Operate Your Business as If You Plan to Sell It

Stephen L. Capper, along with his wife, Nora, and their daughters, Jami and Toni, owns and operates A-1 Awards, Inc. in Indianapolis. He has been associated with the awards and recognition industry for over 45 years, and has given numerous seminars since 1979.

I often make the statement that we should start our business as if we are planning to sell it. My point is that if a business is going to be healthy, then it should have all the attributes of success that would attract someone to buy it. After all, a buyer wouldn’t want our business if it wasn’t profitable with positive margins to show him or her there is opportunity for growth. Our business should show that we are healthy and have a vision for a successful future; a good buyer wants to buy a business with a positive vision.

First, there must be a track record with some sort of success. Often this means showing at least three years of success with positive profit margins and reasonable growth. Success is often measured with a business’s profitability, success in community status, success as to the life of the business (how long have you survived), success as to assets, and success as to clientele that have supported it year after year (your client following). 

—Stephen L. Capper, A-1 Awards