Big Idea of the Month: Your Business Should Always Be for Sale
Perennial Software Co-Founder Michael Marks says while you don’t need to be looking for buyers, you should be willing to listen when offers come your way.
It seems as though I have known Michael Marks for as long as I’ve been in the industry … about 50 years now. I’m not sure if Michael is that old, but I remember him as a little boy when I consulted with his father, Jerry, about the family security business.
And it was a family business, meetings took place around the dining room table in the Marks family home, and if memory serves me correct, Michael, the second oldest of six brothers was the one who always interrupted our business conversations with questions. Still doing it. So when I say I’ve known Michael for a long time, it really has been a long time.
During the intervening years, we saw each other probably four or five times a year at industry events or when I came to Ohio (where the Marks family lived) to talk to the local association. This is not to say that Michael wasn’t always busy. He was and he eventually became co-owner of the Sedona Software organization, along with his partner Don Faybrick.
They built the company up to the point where it became the leading software developer and marketer of the security and alarm industry. I spoke at several of their conventions, which became major industry events and their customer list grew to include some of the largest and most successful security companies in the industry.
And then, roughly two years ago, they sold the company — thus accomplishing one of Michael’s primary goals to sell his company to a quality buyer that would continue the history of service and product development for which Sedona became known.
By the way, his goal called for the business to be sold before Jan. 1, 2020. The sale was concluded 18 months early, validating Michael’s adherence to the exercise of goal-setting.
When I asked Michael for his really big idea that he could share with other dealers who are contemplating selling their businesses, he thought about it and then said to create a successful organization, it also must be profitable, thus profit-driven. He also urged readers of this column to get a copy of the book the “E-Myth,” which Michael credits for helping him to achieve all he has.
A second idea he insisted was equally as important is to remember the only thing in life that is permanent is family and your business should always be up for sale.
Now that doesn’t mean you should be out looking for buyers, nor does it mean you necessarily should sell your business, but rather always be willing to listen when offers come your way. All of these things prepared Michael to be willing to look at his business and recognize that the business is nothing more than a vehicle to achieve your goals.
Obviously, that means running a successful business has to be one of your goals. As my old boss Earl Nightingale has said, “Success is nothing more than the progressive realization of a worthwhile, predetermined goal.”
And once those goals have been achieved, it’s time to set new ones. By the way, Michael also credits yoga for enhancing both his mind and spirit, as well as his body.
Not surprisingly, just like Bill Gates and a number of other very successful people, Michael would like to mentor entrepreneurs. And at some point, he’s going to figure out just the way to do that. I wouldn’t bet against him.
In mid-March, Michael was inducted into the SSI Industry Hall of Fame. It’s a pretty prestigious honor. For me, it is like one of my kids (or grandkids) graduating college. I just take a lot of pride and pleasure in seeing somebody I have known so well achieve so much so early in life.
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