Running a business is hard work - the hours are long and task of finding and keeping new customers is never ending. It's this constant need to find business that sometimes makes it difficult to turn down an opportunity even if you know it’s the wrong one. What you need to keep in mind is that just because it's an opportunity doesn't mean it's a good opportunity! Sometimes one of the best things that you can do for your sanity and your bottom line is to say no and walk away. This is why you need to be able to spot a bad situation before getting trapped.
Marcus reminds us of this all the time! There are tons of businesses nationwide that want his help but only a few actually get it. In fact, there are episodes where he goes in and tries to make a deal and ends up just getting up from the table. Why is that? Because after looking at the financials, business operations, and the people involved, saying no is exactly what he needs to do!
There are number of reasons why you might want to say no to a business opportunity but here are some of the most common situations that Marcus encounters. Keep an eye out for these red flags the next time you’re presented with an opportunity:
Everyone is different which means that there are times when your personalities just may not match, and that's okay! Being able to trust the people that you're in business with and rely on them to do their part is absolutely essential. If you find that a good-looking business opportunity arises but it will cause you to have to work with someone who just doesn't mesh well with you or your team, then that may mean you need to walk away. You have to weigh how financially lucrative the deal will be compared to how difficult it will be to execute. Sometimes the stress just isn't worth the money! Obviously, the best course of action is to be able to overcome your differences. But if that can't happen because the mismatch is too great, just say no thank you - you'll save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run!
Marcus encounters a lot of strong-willed entrepreneurs who don’t want to relinquish any control of their businesses and their steadfast personalities are sometimes reason enough for him to say no thank you!
Goals are Misaligned
Having different goals is a surefire recipe for failure! You need to be on the same page in terms of what you want to accomplish before knowing how you can work together. Taking the time to sit down and think through your short-term and long-term goals is essential for any new opportunity!
Sure, everyone wants to be successful, but success can mean very different things to different people. There are times when Marcus will go into a small business with grand plans as to how he wants to overhaul and expand it, only to discover that the owner really wants to stay small and local and simply get more money out of the business in the process. These are very different goals, and knowing that they envision different things allows Marcus to decide if it makes sense to try to work together.
Sometimes two people or entities try to get together on a business deal because the same goal in mind. But even though those are goals are the same, their approach for getting there is totally different. You may think that this doesn't matter because in the long run you'll both end up in the same place, but in the interim it can cause a lot of friction! Wanting to take different steps along the way can also cause you to end up in two different places even if you set out to achieve the same goal from the beginning. Ultimately, seizing the opportunity to work with someone else for greater success should mean that you have both the same goals and also the same approach to accomplishing them.
There are times when the way a business does something is just as important to them as what they do. In these situations Marcus has to be sensitive to an owner’s preferences, but if he feels that their approach isn’t sustainable or won’t be scalable and they don’t want to change, he’ll forgo making a deal.
Unwilling to Work Together
Trying to do business with someone who doesn't want to work together can undermine even the best plans. An opportunity should be a partnership not a one sided agreement. You should never feel like you're being bowled over by the other party, nor should you feel completely responsible for a partnership’s successful outcome.
Sometimes people treat Marcus like a bank. They ask him to come in and help and then just hold out their hand asking for money but have no intention of sharing any control over the decision-making process with him. This unwillingness to work as a team is one of the biggest reasons Marcus leaves deals on the table. He knows that if he puts the money in to turn these types of businesses around, they’ll just kick him out at the first chance that they get and it won’t allow for an ongoing partnership.
Just a Bad Deal
A good opportunity should benefit both parties involved equally, but sometimes an opportunity can end up benefiting one party more than the other. This inequality can tear apart a partnership. Before you get yourself in this situation, you need to effectively define the opportunity in terms of benefits for everyone involved so that no one ends up feeling slighted. If it seems like a bad deal from the get go, just walk away!
More often than not, owners will overestimate the value of their businesses. In these cases Marcus will make an investment offer and they will make a really ridiculous counter. Marcus realizes right away that their offer would just be a bad deal for him, so he tries to get them to understand his position. If they’re unwilling to budge on the numbers or the terms, he’ll leave the deal in his dust as he moves onto the next opportunity.
Now that you know which red flags to look for, use these criteria the next time you’re presented with a business opportunity! Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below!
Keys to Success: The 3 P’s
The Hidden Cost of Everything
Are You Leveraging Your Existing Assets?
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!