Selling a business can be scary. Even when owners know that it’s time, many find it difficult to begin preparing their business for sale. While you’re thinking though all the challenges and barriers to selling a business, take note of what may be lurking behind the items on your list. Often, they boil down to fear—a natural response to anything outside of your comfort zone. Fear can lead to procrastination. In turn, that can lead to procrastination, and you may end up finding yourself in a situation where you’re making the final decision to sell your business due to retirement, health issues, or other circumstances that are out of your direct control.
Being able to decide when to sell your business and doing it on your own terms is good for everyone involved. It allows you to create a specific vision for your future. Remember Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.
” So, let’s go over how to deal with a few common barriers to selling a business so you can define your vision for your future.
Take Inventory Before Selling a Business
As a successful business owner, you know exactly how to run your business, however, you might be less confident how to sell your business. Selling a business requires a different perspective. What a prospective buyer sees from the outside may not be what you see from the inside. As a business owner, you may know where the problems are, and they may not seem like a big deal. However, one of the first steps to selling your business is taking inventory of the entirety of your business operations (including your IT portfolio, assets/debt, and your overall operations) and knowing what your business is actually worth. Getting a business valuation
can be complicated. Getting in touch with a business broker early on to help you determine what your business is actually worth can ensure that you (and prospective buyers) aren’t undervaluing your company.
Take Care of Your Employees
For many business owners, employees are a second family. One thing that holds many owners back from selling their business is fear of disrupting their employees
. For owners who genuinely believe in transparency, it can be even harder since it behooves you not to tell anyone
who doesn’t need to know until the sale is complete. It’s important to your business and your employees that you take care of them during the sales process. One of the best ways to protect your employees is to make sure your company is in its best possible position and prepared to sell. In addition, make every attempt to negotiate for your employees in the sales contract—remember, you can negotiate for staffing levels, bonuses, and salaries for the staff who remain at your company after the sale. You can also reward them before a new owner takes control.
Take Care of Yourself with an Exit Plan
More than half of the population approaching retirement have no plan for retirement
. For business owners, a large part of planning for retirement is tied up in planning for the eventual sale of your company. That can be a difficult decision. While your employees seem like a second family, your business itself may seem a little like one of your children. You built it from nothing and poured your heart into it for years. For many business owners, the very idea of selling their business, even when they know it’s time, can be an incredibly emotional decision. Add to that the idea of subjecting your business to the scrutiny of prospective buyers, and it may seem overwhelming.
Take a step back and remember why you started a business and how you built your vision of the future on bringing your business dream to life. Now it’s time to create a new vision for your future, that’s just as exciting as the vision you built your business on.
If you are ready to plan your exit from your company, you need to make sure that your business is in the best shape for a sale, but don’t let the process or questions continue to hold you back from ever making a move. Start out by getting in touch with a Certified Exit Planning Advisor that can help you ask and answer the right questions and put together an exit planning road map
that works for you.