This is Safari Paul coming to you from South Africa where I just got to witness my first kill! As we watched from our Land Rover, a Mama Cheetah came out of nowhere and pounced on a weak Impala. Swiftly, and with precision, the Cheetah accomplished her goal to kill the Impala. It was all Read More »
Posts By: Paul Belair
When you’ve done the work ahead of time with your exit planning process, you’ll be ready should the decision be made to sell the business. However, you likely aren’t sure what to expect when that time comes. Below is a recap of my experience as CEO of Roth Bros, Inc., when we decided to sell the business. Although it is business, it’s also emotional, and it can be a long, drawn-out process finding the right buyer and making the sale happen. In that way, it’s much like getting married.
When I was CEO of Roth Bros., Inc., and we made the decision to sell the company, we opted for a strategic rather than a financial buyer. After the sale, I was still involved with the company for another three years. That time was a challenge I did not fully expect. To prepare you for the after-the-sale experience as CEO, I offer my story.
Most people do not like to deal with conflict in relationships. Conflict worsens when you're not clear in what you really want, and don't listen to what the other person is really trying to say.
As President of Roth, a national service contracting firm, I thought we had all the boxes checked for running a great business. Believing you're good without knowing if you really are is a scary thing. Yes, we were profitable and growing but could we perform better? How could we improve if I didn't know where we weren't best in class?
Many CEOs who run contracting or facility service companies are much stronger with the technical aspect of what their company does vs. the financial aspect. I was just the opposite. I grew up in the financial world. In fact, before running Roth Bros. Inc., a national service contracting firm, I was CFO of a $500 million company. Therefore, I am uniquely qualified to provide insight into how you can know the numbers that matter in order to successfully run your company.
CEO coaches, like coaches of athletes, can help you dramatically improve your performance (and therefore business) in a short period of time. I do not know of a competitive athlete without a coach. Athletes who are at the top of their game all have coaches. And business is a lot like athletics.
Do you know if your customers care about you or your company? Do you know what they really think about your service? And, do you know what is going on with them that could impact your relationship with them?
I read in Gallup's book on employee engagement that an employee's view of the company they work for has everything to do with whom they report to. Even if you have a great culture, history, reputation, etc., if some of your people are working for an idiot, those people will not be engaged and they will think poorly of the company. The power supervisors at all levels have to ruin or make your culture and therefore employee engagement is huge, because employee engagement can make or break your company. That’s why I say you need to measure it.
I'm sure we've all had to overcome some kind of adversity to gain the privilege of becoming CEOs. For me, most of my first 25 years on this earth were spent angry, confused and misunderstood. However, I ultimately chose to turn adversity into success by learning to change my mindset.