If you’ve never done it before, selling your business is complex and daunting. Yet many business owners expect that they can manage the process alone when the time comes. They believe they are well suited to sell it – they are smart; they know their own business better than anyone else; and, they’ve been promoting it for years. Although I believe there are advantages to involving others let’s assume you’ve decided to do it yourself.
It is essential that you learn as much and as early as possible about all the steps you need to take to prepare yourself and your business for the eventual sale. Make the effort so that you can:
- Avoid mistakes. We can afford mistakes when we are young and have time to recover. Do you have time now? In all likelihood someone else has already made the mistakes you risk making. Learn from their costly lessons! A mistake at this stage is not only expensive it could be fatal.
- Make better decisions. The decisions you make now are different from the ones you’ve made in the past. The goals and focus are different. The stakes are higher.
- Understand options and opportunities. There are many ways to sell your business. Take time to discover the best one for you, your employees, your family and your customers.
- Crystalize your goals and vision for a future beyond the business. If you know what you want, you’re more likely to get it. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you can set yourself on the best path to achieve your goals.
- Increase your odds of making the deal that you want, when you want it, with the right buyer.
- Commit yourself to action. This is most important! A decision to learn and implement new ideas will change everything.
There is a practical, financial rationale for investing in training that will prepare you to transition your business.
Suppose your business is worth $2 million. If you invest five hours each month learning and prepping your business for sale, could you increase the value by 25% over three years? Probably. On the other hand if you do nothing different over the next three years and are forced to sell your business for reasons you can’t foresee, is it possible you might lose 25%? Easily.
The difference between preparing yourself and doing nothing could easily translate into 50% of your business value. Divide that into your 5 hours a month and it’s a payback of $5,556 per hour of your time. Do the math on your own valuation.