As a boomer age business owner, selling or transitioning your company is likely top of mind. The story you're telling yourself and your trusted advisors may sound like this: "I know I have to do something ... it's so much work...timing isn't right...my children will take over...l have a partner" etc.
Your future, and the well being of many other people, depends on the steps you take over the next few years. You know you need to do something now or it might be too late. Protecting what you have built and positioning for the future are the priorities. The clock is ticking, ready or not.
When it comes to selling your business. If you don't move forward, the decision will be made for you.
Case 1 - Business relies heavily on importing custom product from China. Sales are totally based on travel and tourist industry. I wonder if the recent events will impact this company and its' chances for success in a sale.
Case 2 - Owner never made it to our second meeting. Went from healthy and excited about the future of his transition the first time we met to one week later no longer able to work. Potential sale of the company is not really viable.
Case 3 - Successful small distribution company has afforded the Owner a nice lifestyle. Unfortunately it is too small for anyone to be interested in buying and revolves too much around the Owner. Owners plan is to wait until they're ready to sell and then grow it and remove themselves from a central role. Good luck!
Case 4 - While contemplating the eventual sale of the business over the past several years the Owner is now faced with a government expropriation of his building and business. Unfortunately the government works in mysterious ways and will move ahead when they feel like it and at their convenience. Oh and the government will pay what they think is reasonable for the business. So living and running a business in limbo and no definitive idea of how much the Owner will be compensated or how long it will take.
Health, the economy, competition or industry changes will dictate what happens next. At that point all bets are off. You've lost control and you didn't get into your own business just so you could give up control.
Don't fall into the unrealistic timing trap. It will likely take 3-5 years from start to finish to be fully out of the business. You need to find a buyer, do the deal and then transition.
Sometimes it can be done in less time if the circumstances require but typically it is a longer term proposition. At this point you don't know and it would be wise to prepare for the worst.
Right now you may not know exactly what you'll do after the business is sold. It's ok, that's part of the journey. You didn't have all the answers when you started or took over the company either.
Likely 80% of your wealth is tied up in your single largest asset - the business. Most owners tend to have inflated opinions on the value of their company. Wouldn't it be more prudent to find out the real story.
Take your first step today and see what your business might be worth. And more importantly find out what you have to do to get it.
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