Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Business

Selling Your Business? Stop Leaving Money on the Table

Submitted by Michelle Young at Toptal

Authored by Jeffrey Mazer, Finance Expert at Toptal

Edited by Lynn Patra

Key Highlights

  • Current market conditions are prime for selling a business. The market is experiencing high multiples due to plentiful dry powder held by private equity firms, record amounts of cash held by strategic corporate buyers, a low interest rate environment, and high prices for publicly-traded equities.
  • The time it takes to sell generally ranges from five to twelve months. The determining factors around timing include the size of your business and the dynamic balance between buyers and sellers in the market.
  • Valuations are more of an art than a science. The best business valuation methods typically involve cash-flow. Still, the three most commonly utilized valuation calculations are the discounted cash flow, market multiples, and asset valuation.
  • The best practices for maximizing shareholder value include the following:
    • Make sure the business can thrive without you. You need a management team or key employees that can continue to drive cash flow, especially if you plan to exit the business or will have limited involvement in day-to-day operations. You should also broaden your customer base so that the business is not at risk if a couple key customers leave post-sale.
    • Learn the dynamics driving acquisitions in your industry. Many business owners spend their time focused on keeping the business running instead of devoting energy to planning for its sale. Stay apprised of the motivations for financial and strategic buyers in your industry, as this can help you negotiate a higher exit value.
    • Hire the right advisors. Don’t do it alone. An experienced M&A advisor can market your company to a larger group of potential buyers than you can access on your own. Early engagement of an independent valuation specialist can provide a market check on valuation and allow you to incorporate value drivers into your pre-sale planning.
    • Examine and adjust operational efficiencies strategically. If necessary, it could be worth adopting efficient operating procedures before the sale. This may involve investments in new equipment or technology or changes in staffing.
    • Factor tax considerations into sale decisions. Decisions around how to sell your business (merger, sale of stock, sale of assets) should consider tax implications carefully. It is also important to anticipate changes in tax law.

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You Need a Hero: The Project Manager [Abridged]

Submitted by Irene Papuc at Toptal

Authored by Ethan James, Freelance Software Engineer at Toptal

This abridged version was edited by Lynn Patra

This article is for you, the plucky entrepreneur with an app idea in your heart and cash in the bank. Diagrams you’ve scribbled on cocktail napkins will disrupt the world, and dump trucks full of money have been dispatched to your house. To ensure timely arrival, here’s advice for making your production cycle run smoothly.

Why You Need A Project Manager In The First Place

“Computer programs are the most complex things that humans make,” says Douglas Crockford, a senior software architect at Paypal who has pioneered various cool technology. He is someone with expertise about working on large projects. Read more of this post

How the Skills Gap Affects the Global Economy [Infographic]

Thus far, this blog has focused on issues as they pertain to the United States. As a departure, this infographic compares the existing skills gap in various nations. I’m sharing this as a natural lead-in to an upcoming post on work-related trends and challenges in other countries (with a focus on Asia). The future post will consider the interaction of government policies’ impact on the local economy and demographic trends, and how this impacts innovation and entrepreneurship. I find that examining circumstances in other parts of the world can benefit one’s thinking about issues within one’s own country.
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The following information was published in 2012 (which is still considered recent according to the world of social science research – the last time I checked anyway). Let me know your thoughts and if there’s information you would add to or change here.

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A Personal Note & Sober View of Online Business Headaches: Reputation Management & Cybersecurity

The benefits of online businesses have always been clear to me (e.g., the freedom and flexibility, the broad reach to potential faraway customers, etc.). However, recently I noted some massive issues online business owners face – reputation management and cybersecurity.

Internet mobs can destroy someone’s livelihood for years, and an unpopular or misconstrued Tweet (along with bad luck perhaps) can spark their wrath. Such missteps are related to innumerable topics – too many to list. So, I’ll visit the issue of bringing up politics in professional communications for business owners (but much applies to job seekers and employees alike) as I’ve previously discussed it from another angle.

Reputation management: Politics

Business owners must be wary of expressing political views in ways that don’t mesh with their customer base. I don’t know how often cases like this happen but one of my survey respondents wrote that merely unveiling your political affiliation can alienate customers: Read more of this post

Special Feature: Advanced Tactics for Highly Collaborative, Remote Teams by Breanden Beneschott – Co-founder / COO at TOPTAL

In a time where ideas and statements are often repeated over and over again, even as they relate to innovative ideas like remote work, I’m delighted to present Breanden Beneschott’s surprising and refreshing psychological insights on improving remote teams members’ communication. This exciting article will help you see obstacles and solutions differently as well as how possible remote work arrangements really are.

At Toptal, nothing about remote work is controversial. Over the last four years, we’ve lived and worked remotely in more than 30 countries. We’ve been running a 100% remote, 90-person strong, venture-funded company that grows hundreds of percent year over year—almost entirely from our laptops, phones, and tablets. Working remotely is a productive and efficient reality that we evangelize to our clients, while practicing what we preach. Hiring remotely removes the constraints of geolimiting and makes it possible to build the best team, regardless of whether members are across the Bay or around the world.

But it turns out some very smart people don’t agree with me. Recently, a post by Paul Graham and a subsequent response by Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg sparked a huge debate about remote work. I circulated Matt’s post to my team, because I think it simply and concisely says what we’ve been broadcasting for years: hire the world’s best talent, regardless of where they live, and everyone wins.

You’re probably already familiar with the textbook cases of successful remote teams such as 37Signals, Automattic, GitHub, and many more, but consider some not-so-obvious examples of times when office-dwellers work from afar:

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Announcement: Due to great alignment in interests, Irene Papuc from Toptal has been invited to feature articles on remote work, business, and other related topics on my blog. So I’d like to introduce her to my readers now and welcome her. By the way, I’ll be posting more in the near future as well. More on this later!

My Life with Animals: Loki’s recovery part two – the great poop watch of 2012

If this content seems odd and off-topic, bear with me as I tie this to my blog’s subject matter. Autumn always draws my attention to the fact that the year will soon end. When this year ends it’ll be 9 years since the Great Recession began. Can you think of many places that have scarcely recovered after all these years? Let me know. As for me, the still bleak economic condition of my hometown of Redding, California always sticks out.

Despite a prevalent impression that there’s nothing to see or do here however, Redding has notable points of interests. Turtle Bay is one of them. During tough times, Turtle Bay continued to adapt and improve operations, including the current transition to a more sustainable business model. If any of you plan to visit Northern California or just pass through, consider giving Turtle Bay, and Redding, your patronage. This story showcases the staff’s devotion to their non-human residents but they also stress that wild animals belong in the wild.

Turtle Bay Blog

I sat for eight hours on the floor with Loki, trying to make him comfortable enough for him to sleep and diligently watching his IV lines. By the end of the day, the vet said that Loki had had a sufficient amount of the IV antibiotics and pain meds that he could leave the clinic. But before we could go, the vet put a pain patch on Loki’s front leg that needed to stay on for three days and that meant that the cone-of-shame needed to stay on as well. Evidently, we weren’t out of the woods yet in many ways.  First, it was going to take a small miracle to stop Loki from getting to that pain patch and consuming it. Second, we still didn’t know if his intestines would heal well enough to hold.  We had to wait for him to successfully defecate to know he was okay. And so…

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