3 key objectives for developing your ICT business’ operational team
Developing effective operational teams is key to maximising the value that a buyer will pay for your business - ICT, Engineering, SaaS - whatever your industry, this is always the case.
Assuming that you are planning to leave the business when you sell, any buyer will look for a strong 2nd tier management structure which they can rely on so the business can continue as normal after purchase.
Great operational teams include the leaders within your business who have a strategic role and guide the organisation to achieve its vision, mission, and strategies alongside you.
To ensure your operational team is as prepared and "buyer ready" as possible, we've put these 3 key objectives together for you:
1 - Make sure the business functions without you
This is really important. A good buyer is looking for an investment, not a job, and a general manager to replace you will cost money. Ensure that day to day issues are not down to you to resolve. The more time you spend in day to day activities in the business, the less value it represents to the buyer.
Before you start making any changes, identify the gaps in your management and assess what skills and experience you need, then recruit or promote a suitable successor and put a management structure in place.
The ideal situation is that all the buyer needs to do is bring strategic direction and resources for further growth. Of course they will also look for synergies, but the day to day activities and relationships should be able to continue without you.
2 - Pass on your "technical expertise" to the business
Consider how a new owner - let's say a trade buyer that has strong technical expertise in the ICT sector - will take over the management of your clients.
Your organisation needs to know and understand the technical solutions and processes that have been recommended to clients and have a team of client facing technical systems managers in place.
It will also pay to develop a "hand-over" plan to transfer the business relationships to the buyer in an ordered way that will not disrupt your clients and cause them to consider other suppliers.
For larger ICT businesses, by opening up the availability of your business to buyers that are not necessarily active in the ICT sector, for example private equity firms, you will widen the circle of prospective buyers and improve your negotiating position.
3 - Ensure your business has suitable accreditations and company policies
Accreditations and company policies, such as Microsoft/VMWare/Citrix partner status, ISO quality certification, health and safety, personnel and training policies, not only add credibility to the ongoing stability of your business, they demonstrate that the right systems are in place to manage the business without the owner.
Remember that effective delegation will also strengthen your leadership team. During your time in the business, the more you can delegate to your operational team, the stronger and more reliable they will become - and the more attractive your business will be to potential buyers. Get used to sharing your responsibilities and trusting your team, it will help both you and the sale of your business.
The hardest part of developing your team can be knowing where to begin. So, start by understanding your team's developmental needs, review and update their job descriptions , talk to them, and watch them working. Ask questions and find out where the skills gaps are in your team, or who are the most suitable people to take a task or some projects away from you.
By getting a competent operational team set up will make your business look far more attractive to potential investors, and ensure it won't miss a beat without you at the helm.
We hope the article has been useful. If you have any questions about anything we've shared above, or you're looking for more advice on how you can make your operational teams "buyer ready", then we've got plenty of experience to share with you. Simply get in touch using the contact form below or give us a call on +44 (0) 20 8090 9380.