Dead Parrots and your Business

Hi ,

“This is a late parrot! It’s a Stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up daisies!”
– John Cleese Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch

This is a quote from a classic Monty Python sketch where John Cleese has bought a parrot but brings it back in frustration because the bird is dead.

What transpires is a mockery of customer service where the shop owner played by Michael Palin insists the bird was fine when it was sold and it gets even funnier when he tries to convince John Cleese that the bird is alive by rattling the cage.

Cleese of course brings up the fact that the bird’s feet were nailed to the perch so the parrot was certainly dead and the owner is a fraud.

So how does this apply to business?

Well many business owners spend a lot of energy trying to hide or nail their dead parrots to their perches when they try to exit.

Some try to be sneaky and clever and hope the buyer doesn’t notice.

Others are much more innocent and scared of what will happen if they show their dirty “laundry” and so try to keep it within the family and closed doors.

Here’s the thing… unless the buyer is a basic amateur they will notice during due diligence.

And then the owner has only accomplished wasting everyone’s time and at best suffering a significant discount but at worst the buyer walking away.

Which makes things worse if word got out the company was for sale and key employees quit or mentally checked out and suppliers and customers explored alternatives.

So if the parrot is dead…it’s dead. Be honest, be transparent, and focus your energy on highlighting your growth paths and potential, your unique assets that help you stand out and justify a premium to buy or invest in you.

Ensure you have everything documented and that the keys to the car – the assets that drive your business – are set up and positioned to transfer when a deal goes through.

To your Success and Sanity,



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