborate, convince, coach, calibrate, cause, and calculate, always mindful that leadership is not a system. While certainly, a leader must be intimately acquainted with management theory and its practice, becoming a leader by practice and not merely by position, results from no standard recipe. Impactful leaders are as memorable as are the results they foster are monumental; the path to this pinnacle for everyone is uniquely their own.

Generally, leaders convey five basic leadership personality styles; destructor, procrastinator, caretaker, preparer or accomplisher as they are challenged on a daily basis by four major factors in leadership; personal leadership savvy, the individuality of the followers, the situation and inherent communication networks throughout the organization. This is the case no matter if the organization is corporate, non-profit or faith-based.

Leadership perspectives commonly reflect a structural, human resource, political, or symbolic framework. Structural framework leaders rely heavily on structure, strategy, environment, implementation, experimentation, and adaptation; typically focused on positions and duties as detailed on the organizational chart. Human Resource framework leaders focus on engaging staff, being accessible and visible, sharing information, increasing participation, and spiraling communication and decision-making throughout the organization. Political framework leaders use persuasion, negotiation and ultimately coercion to lead, based upon what they want, what they believe they can get, the political lay of the land, as well as interests; while symbolic framework leaders use compelling language and imagery to convey a vision, and as a means to marshal support.

It is said that competitiveness has been lost by countless organizations as a result of more emphasis being placed on structural, political, and symbolic frameworks, instead of human resources. You see, no matter how significant the financial, product and services, technological or facility resources of an organization; in the end, the social systems, which are the people that comprise any entity, and certainly a truism in the world of organization development, are the key inputs of creativity, innovation, effort and ultimately results.

To lead, one must have a destination in mind, and a path to get there. I believe there is a pathway to leadership, and for those leaders who have the courage to discover and honor their gifts and talents, choose to work with a spirit of excellence laced with personal values, while refusing to play organizational games or allow naysayers and detractors to derail them, achieving their leadership potential is possible. From my work, and shared experiences, I would like to suggest that there are ten pathways to leadership greatness, each linked to a leadership skill that whether or not innate, can be learned.

Pathways to Transformational Leadership
Leadership PATH 1… The Roots of Leadership… Knowing and Leading Self
Leadership PATH 2… The Heart of Leadership… Servant Leadership
Leadership PATH 3… The Mind of Leadership… Visionary Leadership
Leadership PATH 4… The Soul of Leadership… Strategic Leadership
Leadership PATH 5… The Spirit of Leadership …Inspirational Leadership
Leadership PATH 6… The Practice of Leadership… Process Management Leadership
Leadership PATH 7… The Intent of Leadership… Focus Leadership
Leadership PATH 8… The Revolution of Leadership… Change Management Leadership Leadership PATH 9…The Revitalization of Leadership …Transformational Leadership Leadership PATH 10…The Hope of Leadership …Legacy Leadership

Through these competencies, each of us has the potential to unleash the leadership greatness within; expand the understanding and practice of the essential leadership tools that effective leaders embody while gaining personal and organizational leadership insights that enable us to model and coach the cornerstones of synergetic leadership to others.

John Maxwell, in his work, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, sums it up well in what he calls the “Law of the Lid.” Maxwell says that no organization’s effectiveness will ever surpass that of the leader, and for those of us who choose to embrace this mindset, it becomes clear, that in the absence of transformational leadership, an organization will merely flounder. Transformational and authentic leadership is the hope for the future, for, without it, organizational chaos will continue to burgeon.

©Dr. Anita Davis-DeFoe, a thought leader, a Leadership and Organization Development Solutionist, an International Social Entrepreneur, Management Consultant Business Development and Quality Management expert, holds an earned doctorate in Organization and Human Development. She has over 20 years of experience motivating, coaching, inspiring and transforming organizations, youth and adults. She has crafted and implemented myriad programs aimed at assisting organizations and people of all ages to discover their inner greatness and unique strengths. The CaribVoice Radio Host is the author of a personal and leadership development curriculum for girls entitled, Soulful One: For Girls on the Pathway to Greatness; and three books, A Woman’s Guide to Soulful Living: Seven Keys to Life and Work Success; Tropical Escapes, a novel; and Follow Her Lead: Leadership Lessons For Women As They Journey From the Backroom to the Boardroom.

Continue Reading

Leadership Conversations

Is fake it until you make it the worst advice EVER?



In the “Material World” of the 1980’s and 1990’s, appearances trumped authenticity. So if you could pretend to be successful, you could hoodwink people into believing you were. So there was a time when “Fake it until you make it” was advice that actually worked for people (until they burnt through all their money and had to return the house and car).

Today, there’s 4 big reasons that this is the worst advice ever:

Reason One: No one judges you anymore on “what you do”. Everyone is more interested in “who you are”. So being your true self is the No.1 most important asset you have.

Reason Two: There was a time where “what you knew” as a teaching teacher – whether a lecturer, doctor or lawyer with a “body of knowledge” – was what people valued. It took time to acquire. Today, when thing are moving so fast (and all knowledge is easily accessible online), “what you’re learning” as a leading learner is far more important than “what you know or knew”. You can be a leading learner in whatever niche you’re most passionate about from the moment you choose to commit to it – without faking anything.

Reason Three: “Faking it” was all about what you “pretended you owned” – the big houses and the fast cars. Today, AirBnB, Uber, and all the crowdsourcing sites erase the need for “ownership”. We now live in a culture where what we experience and what we express is far more valued than what we own.
Reason Four: No one wants to work for or with someone trying to be what they’re not..
Don’t fake it until you make it. In fact, don’t even make it. Just be it.

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Sourced from the internet – Roger James Hamilton

Continue Reading


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x