Ardent means enthusiastic or passionate. That is how I feel about entrepreneurship and business leadership. During my business career I have lead eight companies and been involved in 16 mergers and/or acquisitions. My personal mission is to develop the best possible team, give them the best possible tools and get the hell out of the way. Ardent’s purpose is to provide the information necessary to business leaders to turn their employees into owners.
A recent survey indicated that 80% of business owners plan to sell their business to family members or employees and 20% plan to sell their business to a competitor or outsider. What actually happens is the 20% that plan to sell to an outsider do, and the 80% that plan to sell to a family member or employee only complete the transaction about 20% of the time. Why?
It appears we have very good tools to transfer the goodwill and intellectual property from one firm to another. This is often a straight forward financial analysis and transaction. However, the ability to transfer the institutional knowledge, business management skills and trust to the next generation takes time and effort. To develop the best possible team and give them the best possible tools to carry forward takes communication, empowerment and trusting with confidence. The reality is that much of this planning occurs in a vacuum. Too often we confuse the urgent with the important and fail to make our own firm’s needs a priority.
By turning your employees into owners you have more options. A highly effective management team that is empowered and tested provides the business leader more options when planning for the future. It allows you to fill a wise counsel role and distance yourself from the day-to-day activities with confidence, make your firm more valuable to others, and it provides the foundation to transfer the organization to your employees.
When I ask business owners what their definition of success is, or when they will transition their organization to the next team, the knee jerk response is cashing out when I can get the best possible price. After thinking about it awhile, many reflect on leaving the organization in the best possible hands to carry on and build on the legacy they had built. There is often a desire to make sure the employees and customers are well taken care of. Ardent looks beyond just the dollar to meet your definition of success.
Not making a decision is a decision.