Our final reprint for the summer is a blog written for The Successful Transition Planning Institute on preparing your company for a sale.  Enjoy your last days of summer!

Preparing the operations of your business to maximize your profit in a

I am honored to be a guest blogger this week for the Successful Transition Planning Institute. Excerpt of the blog is below, or click here for the full story.

Regardless  of what ‘operations’ means in your company, there are things you 
can do to get your operational house in order before you bring in a formal
transaction team that will maximize the value of your company and get you
the highest possible price in a sale.

There are some operational documents that every M&A professional will require.  If you have most of that completed when they walk in your door, it will save you money and time during the critical due diligence phase, and it puts forth a great first impression as a company that is organized and efficient.  There are also issues that arise during due diligence that require immediate
attention and can be quite time consuming – the more you can do in advance,
the more time your team will have to address those urgent items as they

As a general rule, you
should leave yourself 6 months to review your major processes and either update existing documentation or create documentation where none exists.  Regardless of your company’s size, you can create simple  and straightforward documentation for each of these items – never create 10 pages when 1 page will do the job.


Debbie Millin is the President of UpperLevel Solutions - a Boston-based firm offering part-time and interim Chief Operating Officer services, operational assessments and executive project leadership.


We are posting some of our most popular blog entries through the month of August.  This one got a lot of great feedback - probably because we've all had this experience at some point in our lives.  Enjoy.

I do lots of research before I go on a vacation, mostly to find things that are off the beaten path - I don't like to go where all the tourists go. On a trip to Sedona several years ago with my husband, two children and my sister-in-law Nanci, I planned for us to drive up to the local airport on top of a plateau to watch the sunset. It was said to be breath-taking. I was excited to say the least.

We were running a little late at dinner, and I was anxious to get to the sunset. As
we were driving up the road, cars were driving down. We had missed it - it
was over. We got to the top looking out over Sedona, with no sunset, and I
was incredibly disappointed. It was then that Nanci told us to turn around and look behind us....the moon was rising over a mountain. It was spectacular. It was not at all what we had planned - it was better.

Sometimes in our work, in our careers, in our lives, things don't always work out as we plan. A project doesn't get completed on time. A prospective client falls through. A job you really want ends going to someone else. Yet somehow it always seems that we end up right where we are supposed to be. It always brings you to another place, and though you may be disappointed at first, sometimes all it takes is a slight change in your position - turn around, and the thing that had been behind you becomes an even better path forward.

I have a picture of Nanci and my kids with the moon rising over the mountains hanging on my wall. And even though my son's eyes are closed, that picture was one of her favorites - it is one of mine too - because it captured that amazing moment. We lost Nanci to cancer a year and a half ago, and of the many, many lessons she taught me, this is one of the most meaningful. 

Don't dwell on the fact that you missed your sunset, or you will miss the opportunity to see you are right where you are supposed to be. Turn around - find your moonrise.

Debbie Millin is President of UpperLevel Solutions - a  Boston-based firm offering  part-time and interim Chief Operating Officer services, operational assessments as a health check or as part of due diligence,
and executive project leadership.

As we take a little time off this summer, we are reprinting some of our most popular blog posts of the past year....this was a crowd favorite!

With an increasing number of startups and entrepreneurs, there is an
influx of  young companies with amazing products and services...but they
are being run by people who often have little-to-no experience in operations, marketing, HR, legal and management issues. 

I have attended several 
Mass Innovation Nights - most recently I was featured in their Expert's Corner at #MIN49 -  and lots of other events in and around Boston focused on startups, rapidly growing companies, and business consulting.  There are some definite trends I have observed first-hand, including a growing number of entrepreneurs and corporate executives that have decided to leave 'corporate' behind. 

The Entrepreneurs
They start their company on a shoestring budget, oftentimes working long nights and weekends on their dream after getting home from their day job. For those that start to get some success, founders often find themselves in need of guidance in a variety of areas where they have no experience. They also find themselves in a position of being unable to hire senior level people on a full-time basis due to budget constraints. They need help in different areas of the business at different phases of the company's growth.

The Part-Time Executives
These are senior executives who have worked their way up the ladder in the corporate world and enjoyed years of success. They get to a point in their career when they want to do something different and to have more control of their work and their time, and either go into a consulting firm or start their own consulting business. These are HIGHLY experienced executives in a variety of disciplines: finance, legal, operations, marketing - you name it.  

These two groups are a perfect match.

Entrepreneurs need guidance and don't have a lot of money to spend.  Part-time executives have years of real-life experience they want to share with growing companies, and because of that experience are able to get a lot accomplished in a small amount of time. Utilizing part-time executives can get the entrepreneurs experience they couldn't otherwise afford, avoids the need for full-time staff, and gives them flexibility to bring in specialists from different disciplines as the needs of the company change. 

A recent article in
The Conference Board Review discusses a list called "The Power Part-Time 50" published by Timewise Jobs in the UK.  It demonstrates the growing phenomenon of highly accomplished executives working in
powerful part-time roles.  An article in Forbes entitled
Who's Starting America's New Businesses? And Why?  not only shares the staggering statistics of new businesses being started each month in the US, but also stresses the fact that many of these entrepreneurs are young (30% are between the ages of 20 and 34) and in need of mentorship to be successful. 

This is the new landscape. The combination of entrepreneurs and part-time executives is incredibly powerful, and a trend that continues to be very much
on the rise.

Debbie Millin is President of UpperLevel Solutions - a Boston-based firm offering  part-time and interim Chief Operating Officer services, operational assessments as a health check or as part of due diligence, and executive project leadership.