It's a crowded market and lots of business owners would like to sell. Some started early and many have waited too long. No one can predict how long it will take to sell your company. You can try selling it as is or increasing the value first. With more value you're in a much stronger position to attract buyers and negotiate a better deal.
Finding buyers for a business can be more time consuming and often more difficult than you might think. Much like selling a house or a car you can fix it up just before you sell or do it in advance and enjoy the benefits as you go.
You may have some nibbles but likely one real shot at selling the business. If you do it right that's all you need.
9 Tips for Selling Successfully and Exiting Well
1. Not sure what to do, don't have a qualified team or just too tired. Engage experts in Operations, Finance, Sales & Marketing, Human Resources and Legal. Make sure they understand what is needed to sell a business.
2. Stop working in the business and start working on the business. Pull away from the day to day responsibilities and spend quality time looking at the present and future of your industry and your business.
3. Get back in touch with why you loved building this company. Re-energize yourself and enjoy the selling journey. You won't feel as pressured and wind up taking the wrong deal.
4. Recognize the imperfections and do something about them. People, systems, finance etc. Often it is the unwillingness of the owner to make the tough decisions that will be their downfall. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it won't fix itself, or it would have already.
5. Get your sales and marketing updated and aligned. Make sure they're working in an integrated effort. Ideally this should happen before you start the selling process but good sales and marketing are always welcome.
6. It's not just about great sales numbers. Great operations and strong financial controls deliver profitability and desirability as well.
7. Add at least 4 years on to your exit strategy. Count on 1 year to do the deal and 3 more to ease your way out. The new owners will likely require your participation to provide experience, industry introductions, continuity with staff, vendors, and customers.
8. Not sure if you really want to sell? Run improvement efforts parallel to selling, as you don't know how long it will take and you just may change your mind.
9. Attend our next workshop. We'll discuss all of the above and more at our half day event on 'identifying weaknesses and increasing the value' of your company. The cost is $250 and includes a full report on what your company could be worth in it's current state or with improvements. This is a private by invitation only event for owners of established businesses with annual sales in excess of $2,000,000.
If any part of this post speaks to you or to someone you know please feel free to email my Assistant Cheryl firstname.lastname@example.org. Schedule a telephone call with me or we can talk in person over a cup of coffee and figure out your next move.