Johnny, a young boy, wakes up one day to find a small dinosaur about the size of a dog in his room. He gets out of bed and runs to his mother.
“Mother”, he exclaims, “there’s a dinosaur in the house!”. “Oh son”, she replies, “you have the most vivid imagination.” Feeling discouraged, Johnny goes back to his room where he saw it and, to his amazement, the dinosaur is not only really there but is now twice the size of his dog.
So he runs back to his mother and again exclaims, “Mother, there really is a dinosaur in our house!” Chuckling, his mother replies “Oh Johnny, you’ve been watching too many cartoons. There is no dinosaur in our house!” “But Mother”, he cries, “there really is, and he’s growing!” His mother simply smiles and goes back to what she is doing.
So Johnny goes back to check on the dinosaur only to find that the dinosaur has grown even larger and is now barely squeezing into his bedroom. “Wow!”, he says, “maybe now Mother will believe me”. So he goes to his mother a third time and says “Mother, there is a dinosaur in our house, and he’s grown to the size of my bedroom!” “Impossible,” she replies, “dinosaurs do not exist! You must stop letting your imagination run away, son.” So she continues what she is doing.
Later, Johnny’s father is driving home from work and turns down the street. He stops when he suddenly approaches four long, scaly legs in the middle of the road. When he looks up, he is shocked to see what appears to be his house on top of the long, scaly legs. He rolls down the window and shouts “Johnny! Are you there?!” Johnny looks out the front window and replies “Hi Dad! There’s a dinosaur in our house!” Johnny’s father then yells “Where is your mother?!” To which Johnny replies “Right here!”
Then Johnny’s mother peers out the window and says to her husband “Your son has the most vivid imagination. Today he tried to say there’s a dinosaur in the house!” The husband, baffled, cries “But honey, there IS a dinosaur in the house!” Now the mother looks down, notices the movement of the house and sees the long, scaly legs and cries “Oh, look dear, there is a dinosaur in our house!”
This story illustrates what often happens to business owners. They get so wrapped up in the day to day operations, making deals, evaluating the books, managing employees, that they don’t notice there’s a “dinosaur in the house.” What is the dinosaur? It could be a hole in their cash flow. Or it could be a significant portion of the business that’s becoming obsolete or otherwise unprofitable. It could be the lack of quality customer service causing an increasing number of clients to be dissatisfied and leave.
All of these potential issues may be small dinosaurs today, but over time can become a potential crisis in your business. What’s more, they could significantly erode the value of your business in the future- the opposite of your long term goal, which is to grow the business! When we meet with clients we find that in most cases, they haven’t thought about these and many other possible issues. Usually the issues are still small, and we can give the business owner a few key items to take back to their company to start implementing. This is the best case scenario: to meet with us when things are good, but you know they could be better, so that we can help you come up with strategies to increase revenues and business value. This is just one of the key components of the exit planning process: examining value drivers and where to focus your efforts.
Don’t be like Johnny’s mother and wait for the dinosaur in your business to grow so large that it overtakes everything you have worked hard to build. By then, we may be able to tell you the dinosaur is there, but there won’t be a whole lot else we can do! Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation and get on a path to success.
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