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Monday, August 25, 2014

What You Have, What You Want

An effective way to begin planning almost anything is to list what you have and create a separate list of what you want – once you see this information side by side, breakthroughs can result.

Have-Want works for simple projects like planning your menu and for complex tasks like selling your business. Kicks off your planning with insight.

Imagine you have just done a quick tour of your pantry and find you have some corn-on-the-cob, small red potatoes, a few stalks of celery. Before you head out to the store, you think about what you would like to have for dinner, while looking at the list of what’s available. On your Want list you could list lettuce for a quick & easy ‘whatever I’ve got’ salad, or – seeing the basic components on the Have list for a lobster feast, you may remember the sale on lobster and mussels – lobster feast - a breakthrough dinner idea!

When considering the sale of your business, the tendency is to project the familiar - an operational view of the company – sales, inventory, payables, receivables, depreciated assets, and such. What falls through the cracks are those ’invisible’ things you take for granted – like industry knowledge, customer and competitor activities, intellectual property (processes and how you do business), and the company reputation. Each would have some value or usefulness for a new owner.

Doing Have-Want lists when considering a sale can reveal the obvious and, doing a side-by-side review, can lead to buried insights attractive to a buyer.

Here’s some rules for successful Have-Want assessments for project planning:

  • Write down each list – writing it down is a form of thinking which digs deep in your mind and memory – there’s magic in writing out the lists!
  • Be thorough, but relevant – in the Have List be sure to include intangibles which have value or recognition; in the Want List include timeframe and if you would work under contract after the sale. Don’t list every nut and bolt in the inventory, but remember to include your iconic logo or company identification
  • Be specific but concise – define, not merely describe, the Have’s and your Want’s - could someone else reading the list articulate the value or importance of the item; short, concise, specific narratives transfer the information most efficiently
  • Be honest, accurate – do not try to fool yourself – you’re too smart to fall for it anyway; accuracy can be in the eye of the beholder – so write from the other person’s view but with your knowledge...ask someone you trust to read it and interpret what you have said
  • Put the Have and Want lists on your letterhead – although the lists start off as a personal exercise, you will likely find the information useful during the sale process; putting something on letterhead transforms notes into manuscripts – and creates a tool to aid in achieving the Want’s.
Clients who were thinking of a simple (and quick) assets sale, discovered they would be discarding 50% + of the value of their organization by doing the Have -Want assessment...a worthy breakthrough.

So, what are you having for dinner – leftovers or a lobster feast?

Join us on Thursday August 28, 2014 at The Power Conference: Women Doing Business for our workshop “The Final Frontier” at Bethesda Marriott Conference Center, N. Bethesda. For details click:

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