Planning for Life After Selling Your Business

There’s no way around it: Selling your business can be absolutely devastating. Unfortunately, it’s often a necessary and beneficial move for both you and the business. It’s not often enough that we, as business owners, discuss the emotional attachment that we have to our hard work. That’s why planning for life after selling your business is so important.

The Grieving Process

You’ve likely heard something about the process of grieving a loss: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. When you’re in the middle of preparing for your business transition, it’s not uncommon to experience these emotions.

It might begin with denial that’s it time to begin transitioning. You may pour more time, energy, and resources into the business in an attempt to make it work for you and your family. You might (metaphorically) slam the door in the face of potential buyers or investors.

Anger can take hold at any time, and you may question why the time has come to transition. You might be angry at yourself, the market, the people trying to walk you through the process.

Bargaining often goes hand-in-hand with anger. You may try to cut deals with yourself. You might think things like, “Well, I’ll just stay in for one more year and see where I’m at then,” or “I’ll definitely like the next purchase offer that comes along, so I’ll hold out for something better.”

Depression is hardest step to deal with. It can feel like you’ve abandoned your life’s work, or that you’ve let yourself down. It may take a toll on your ability to sleep, care for yourself and your loved ones, and care for your business.

Finally, comes acceptance. At this point, you’ve decided that transitioning out of your business is the right move to make. The good news is that transitioning doesn’t have to be an abrupt action. The better news is that working with an exit coach can make the transition easier to confront. Your exit coach can help you create a plan that works with your expectations for exiting, from valuation to the final sale.

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Strategic Planning for the Upcoming New Year


Though it’s only October, there’s no denying that the new year is coming swiftly upon us. Soon enough, business owners will be wrapped up in the whirlwind of the holidays. While spending time with loved ones is important, so is strategic planning for next year.

Getting a head start on evaluating your business will let you enjoy quality time with family and get a great start in 2019. Check these 5 items off your to-do list:

1. Perform a SWOT Analysis

Take time at the end of the year to complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and use the data to drive your strategic planning. Compare the results to the strategic plan you set at the beginning of 2018, then decide what parts worked and what parts didn’t. Take an honest look at where you are, where you want to be, and how you plan to get there. The safest way to take a journey is with a great roadmap, and a SWOT analysis can help you create one.

2. Make a Plan to Renew Your Knowledge

If you’ve already had training in strategic planning, or you’d like to start from scratch, the new year is a great time to seek out resources, trainings, and conventions to help you get started. Working with a business coach can give you incredible access to expertise, as well as a sounding board dedicated to helping you achieve the goals you’ve set for your business.

3. Keep an Eye Open for New Talent

Around the holidays, other business owners can start to get distracted. Stay sharp and keep an eye out for talent that would be swooped up quickly any other time of year. Make a real hiring push during the holidays, and you’re sure to see talented recruits that are looking for work.

4. Create Your Budget

This one’s pretty obvious. At the end of the year, create your budget for the following year. Spend time looking at where your money went the year before, and if those expenses were worth the investment. If not, the new year is the perfect time to start weeding out unnecessary expenditure.

5. Make a Resolution to Roundtable

Though it seems cliche, the magic of the holidays just might be what it takes to follow through on your 2019 resolution. One of the best resolutions you can make for yourself and your business is participate in a business owner roundtable. The goal of the business owner roundtable is to bring together a small peer group. Once everyone is laser-focused on the goals, the focus shifts to the hot topics on every business owner’s plate, including demystifying financials, developing key performance indicators, and strategic planning.

Want to make a professional resolution that will change your life? Work with a business coach. Catalyst Group ECR can help you get off on the right foot in 2019, with advice and coaching for every strategic planning decision that you make. Get in touch and learn more about how a business coach can improve the life of your business.

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Want to Move Up? Start By Developing Strategic Planning Skills


As you move up in your career, the cognitive abilities that you need to possess increase. Everything from your ability to handle conflict to your creativity will have to evolve along with the responsibilities you’re asked to take on. Strategic planning is one of the most invaluable skills that you can develop. It allows you to think about what the future might hold, then create strategies to tackle those challenges and opportunities with finesse and foresight.

You can start to develop these skills yourself by focusing on these three growth techniques:

1. Set Aside Time to Think and Create

Companies like Google and 3M set aside time every week, about 20% of working hours, to allow employees to work on any project that they would like to. It does not have to be work related, just productive and passion-driven. From that time, products like GMail and sticky notes were developed.

What does that mean for someone developing strategic planning skills? It’s a great way to flex your “muscle” a little, without the pressure of performing a particular task set to a particular deadline. Give leaders in your business the time to work creatively and watch them bloom. Give yourself the same privilege. Once everyone is comfortable with their projects and passions, invite people to share and collaborate. This encourages creative thinking and can lead to even more productivity.

2. Observe and Empathize

If you really want to develop strategic planning skills, it pays dividends to spend time observing your employees and “walking in their shoes.” Too often, business leaders spend their time delegating tasks and dealing with paperwork. While those are important functions of a business, take the time to see the ins-and-outs of everyday life at your company.

While doing so, ask yourself and others questions like, “What’s not working around here?” and “Could this process be made easier?” Even if nothing changes today, it’s can change in your 2-, 5-, or 10-year plans. Being aware of issues before they really become issues and dedicating yourself to improving upon them is a critical piece of strategic planning.

3. Create a Culture of Learning

Encourage yourself and others to constantly seek new information. It doesn’t even have to be specific to your field! Read travel journals, explore forums or websites about topics you’re interested in, or spend some time on YouTube learning a new skill. While this may seem like it’s not work-related, a huge portion of learning something new, like a hobby or skill, requires problem solving and perseverance.

Those soft skills can translate to hard results once you implement them into work-related projects. Think about grade school and learning reading comprehension skills. While it may have seemed that those were isolated skills at the time, we use inferencing, foreshadowing, and our understanding of figurative language everyday to understand the world around us. The same can be said for learning other skills, like creative thinking. While your ability to whittle or paint might never come in handy in a boardroom, your ability to remain patient in the face of frustration will.

The best way to develop strategic planning skills is to work with a coach who has the expertise and experience to help you grow. Catalyst Group ECR works with individuals to help them realize their potential and experience growth in their focus areas. Through one-on-one meetings, we work with the business owner to build a sense of community and rapport that provides a foundation for growth. We would love to hear from you, and help you start your journey towards developing strategic planning skills.

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What Is A Business Appraisal and Do I Need One?

There’s something to be said about knowing your worth. Your business is no different. Understanding when a business appraisal is necessary and what it can do for your company can help you take on transitions with confidence.

What is a business appraisal?

Sometimes called a business valuation, a business appraisal looks at your income, your assets, and the current market to determine a numerical value of your company. It also takes into account risks of owning that business. Professional appraisers can help, but oftentimes, people prefer that their business coach takes on the task. They know more about your business than a stranger would, but they can also maintain impartiality.

When do I need an appraisal?

Any major transition or change is appropriate for an appraisal. That can include times when there are legal disputes being waged against your business, such as bankruptcy. Some examples are:

  • Selling the business
  • Applying for a loan
  • Legal disputes, including disagreements with business partners
  • Exiting the business
  • Buying another business

How is valuation determined?

While every business appraiser has a unique approach to valuing your business, there are 5 steps that should absolutely be accomplished by the end of the process:

  1. Work together to determine the goals of the valuation and the scope of the work. Discuss what aspects of the business are being appraised and why the process is being initiated in the first place.
  2. Spend time discussing the business, including its origins, its financial history, and what the ideal future of the business looks like. In the meantime, the appraiser will look at market data to come up with a more general idea of where your business fits in the macroeconomy.
  3. Analysis financial statements to reconstruct a picture of financial trends within the business.
  4. Come up with a final number that represents what the business is worth.
  5. Compile all information into a report that can be used in any situation in which a business appraisal is necessary.

Working with your business coach can help accelerate the process and ease your exit transition. Business valuation is a critical step that will help make the best choice for your business. Check out how Catalyst Group ECR can help! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Business women having a strategy meeting

What’s The Difference Between a Strategy and A Tactic?

Jereon Flanders is one of the world’s most influential thinkers on strategy execution and a highly regarded keynote speaker. One of his favorite motivational quotes is by Sun Tzu, a revered Chinese military strategist, philosopher, and writer. He once wrote, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” The question of using strategy vs. tactic comes up often in leadership coaching situations, and it’s valuable to consider their relationship.

Strategy, Tactic, and the Business Leader

Strategy and tactic are often used interchangeably. “Tactics” tends to have a more negative connotation, like something sneaky that a car salesman does to get your money. “Strategy” is lauded as being forward-thinking and proactive, something creative and clever that helps you achieve long-term goals.

Both are necessary when it comes to running your business. Both can be positive and creative. Both can be negative and underhanded. The semantics of the words aren’t particularly relevant. What matters is that you’re bringing business strategies and business tactics together to make smart moves for your company.

Strategy vs. Tactic

So, what is the proper definition of strategy vs. tactic?

A strategy is a plan, with measurable objectives and time constraints. We’ve talked about SMART goals in the past. Setting SMART goals is part of developing a strategy. Think of strategy as your to-do list. For example, if you’re creating a strategy for cleaning your kitchen by 6:00 the evening of a party, you’d write down all the things you need to accomplish: wash the dishes, wipe the counters, sweep the floor. That to-do list is your strategy for reaching the ultimate goal of having a clean kitchen.

The tactics that you use could be any number of ideas, tools, and resources that help you accomplish your task. Going back to the clean kitchen example, one tactic for working through your strategy is loading the dishwasher. Another tactic could be using a multipurpose cleaner on the counters. Finally, your room sweeping tactic would be to grab a broom! Your tactics are the methods you use to fulfill the objectives outlined in your strategy.

Why Does This Matter?

To understand why distinguishing the nuances of strategy vs. tactic are essential, let’s look back at Sun Tzu’s quote.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.” Setting objectives and working towards them is not worthwhile without a full understanding of the methods, tools, and resources that you’re going to use.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Using incredible tools and resources without a purpose means that you’re looking at a waste of money, time, and energy that could be put into growing your business.

Are you ready to bring strategy and tactics together into functional objectives that help grow the value of your business? Are you tired of spending money on the latest tech tool with no idea how to incorporate it into the goals of your company? Working with a business coach like Lori Moen means access to over 35 years of real-life experience and expertise as both a business owner and a professional advisor. Head on over to the contact page to find out more about what she has to offer and learn about her coaching programs that throw out the cookie-cutter approach. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Business to business

5 Tips to Improve the B2B Buyout Process

Selling your business is hard. Even if you’re selling out of necessity or tragedy, it can be incredibly difficult to give up on a dream. This rings especially true if you’re selling to a competitor. The business to business selling process isn’t an easy one, but these 5 tips can help ease the process:

1. Make sure that your business is ready to sell.

Whether it’s increasing the value through value growth opportunities or working with an exit planning advisor, don’t let the sale of your business to a competitor come without benefits to your pocket. Business transition can hit you hard in the pocketbook, so set yourself up for success.

2. Come with a non-disclosure agreement ready, just in case.

Everyone knows someone who’s had a sale fall through, whether it’s a home, a commercial building, or a business. While it’s nice to think that everyone only has kindness in their heart, it’s not unheard of for a competing business to drop out of a sale and take trade secrets that they learned with them. An NDA protects your business and your process.

3. Don’t let competition taint the relationship.

A little healthy competition can sometimes be the basis of a great friendship. Be friendly and recognize that they’re almost certainly not participating in the business to business selling process with you for nefarious reasons. Work together and get what you’re looking for out of the sale.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If you’re concerned about the motivations behind the purchase, ask genuine questions about why they’re interested. Ask what their intentions are with the business once you’ve exited and why they’re thinking about going through with the purchase. If you have a bad feeling about it, walk away.

5.Work with a business advisor.

Working with a business advisor is one of the best decisions that you can make. Whether you’re only thinking about transitioning out or you’ve already started the process, a trusted confidant with knowledge of the business world is an invaluable asset.

Lori Moen knows what it’s like to be a business owner. With over 35 years of experience, you’ll find expertise and empathy that you won’t get anywhere else. Don’t let emotions and turmoil interrupt your business to business selling process. Get in touch with an advisor who cares and ease your transition out of your business and into the next stage of your life.

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Two men talking about the best business coaches

3 Essential Qualities of the Best Business Coaches

Passion. Commitment. Expertise. There’s so much that goes into becoming one of the best business coaches on the market. If you’re looking for someone to guide you through the ebbs and flows of your career, you want the cream of the crop. You want someone passionate about making your relationship their top priority. It’s not easy to find, but we can help.

The best business coaches possess three essential qualities that will make or break your success in their program. Working with someone with these qualities is absolutely imperative. Why put the time, money, and resources into coaching if the ends don’t justify the means? When speaking with potential coaches, keep an eye out for coaches that:

1. Keep You Accountable

One of the greatest products that comes from working with the best business coaches is their ability to push you forward. While there will absolutely be sessions where you rant, rave, and complain, by the end, you should have a clear cut plan as to how to move on from whatever incident has you fired up. Coaches push you to take action, move forward, and avoid getting bogged down by what-ifs. Work with a coach who has the goal-setting resources that track your successes and mitigates your struggles.

2. Are Transparent in Their Process

The best business coaches are going to be consistent in their process because their process works. There should be a clear cut plan from the beginning. That’s not to say that the process can’t be personalized to the individual clients, but the major steps need to be proven effective and implemented into your coaching plan. Ask potential coaches what their process is. If they offer a clear, concise answer with checkpoints and benchmarks, you’re on the right track.

3. Strike the Balance Between Firm and Fair

Coaches should be able to push you, give feedback, and do so with warmth and empathy. Coaches who are too firm will likely focus on negative feedback and all of the things you still have to do, without acknowledging how far you’ve come. Those that are too “soft” will lack the ability to give constructive criticism, which renders your coaching pointless. When growth is the goal, both coaches and clients must be willing to acknowledge where you’ve been, where you are now, and what great things you have ahead.

Still searching for one of the best business coaches available? Look no further than Catalyst Group, ECR. Lori has proven herself time and again, maintaining profitability for her company during the recession, growing revenue, increasing efficiency, and strategizing growth plans.

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Data on a tablet showing business growth

How to Maximize Business Growth With a Small Marketing Budget

Online marketing has become one of the most valuable tools that small business owners have access to. Even with a small budget, you can maximize marketing for business growth. Working with a business advisor can help you identify the best markets to target, as well as gain insights into networking events where you can learn more about the latest buzz around marketing on a budget.

Email marketing is one of the most valuable strategies available for small budgets. It boasts an impressive ROI of $44 for every $1 spent. Spend time with email marketing products, such as ConstantContact and Mail Chimp to segment and target individual demographics, organize your strategy, and handle the hard part of email marketing.

Another way that you can maximize marketing for business growth is to invest in complementary strategies. For example, some businesses invest in SEO services, while some invest in content creation, but bringing those two together creates a marketing force to be reckoned with.

By appealing to Google’s rules about indexing sites by implementing SEO strategies, you can climb the ranks and become more likely to be clicked on. In fact, 75% of Google searches end with a result on the first page. If you’re website is on the 3rd page or beyond, you’re not likely to be seen.

Combine SEO strategy with content that appeals to more than just shoppers, and you’re creating loyal visitors who come to your site for information and resources. Write about the things that are relevant to your business. For example, if you sell organic dog food, write about the nutrition necessary for dogs through their life or fun summer activities for dog owners. Drawing readers in with interesting content is an excellent way to direct them to your product. Best of all, if you’re a decent writer, content creation is free!Working with a business advisor like Lori Moen at Catalyst Group, ECR gives you the opportunity to learn about what marketing methods are going to work best for the product or service that you’re selling. Consider advising an investment in your company, not another expense. Eliminate strategies that don’t work and come up with a marketing plan that focuses on the needs of your company and your customers.

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Working at a table with laptop alongside a Business Coach

Why Your Business Development Strategy Needs a Coach

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” -7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Are you aiming to make your business better? The simple answer is, “Who isn’t?” No matter where you are in the process, your business development strategy needs a coach— someone who has a head for the field and the experience to put that knowledge to work.

What is Business Development Strategy?

The long and short of a business development strategy is anything that you’re doing to make your business better. Whether you’re actively seeking out new sources of revenue, marketing to larger demographics, or cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships, anything that helps your business grow is considered business development.

Whether big or small, old or new, every company can benefit from crafting a business development strategy for each individual department. Here are some examples:

  • The marketing department determines the budget necessary to move from passive marketing to active marketing. Using that budget, they implement strategies such as conferences and demonstrations, free samples, and partnerships.
  • Sales creates a plan for gaining $100,000 more in profits this quarter than last quarter. They actively pursue this goal, keeping data and timelines that help them achieve their target growth.
  • Product management is ready to move into a new region or country for sales. They create a comprehensive list of the steps needed, including legal considerations, marketing changes, and cost management. As they get all necessary approvals, they keep running records that help can help secure their position in future product growth endeavors.

No matter which department you’re focusing on, your business development strategy needs to constantly be evaluated and reevaluated. This helps you stay on track and accountable to your aspirations, making them more likely to be accomplished.

How a Coach Can Help

Business coaches help you stay accountable to your goals. Coaches are client-oriented, asking the right questions, then helping our clients find the answers that best fit their needs. It’s not about making changes to your business, it’s about making changes to the leaders within your business. Change comes from the top-down, and business leaders who are prepared to address their business development strategy needs find great success working with a coach.

Catalyst Group, ECR would like to be your choice when it comes to coaching you through a business development strategy. With over 35 years in the field of business, acting as both a business owner and a corporate trainer, Lori Moen brings experience and expertise to the table.

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3 Effective Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits

Nonprofits face a particularly large challenge when taking on the mantle of marketing. There’s very little money with which to invest in a plan. This doesn’t mean that all is lost. With some creativity and access to resources, there are effective marketing strategies for nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits succeed every day. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations currently running on the United States.

Apply for a Grant

Google has created a program that gives eligible nonprofit entities $10,000 in paid advertising per month. That’s a massive budget for advertising that most nonprofits never thought possible. It gives you access to future donors and increased visibility that can be a major boost for your organization.

The application process is simple and has a few criteria that must be met:

  1. You must be based in one of the 50 countries that Google is partnering with. This includes all of North America.
  2. Hold valid charity status
  3. Agree to Google’s terms and conditions
  4. Have a live website with content that is keyword-friendly

Get a “Donate Now” Button

Facebook offers a Donate Now button for certain nonprofit organizations that meet their requirements. This is handy because it meets your donors right where they are- on your social media page. If followers and fans are on your page, it gives them a call to action that is convenient and ready to use.

The requirements include:

  1. A verified Facebook page
  2. Verified 501(c)(3) status
  3. Based in the United States

Network, Network, Network

Working with other, larger organizations or individuals is an effective marketing strategy for nonprofits who have dedicated some time to networking. For example, panhellenic groups on university campuses often choose a charity to work with every year and work to raise money for that group. Networking with one of these groups can add funds to your budget that you may have not had access to otherwise. Setting aside some of that money for marketing now can pay dividends later.

Whether you run a nonprofit or for-profit company, there’s value in working with a business coach. By building a network of like-minded business leaders, you’ll gain access to powerful tools that help you grow your organization. You’ll learn more about effective marketing strategies for nonprofits, along with countless other skills that can help you grow.

Contact Catalyst Group, ECR for more information about our services, including round tables, one-on-one coaching, and leadership development.

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