Selling your business is the most important financial transition of your life. For a very few of us who were born with great wealth, are successful serial entrepreneurs, or who hit the lottery that may not be true; but for 95% of us there will only be one exit from the company you built. The years of effort have hopefully paid well as you went along, but most of us are planning a good portion of our retirement around the proceeds from selling the business.
Selling is much more than a transaction. It is the process of making your company presentable, desirable, marketable and financeable. It’s knowing who your buyer is and how much he or she can pay. It is understanding what is valuable in your company, and what isn’t. Selling your business starts with the decision to sell…someday. From that point on, you should be preparing for the transaction phase, but the transaction phase is the end game, not the whole game.
The best time to sell your business is when you don’t have to. Many business owners are reluctant to sell in good times because they are making a lot of money, and won’t sell in bad times because they can’t get the full value. The best time to sell any business is when you want to. If you have made the business attractive to the right buyer; that time can be any time you choose.
Remember; every business owner will exit his or her company sooner or later. It’s up to you whether you want it to be on your terms, or on someone else’s.