First Impressions and a Successful Exit

Posted on September 6, 2017 by Danny Windsor

An article on the American Psychological Association website revealed what James Uleman, a psychology professor at New York University and a researcher on impression management, had to say about first impressions.  Professor Uleman said, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression(Rowh).”  On a personal level, we understand exactly what professor Uleman meant.  Each of us makes an initial impression of those we meet.  Very often, the first impression is the appearance of the individual.  This includes how they are groomed, dressed, their posture, and facial expressions among many others.  Initial impressions are strong and cause us to form an immediate opinion of the person whether the opinion is accurate or not.

Those who are looking to purchase a business are also greatly influenced by first impressions.  Business owners should take note and realize that in order to exit quickly and separate themselves from the competition, first impressions of their company are critical to exiting successfully.   There are at least three areas for a business to have a positive first impression.

  • Physical Appearance– How does the business look? Is it clean, organized and well kept?  Does the company look like a company that considers itself a winner?  The way a business appears tells a potential buyer if management takes pride in the business and is serious about its success.
  • Financial Records– Accurate, consistently prepared, financial statements that are organized appropriately and can be produced quickly are very impressive.  John Dini has said, “The quality of historical financial information is the one single factor with the highest impact on the business sale process(Dini, p. 61).”
  • Due Diligence Documentation– Those who have gone through a complete sales process understand the tremendous amount of information that will be requested in many different areas of the company.  Having at least 85% of this information assembled and organized will be very impressive to a buyer because so few companies complete this step.

Those serious about selling their business quickly and for maximum value will be serious about making  a great first impression.  John Dini said, “Every single step of the listing and negotiating process is being judged by the buyer for its professionalism.  Since your prospective buyer doesn’t know you, he is judging the value of your business by what he sees(Dini, p.60).”

*Rowh, Mark, (November 2012), First impressions count, Psychological Association

*Dini, John F., CMBA, CBI, (2010), 11 Things You Absolutely Need To Know About Selling Your Business, Second Edition


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