Any business owner that’s been lucky enough to survive COVID thus far is probably still grappling with these thoughts:

How much has the pandemic impacted my business valuation?

Do I need to change my exit strategy?

Should I sell the business now before the economy changes or another pandemic hits?

Should I wait another one year or five years before selling the business?

Here at NBS, we’re no psychics. But what we can do is help you decide when it’s the right time to sell your business. 

To start, you’ll need to answer the following questions:

1. Are you truly ready to sell your business?

There’s a big difference between being emotionally ready to sell your business and being operationally ready. No matter how eager you are to retire, if your business is stuck using old equipment or has kept poor financial records, you won’t be able to sell it for top dollar.

Be sure to reevaluate all of your processes, practices, policies, and equipment before getting a business valuation. Updating these facets are key to getting the most out of your business and making it operationally ready for a smooth sale to the next buyer.

Timing is everything. For some businesses that maintained a steady revenue stream or even a slight dip in revenue, buyers may look at 2020 as an “asterisk year,” meaning they won’t really count it against you.

On the other hand, if you were forced to shut down during lockdown, the likelihood that you’ll be able to sell your business in the next six months is minimal. You will need to be fully open for at least one year (if not two) before you’re able to sell your business at a fair price.

If you’re still not sure whether or not you’re truly ready to sell your business, here’s the ultimate test: Once you’re fully open again (if you aren’t already), take a week off. This will show you how well your team can operate without you and what, if anything, needs to be changed before you retire.

If taking a week off is inconceivable to you, you’re not ready to sell and walk away. Since you are too indispensable, buyers would discount the price and make a significant part of the payment conditional on your staying and continuing to perform.

If you really want to know your Business Exit Potential, take our 10-question quiz and see whether you’re truly ready to consider selling or if you’ve got a little work to do before you fully entertain the idea.

2. What is making you consider selling your company?

If you planned on selling your business in 2020 before all hell broke loose, go back and revisit that initial thought. Consider what drove you to that point, then ask yourself how that driving factor has been influenced by COVID-19.

For many business owners, retirement planning was the driving force behind the desire to sell their businesses in 2020. But after the pandemic hit, millions of businesses worldwide decreased in value. If this resonates with you, you might want to put off retiring until the true value of your business has been recovered.

On the other hand, if you’ve been struggling since before the pandemic and are suffering from burn-out, your best bet might be to sell your business at its current valuation rather than funnel more money into it. Spending too much trying to save the business will only make it harder for you to transition into retirement later on.

3. Would delaying the sale help or hurt your business?

The unpredictability and unfamiliarity of COVID-19 created a drastic change in human behavior and a subsequent shift for business owners. As the world retreated indoors and began wearing face coverings, many businesses decided to pivot their focus to selling pandemic essentials to stay afloat.

Some of these business model changes will likely be permanent. Others may shake out over the next few years.

If you’ve experienced substantial shifts in your business model or income streams, you may want to hold out a little longer before selling your business, because there may still be adjustments that lie ahead. Temporary changes in revenue may or may not result in a higher overall business valuation. The key is to leave no doubt in a buyer’s mind which could negatively affect your exit potential.

When you schedule a free business valuation with National Business Search, we’ll help you predict what the cultural changes stemming from the pandemic have in store for your company and industry, and whether or not delaying its sale is the right move.

4. Have you hired the right help?

The last thing you want after spending your entire life building your business is to sell it for less than it’s worth. In what may be the biggest deal of your lifetime, you need a professional with decades of experience in executing complex, successful deals in your corner.

At National Business Search, this is not our first rodeo.

When you hire a business broker like NBS to help you with the process, you can rest assured that you’ll exit with nothing less than absolute top dollar.

The smallest error can short you millions on your valuation. Being experts in the sale of middle market businesses for over 40 years, we’re able to pick up on things that you as the business owner may overlook when preparing to sell.

If you’re entertaining the idea of selling your business, then let us help you really get an understanding on whether the timing is now or if you should hold off and fine-tune a few things. It all starts with a free valuation. You can start that process in a couple of clicks by filling out this brief form.

Or just call us and schedule an appointment. Either way, we’re here to help.

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