Entrepreneurs are always in sales. If you started the company, you were its number one salesperson. As it grew you became the sales manager – if not in title, at least in responsibility. You know sales. You know the importance of building trust; learning the needs of your customers; asking great questions; presenting your product or service as a solution; and asking for the order.
Like many entrepreneurs, you’ve done what has to be done to succeed. You probably developed some ‘do it yourself’ tendencies, because at one time, you had little choice. That ability to do whatever was required taught you great lessons and you’ve leveraged that knowledge and skill repeatedly.
But should you sell your own business?
My experience suggests that in most cases, you shouldn’t.
It is true that no one knows your business better; and no one will be more passionate and enthusiastic presenting its benefits, but that’s part of the problem. You’re looking through rose-coloured glasses and prospective buyers know it. They will not be easily swayed; their job is to do their due diligence and find all the flaws in your presentation and your business. It’s a very different sale than you are accustomed to.
Selling a business is complex. There are many ways you could blow it without knowing. You’ll be dealing with legal issues, accounting, supply management, staffing, production, quality control, intellectual property, and much more.
While researching my book, The Business Transition Crisis, I interviewed many business owners who had sold their businesses. I always asked whether they used a business broker to help them sell. Most did and they were unequivocal that they would do so again: they couldn’t imagine trying to do it on their own.
Can you do some of the groundwork to get ready to sell your business? You can and you should. There is much to be done to prepare for business transition. To get further insights, you can click here to request a copy of the book, and/or a copy or our Due Diligence Checklist to see what to expect when a buyer gets serious. Then, get help. It’s a big job and one that requires a different skill-set than you currently use. Find a business transition coach you like and trust to advise and support you through the process. Hire a business broker who will find buyers and negotiate the best deal for you. You don’t want to blow what is probably the biggest sale of your life!