Selling your business can be an exciting time in your life- opening you up to new opportunities and experiences. But it can also be very stressful and time-consuming- particularly if you’ve never sold a business before.
The process can take months, and you’ll have more to consider than the simple financial transactions and paperwork.
BCMS has a great infographic with some of the key things to know before you sell your business:
Know why you’re selling
There are many different reasons why people choose to sell their businesses. You could be retiring from work, cashing in on capital, moving onto something new, or someone could make you an offer that’s simply too good to refuse. Sometimes, your business may have outgrown your skillset, or you could simply no longer be interested in owning it yourself. Before you start the selling process, it’s a good idea to think seriously about why you’re selling.
That way, when it starts to get stressful (and it will), you’ll be keeping this reason in mind and will be able to think long-term.
Preparation is Key
Even if you’re not planning to sell in the next few months, it’s a good idea to begin getting prepared nice and early. Selling your business is likely to be even more time-consuming than you had imagined, which is why it’s a good idea to put aside at least three or four months to get ready before you sell.
The first thing you’ll need to do is identify why your business would appeal to potential buyers. Do research on the market, and get in touch with a legal expert who can help you with due diligence and advice. Now is also the time to find all of your paperwork, including any contracts, agreements, intellectual property, and deeds. That way, you won’t be scrambling trying to find these things at the last minute.
Find the right buyer
You put a lot of work into your business- sometimes years of your life. So it’s natural to want to find the right buyer. There are a number of reasons why someone may want to purchase a business that’s already existing instead of starting one themselves. You’ve already established your brand, you have existing cash flow and revenues, and an existing base of customers and contacts. You’ve also removed barriers to entry and your employees have already been hired and trained.