Most small business entrepreneurs would rather be in the drivers seat than to be driven. Yet, surprisingly enough, many small business owners put little effort into planning and marketing to sell to their biggest and ultimate customer... the person (or company) that buys their small business.
I've seen genuine hardworking people struggle and persevere to build up a successful small business, only to watch them fail to reap their deserved rewards when they come to cash-out. They don't know what to do, or where to go. They lack the required marketing skills to present their business effectively to potential buyers. The end result; they get stressed-out and bitterly disappointed with the outcome.
Don't fall into the same trap. The day will come when you want to (or have to) sell your small business and cash-out. That might not be in the near future, but now is the time to start planning the marketing of your ultimate sale.
Self-made millionaire entrepreneur Mal Emery, has bought, developed and sold 14 small businesses. Mal had this to say: 'Before I even consider buying a small business, I must be able to visualise or articulate a clear and concise picture of what that small business will look like when I sell out. You see, I design all my small businesses to sell. I call the buyer of my business, my ultimate customer... the one who puts me out of business.'
Even if you are many years away from selling your small business, it still pays to plan an exit strategy, because that time will eventually come. What would happen if you died unexpectedly?
If you haven’t got a workable exit strategy in place, your heirs may have no choice but to place the business with an agent or business brokerand say 'get what you can for it.' The business assets may be liquidated and sold off piecemeal, getting virtually nothing for the goodwill you’ve built up over the course of many years in business.
Plan for the big change well before the signs of burn-out, boredom or apathy start to show in your balance sheet. A decline in the financial results will, more than likely, scare buyers (and their lenders) away. You could get less for your small business than what it’s really worth.
You’ll have more chance of coming out on top, both financially and personally, if you make an effort to understand the steps to selling a business. You need to spend time on careful planning and marketing, so that when you’re ready, you can take the time to negotiate a price and terms
that will satisfy your reasons for selling your business.
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