In reply to the question: “Can I have access to your ‘Not Ready For Prime Time’ prospects? I can help the companies that are not a fit for your services.”

Thank you for reaching out, I always value the chance to make another connection. However, as you may have surmised by the fact that this page was prepared before you contacted me, you’re not the first person to propose what you’ve proposed. Nor will you be the last.

Here are the challenges I have with your approach:

  1. Not ready for prime time: You’ve assumed that we decline engagements because an otherwise saleable company is not quite saleable enough. I regret to inform you, this isn’t the case. Frankly, a company with warts and operational issues often gives us a chance to show off our mettle. We are experts at finding the best way to position a company to maximize its valuation in the eyes of buyers.
  2. Overlap with what we do: As cited in #1, part of what we do is position a company in the best light possible so we can maximize the valuation. This means we suggest operational fixes. We disclose warts and problems to potential buyers and we do everything we can – honestly and ethically – to mitigate negative attributes and reduce their impact on valuation. Further, buyers often like to acquire companies with some warts, especially after we’ve provided a roadmap of what needs to be fixed. They view these warts as areas where they can invest and improve valuation. As a result of this overlap in our respective businesses, we are hesitant to suggest a client or prospect hire someone else who will do a lot of what we said we would do.
  3. Timing: If a prospect is ready to hire us – and that only happens after we’ve properly managed their valuation expectations –we’re going to take the assignment. What is my incentive to wait a year or two (or more) to sell a company? Something can go sideways at the company, the economy can take a nosedive, the consultant we bring in might do a poor job (thereby tarnishing us by proxy), and worse, the delay means we might be forgotten and another investment bank is hired.
  4. Risk: If a business owner is ready to sell the business, that person is ready to sell now. That owner may not be interested in investing time and money into a multi-year quest to boost valuation. That owner wants to go now.

Do we turn down opportunities? Yes, but those typically are early stage startups or very small going concerns, both of which typically are cash constrained. If a company can’t pay us for our service, they won’t be able to pay you for your service. And no offense to your consulting prowess, but you are not going to be able to turn a $1 million revenue company into a $20 million revenue company in a year or two.

In other words, the reasons why we pass on certain situations are probably the same reasons why you would pass on the same situation: the client is too small, lacks funds, and/or does not have a business that can grow.

Here’s how we can work together

I’ve told you all of this because I wanted to give you the benefit of my experience and observations. I am not shooting from the hip and capriciously turning down your overture. Instead, I’d like to explore ways we can work together, ways that are rooted in how we actually do business. To that end, here’s what I’ve done:

  • If you’re not on my distribution list, send me an email with your full professional contact info. You’ll get emails from me. You’ll like them. You’ll see. Send me an email, bill at bill snow dot com. I reserve the right to not add people to my distribution list for any reason.
  • If we have not yet connected on LinkedIn, please feel free to connect with me
  • I’ve written a book on networking. It details my experiences and insights, as well as techniques I employ when trying to work with others to create business. Take a look, it’s a quick read and I only charge 99 cents (for the e-book, the paper version costs a bit more). The book is called Networking is a Curable Condition. If you don’t laugh and/or it takes more than an hour to read it, please see a doctor. And if you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back.
  • And I’ll be happy to get together so we can meet and begin to learn more about each other’s business and what we might be able to do together.

What I Am Interested In Doing

Instead of focusing on the known universe of our clients, I’d rather work together to find yet unknown clients. That unknown universe is far, far bigger than the small universe of existing clients. We are a boutique firm, we only have a handful of clients each year. Instead of trying to divvy up a small pie, let’s work together to create a bigger pie of new opportunities for us both. Let’s find ways to communicate to prospects who have gone “radio silent,’ which, by the way, is the largest competitor we face.

If this approach appeals to you, let me know and we can set up a time to meet. Go to the contact page to find out how to contact me.