The Business Transition Blog

Being an Employer of Choice (EOC) Adds Value to Your Business

When you sell your business, you probably want to get the most value you can for it. This is when you literally capitalize on all the hard work, the risk and the sleepless nights you’ve endured as an entrepreneur. Getting $2 million for your business is better than getting $1 million and being an Employer of Choice could make that difference.

According to Roger Herman & Joyce Gioia who wrote the book, How to Become an Employer of Choice ( here are some of the benefits of earning that title:

  1. Recruiting and Marketing gets easier and less expensive. If people are attracted to your company, you have more resumes in your files and less need to advertise for people.
  2. Improved performance and productivity. “Long-term employees understand the processes, the suppliers and the customers, and they become more efficient and effective in a team-centered environment.”[1]
  3. Finding better employees. As an EOC you’ll attract an increasingly better quality of candidates from which to choose. This means you can be more selective, and put the right people in the right roles versus ‘bums in seats’.
  4. Less stress, more fun. Working with employees who want to be there, who aren’t fighting with management or each other, who want the business to succeed, makes for a better working environment for everyone.
  5. Business Continuity. When employees like their jobs, they tend to stay. Few are really looking to change for the sake of change if they are happy in their current role. With continuity, your clients and your company benefits from the skills, knowledge, and wisdom learned over many years of experience.
  6. Greater attractiveness to investors. Investors like predictability and a positive future. A company that is an EOC, and has the benefits listed above is simply worth more than one that isn’t. If I had to choose between buying a recently profitable business that wasn’t an EOC and a consistently profitable business that was, I’d go with the latter.

Becoming an EOC doesn’t happen overnight. It’s one of those business strategies that has to be done deliberately, with planning, actions and determination over time. It has to come from the top. If the owner isn’t on side and pushing forward on this strategy, it is unlikely to happen.

It will require an investment today to get that ROI, but the great news is that becoming an EOC pays off now as well as in the future. The key is to get started. Make a decision. Do you want to create a company that is considered an EOC or not? If yes or even maybe, give me a call. It’s well worth the time to discuss what steps you need to take to become an Employer of Choice before making any commitments. But it’s hard to get to that destination if you are unsure of where you are now.

[1] Roger Herman & Joyce Gioia, How to Become an Employer of Choice – Oakhill Press, 2000.

Who’s Accountable for Selling Your Business?

Gord was finally ready to sell his business. He’d had enough. He was 63 years old and he felt time ticking away. Not only had his children grown up while he was working, but now his grandchildren were also missing his attention. The truth was, Gord was exhausted. By the time he finished his normal ten or eleven hour day he just didn’t have any energy left to play with his grandchildren. Even his weekends were taken up with work that he couldn’t seem to get ahead of through the week.

He had thought about selling his business on many occasions. He liked his business. He started it 33 years earlier and it was his baby. And he waffled between a desire to let it go and a need to hang on. The need to hang on and the day-to-day momentum of old habits were powerful currents while the thought of quitting was like paddling upstream. Was it irresponsible to quit, or not to quit? Was selling the business really ‘quitting’? The conflicting emotions paralysed him and as a result he never got past the ‘thinking about it’ stage.

In the quiet moments when his wife was off to church and he had the house to himself on a Sunday morning, flashes of insight would intrude on his thoughts and he would be consciously aware that he had to do something. It was his business. He ran it. It was his responsibility. If he didn’t take charge of the situation and initiate the actions required to sell his business, no one else would.

Then doubts would flood in. “What do I tell my employees? Will they be able to carry it on? Who will buy this business? What’s it worth? Is it worth anything without me there to run it? If I tell my suppliers will they stop giving me credit? Will the bank pull my line of credit? Will my managers start looking for another job? Will my customers start dealing with that new place around the corner? Who knows anything about selling businesses and what will it cost to hire them? My lawyer has been on my case for a couple years to get started on this. I’m sure he’s licking his chops at the fees involved. What about taxes? What about my kids and their interest? What will I do if I’m not working? What about… The complexity and enormity of the change seemed overwhelming and so he would go back to reading the newspaper, effectively shutting down the logical side of his brain that knew his problem still lurked in the background.

One morning he woke up from a restless sleep and knew it was time. He had to do something. As a responsible individual who prided himself on doing the right things and doing them right, he knew that putting it off any longer was being irresponsible. But now that he was ready to get started, he had no idea where to begin. His banker? His lawyer? His accountant? His financial advisor? His management consultant? He wasn’t even sure he wanted to tell his wife in case she put pressure on him to follow through on a journey that was still unknown to him.

Gord isn’t a real person, but his situation is typical and  is reflective of many entrepreneurs I’ve met who have built their business, become part of it and then have a hard time taking the next step to transition away and do something else. A few years ago, I travelled across North America on a six month sabbatical and I interviewed a number of ‘Gords’ who had sold their businesses. They had struggled with the decision – sometimes more painfully than if they were getting a divorce. They didn’t know who to talk to, who to consult, who to trust with their secret decision.

Some, who believed it was the best decision for all involved, still felt guilty. They believed that some of their peers saw selling as a failure. They believed that their employees felt betrayed or disappointed. But in the end, they realized that it was an executive, leadership decision that had to be made and they were the only one capable of making it.

One fact is undeniable. Your business will be sold. Some day it must happen. It will happen. With or without your consent. With or without your conscious choice. With or without you in control. When you begin to wonder if it is time, start the process, take charge. Be accountable to those you care about and who care about you.  Talk to someone you trust to help you identify the steps to the journey.