A few weeks ago, I wrote a short article about how important it is for firm owners to understand the value of their business. The point of the piece was to address the real threat to firms that have no idea what they are worth or what drives their value. The issue that we see in M&A all too often is the firm owner that throws out a value with no basis in reality, effectively slamming the door shut on what could be a very happy – and lucrative – union. It’s completely avoidable, but yet it occurs time after time. So I wrote a brief piece with a few examples, and we sent it out via email.
The article I’m writing today isn’t about M&A or valuation, though. I want to talk about what happened after we hit “send.” The emails were sent from my account, and all responses were directed to my inbox. After wading through hundreds of “out of office” notifications, I started to receive actual feedback. Some recipients read the email and provided comments or questioned my analysis. Others, perhaps assuming that there wasn’t a human behind the email, or maybe emboldened by the indirect nature of digital communication, took the time to fire back scathing critiques or rude remarks.
Plenty of the nastier comments were funny, sure, but I was surprised that emails sent to professionals would garner so many, well, unprofessional responses. As a consultant to this industry, I’d like to recommend thinking twice before sending something out into the World Wide Web.
It’s not only responding to emails (sent from your company’s email address!), which are just a forward button away from the rest of the universe. When you post a snide remark, share a politically-charged opinion, or upload a picture from your friend’s bachelor party on the internet, the ripple effect can have real consequences for your reputation and your firm’s reputation.
This point is especially important as more Millennials – people who have grown up with the internet – enter the workplace and take on management roles. Although Millennials are by no means the only ones guilty of online indiscretion, they do tend to have less concern over privacy settings and to utilize more outlets to potentially embarrass themselves or their employer in social media. That combination is a liability in an industry that relies on sound judgment calls. It’s hard enough to stay on top of projects, reach revenue projections, land new clients, find great employees, and close M&A deals without adding one more “risk factor” to the equation!
Jamie Claire Kiser is Director of M&A Services. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Office: 800.466.6275 | Direct: 479.435.6521