Life can change in an instant and often without warning.
One day you're running your own business, and the next day you're desperately trying to sell it.
This dramatic shift of course may be due to a stressful life event like divorce, disability, a change in the market, or a terminally ill family member.
Or maybe you're just burned out, looking to retire, and ready to focus on your own life and health for a change.
If you’re experiencing some type of significant shift in your life, you might be thinking about selling your business. But the question is… have you built a business that can be sold?
Here are a few of the unforeseen events that could quickly trigger you into confronting the idea of selling your business long before you’re ready:
Your health is beginning to deteriorate
Stress can have a major impact on your health, and the last thing you want is to suffer a stroke or some other disabling illness. Health scares like that can quickly force the sale of your business or have you spending your retirement years in a condition that limits your mobility or quality of life.
If you haven’t built a business that can operate smoothly for two to four consecutive weeks without you constantly checking in, then the odds are you’ve built a business that can’t be sold if things go south.
Now would be the ideal time to start reassessing your management team and your internal processes. If you want to spend more free time with those you love most and less time in meetings or on the cell phone, then you need to focus all of your attention on building a business that can give you that freedom.
Consider hiring a business intermediary to give you an immediate valuation so you know where you stand. If everything hit the fan today, could your business be sold? And if so, for how much? If it’s not a number you can live with, you need to quickly shift gears and build something that can bring terminal wealth.
You're working far past retirement age
Many business owners don't want to retire. They love what they do, and running their own company brings them more life and enjoyment than they could possibly fathom in retirement.
However, this isn't the case for everyone.
If you're no longer happy owning your own company and are still working well after what the IRS considers “retirement age,” perhaps it’s time to consider selling.
Your business is like your child. We get it. But like your child, at some point, your business needs to become the parent. It needs to be able to thrive on its own… and that means taking on new partners, new ownership, new employees, and new leadership.
But that also means that you’ll be putting yourself in a position to throttle back, enjoy the things you once sacrificed while building the business, and smell the roses.
Don't risk your health, safety, and quality of life in retirement by trying to push yourself further than you can go. There's no shame in selling while you've still got some really good years ahead of you.
At a minimum, it might be the perfect time to start assessing how much the company is worth, who might potentially buy it, and what might you do differently during the next six months that can increase your exit value significantly.
You’ll need a business intermediary and an M&A expert to help you with that, so don’t try to go it alone.
You're welcoming a new addition into the family
There are few things in life that compare to the birth of a new child or grandchild.
All you want to do is be home with them, watching their every move and encompassing them in love, but managing the business keeps getting in the way.
If you consider your business your “baby,” it can be incredibly difficult to let it go. But selling it doesn't mean you have to give it up entirely.
In fact, when you sell your business with the help of a business intermediary, you can give yourself the opportunity to take some of your chips off the table while also gaining time with your family and new additions.
It's certainly not an easy decision by any means, but if selling your business to spend time with your family is what you truly want, don’t let anything hold you back.
A personal or family tragedy or illness occurs
Sometimes life forces you to make decisions long before you even start planning for them.
Perhaps you’ve been in an accident and because of a permanent disability, you’re unable to continue working. Perhaps your spouse or child is suddenly diagnosed with a terminal illness. Or perhaps you’ve ended up in the middle of a painful divorce.
Experiencing tragedies like these can really rock your world, and in many cases, the business needs to be sold to either make ends meet or provide you with the free time to put your attention where it's needed most.
And yet, you know your business is more than a physical operation and a set of financial statements. Your employees are like family, and your customers are some of your closest friends. They want the best for you, of course, but they also deserve an owner and employer who will be able to continue the legacy that you’ve started.
When life throws you curveballs (and you know it will), you should make sure you’ve planned for them well in advance. The best insurance for your business is building it with the structure and intention that it can be sold for the highest possible price no matter how compressed your timeline may get.
Again, that’s where the guidance of a business intermediary comes in. You’re going to want to make sure that everything you do is geared toward building a business that has value and can be sold. Don’t think that just because you have customers and revenue that someone else will want to buy your company for anything other than pennies on the dollar when the unexpected arises.
We’ve seen too many businesses shutter completely because the owner failed to realize that he or she was the company, and that company couldn’t be sold when the unexpected happened.
The market is changing and you don’t have the energy to change with it
Constantly changing technology and the rollercoaster that is our economy can really make your head spin.
Changes in the market are inevitable, and it's important to keep up with all of them. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself falling behind competitors who are more modernized.
Perhaps this is why you're experiencing a decline in sales. If so, there are two things to keep in mind:
Don’t think that no one would buy your company because you’ve failed to keep up, and
Contact a business intermediary as quickly as possible, so you can get expert counseling and an immediate business valuation to determine the best course of action.
If you’re behind the eightball in terms of technology or your market, or if the economy has given you a sucker punch, don’t throw in the towel just yet. You’d be surprised how many businesses out there might look at your company as a way to increase market share and upsell your clients into their product mix.
This could actually be an ideal time to put your business on the market and experience the financial and time freedom that can open up a whole new future for you.
Selling can be a difficult decision for many people, especially when experiencing major life changes. At National Business Search, we’ve helped hundreds of business owners realize their financial goals when it came time to sell their company.
When you work with us, you’ll receive honest opinions and advice. We’ll first provide you with a free business valuation to help you determine your current exit potential. From that, we can either help advise you on the steps necessary to increase that potential, or we can help you accelerate and complete the sale of the company.
In either case, we’re here to help you get top dollar when the time comes to sell your company.
We’ve helped hundreds of business owners in various stages of their lives buy, merge, and sell businesses. Request an appointment with us today and together we can determine if we’re a good match.