September 2018
MidMarket Talk: September 2018
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Many of our members and contacts are accomplishing amazing things and we want to hear about it! This is a place for our readers to tell us about accomplishments and highlight your successes, so don't be shy! We are also interested in hearing about current events, newsworthy stories, and suggestions for ways that you would like to stay connected with The Alliance family.
Getting Started with Social Media for Your Business
By: Kelly Betzold,  Business Development Associate

Social media can be a great way to build awareness of your company and its services as well as allow you to connect with potential clients. It gives you a presence in the newsfeeds of the people you are trying to reach. Best of all, it is free to have a presence on the social media so you may as well take advantage of it.

You Should Be Using at Least One Social Network
If you are not already an avid social media user, the idea of beginning to promote yourself across multiple channels can seem exhausting. However, there isn't a strong need to be present on every network. Some networks may not be appropriate for your work, too. For example, if you are not taking a lot of photos that highlight the type of work you do, Instagram is probably not the best use of your time. A great way to get started with using social media to promote your business is to pick one of the big networks to get started. Typically, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter are the best places to begin. Of course, you don't have to choose just one and can get started on all three right away.

Understand the Business Tools on Your Networks
Once you have decided which networks are the most appropriate for your business, it is good to look at the business tools that are available. While setting up a Twitter for your business is the same process as setting up a personal account, Facebook and LinkedIn have special pages that are designed for businesses that have advantages over using a personal profile as your brand's presence. All three networks, though, offer advertising options and basic analytics tools to track engagement with your followers.

Come up with a plan for content
When we post to our personal accounts, we are usually creating content in the moment and have not come up with an overall strategy on how to display our identities to our families and friends. Posting to a business account, though, is not the same as posting to a personal one. A good first step to creating a strategy is to understand the basics of how the different networks operate. On Twitter, for example, you would want to try and post frequently so as not to be completely lost in the constant chatter of other tweeters. Facebook and LinkedIn, though, are a little friendlier to less frequent posting.   Continue Reading>>
Dealmakers Planning for a Successful Merger or Acquisition: Aligning The Management Group (Part 2)
By: Gary W. Craig, Managing Partner & COO, Vector Group, Inc

Last month In MidMarket Talk,  we dealt with  Dealmakers Planning for a Successful Merger or Acquisition: Aligning the Management Group (Part 1) .  We also proposed the idea that if Dealmakers are true advisors, they need to advise their client on the criticality of aligning the Management Group.  We focused on how to facilitate the All Managers Session and now will show what to do with what comes out of the sessions for management to act upon for the accomplishment of the strategic intent of the merger or acquisition.  
As promised, we will discuss what happens after the All Managers Sessions regarding the values and practices, accountabilities, communicating the results of the sessions, developing feedback surveys to gauge perceptions of the manager's behavior in the new way and creating development plans for staff and action plans for the managers. 
Remember, too, that the Management Group includes those ranging from senior management to first-line supervisors and this group is the driving force for organizational behavior. As we move further into Phase IX of the Roadmap or integration for the first year, aligning the Management Group is a critical component of moving forward.  Continue Reading>>
Business Transition In The Middle Market 

The National Center for the Middle Market ("The Center") has recently released a fact sheet on "Business Transition in the Middle Market." The results of their analysis of business transactions, whether it was buying, selling, or changing leadership, found that transition is common in the middle market. While change is always constant in business, middle market companies experiences major organizational transitions differently from other companies.

The Center is the leading source for knowledge, leadership and research on mid-sized companies, based at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. Thomas A. Stewart is the Executive Director of The National Center for the Middle Market and was our keynote speaker at The Alliance 2018 Summer Conference. 
Why Prospective Business Buyers Should Love Flat Revenue
By: Ken Whitley, Murphy Business & Financial Corporation

Perhaps "love" is a strong word. Perhaps "not be put off by" is more appropriate. Flat revenue refers to a chart's depiction of the historical trend of a business's revenue - flat revenue means that the trendline is nearly horizontal, stagnant, ... flat. Some prospective buyers immediately move on to the next business to be considered when they see a flat revenue trend.
Why do I say that flat revenue deserves further investigation? Many times, revenue is flat simply because the owner has rationally chosen to avoid the expense, effort, and headache associated with growing the top line. Many small businesses are built to the point of satisfying the owner's lifestyle, and once that goal has been satisfied, the barriers to moving beyond are too great. Maybe it's learning about "all that SEO stuff," maybe it's the risk of conceiving a new product line, maybe it's knowing that staff will need to be hired - for myriad reasons, the perceived payoff just isn't worth it. And, there's nothing wrong with that. After all, the owner is the owner.
But for a buyer, a business with flat revenue can represent a great opportunity. Maybe there are marketing channels that haven't been explored. Maybe there are complementary products or services that could be offered. Maybe it's simply having a willingness to commit more energy and effort to growth.
We often see this last idea bear fruit early on. One of my relatives bought a flat-revenue, simple service business about a year ago. Before doing so, I assisted her by doing a purchase price justification using a discounted cash flow model (I know ... geek!). It showed that the seller had priced the business based primarily on a rear-view look, which is not uncommon, and that by growing revenue by just 3% per year, the present value of the business was more than the owner was asking. The buyer also had specific ideas about how she could grow by much more in the first few years after taking ownership. She scooped up that business, and after nearly a year, she is ahead of the former owner by 8%. Over the last six months, she's ahead by more than 15%. How did she do it? Energy. Enthusiasm. Evidence-based decisions. Price increases. Pruning unprofitable customers. Firing. Hiring. Pay increases for staff. Embracing new marketing ideas. Learning "all that SEO stuff." Continue Reading>>
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