Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

The 5 Traits We Seek in New Clients

The 5 Traits We Seek in New Clients 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

We operate as advisors to help businesses monetize brand equity. Or, in other words, we help a select group of businesses build and sell, after having that same experience ourselves. But how do we choose each client? What traits do we look for?

We look for qualities that we think are crucial in order for these businesses to achieve successful acquisition. many entrepreneurs want to be paid for their innovation. There are a lot of legal services available that are way too happy to sell them trademarks, copyrights, and patents. They’ll even put licensing agreements together and give an introduction! But we’ve learned from experience, in order to make the most on your concept, wrap it inside a product, wrap that product inside a business, wrap that business inside a brand, and then build that brand to the point that it attracts an acquirer

It takes a lot of distressingly hard work and will take longer than you think. The sales cycle alone could be more than your budget can handle. But if you’ve got what it takes, you can do it! And what does it take? Aside from great cash flow management, effective personnel management, persistence, and excellent distribution management, it takes a certain type of company.

We know we can’t help everyone. But everyone we help must succeed. Our reputation is dependent on it. How do we assess our risk ahead of time? How can we tell when a business can and will benefit from our assistance? Here are the traits we look for in our new clients.


Is the business scalable? Is their product, application, or serviceable to be duplicated and achieve increasing sales? Is their product widely marketable, mass-producible, and codifiable? Does it solve a previously unaddressed issue or satisfy a market-wide necessity? Have they set themselves apart with a product that doesn’t have much competition?


Simply put—are they able to be coached? Will they accept our advice? Will they truly listen, and apply what they’ve learned? Do they want to do what’s necessary even if it’s something they didn’t plan for? Do they respect our experience as a whole? Are they willing to put in long hours and personal sacrifices? And last but certainly not least, are they responsible for both their own actions and those of their business?


Is their business able to operate without them, now or in the future? Are they willing to delegate tasks? Do they understand what they’re good at and what they aren’t? And are they able to admit it? Do they ever consider replacing themselves? Do they take note of everything, including policies, checklists, procedures, job descriptions, and signoff sheets? When they make a mistake, does it teach them a lesson? Do they tweak their documentation to make a reoccurrence less likely to happen?


Do they have any other business experience? Are they experienced in their own market or with their own product? Do they have a positive cash flow yet, or have they broken even? Do they have any reliable customers? Do they understand the changes their product might need in order to be more acceptable?


Are they in business in order to eventually sell? Are they familiar with the top 5 potential acquirers in their field? Do they understand the size they need to be in order to gain an acquirer’s interest? Have they looked into the necessary metrics to achieve before they’d be considered by an acquirer? Will they ever be able to part with their business? Do they want to sell their business in a few years, even if it takes ten? Will they make the necessary steps to gain the attention of an acquirer?

If the business has something that benefits their industry or makes the world a better place, if they can say “yes” to most of these questions above, and if we have chemistry, then we can make a huge difference. We can save them a whole lot of time and money, and we can relieve their fears of the unknown. We want to use our years of experience to help others succeed more quickly!

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