It's a common question and is interesting to be able to talk to business owners about this topic.
We all share a very similar idea at the start and it usually begins with a simple statement - 'I have this great idea - let's start or get into our own business!'
Owning your own business is and can be well up there as one of the most rewarding experiences you will have.
It can offer happiness, joy, financial rewards and freedom, purpose and the ability to create your own community whilst delivering the work-life balance we all seek.
Business, however, is not for the faint hearted, and sadly for some, it can also carry the inverse feelings of sadness, depression, financial ruin, family, friends and marriage breakups, and exhaustion as we look for answers - nothing seems to work...
Flipping back to the first comment of a great idea, we all seem to dive head first into business - which one to buy? what area do we need to be in? what will be our service offering or products we will supply? let's get a website and the list continues...
Very little of us actually start with a solid business plan - even if we do, the vast majority give very little thought as to when the time is right - how am I actually going to exit the business?
It takes an average of 6-9 months to sell your business, not necessarily settle and hand it over, simply prepare, market and get the right buyer engaged and an agreement in place. This is assuming that the business has had everything in place correctly and is well prepared from the first moment of starting the process. It can be longer for Rural areas and niche businesses and 6-9 months is purely an average.
With this in mind the best time to start considering when you and how you are going to exit your business is when you are writing your original business plan when you first buy or start the business. Naturally, you will review this as you review your plan and always continue to ensure your business partners are on the same page and their situations and plans are not deviating from yours!
Ok, so initial planning maybe no longer be possible for all of us - we're already in it and have been for a while now...
What we do know is that the worst time to sell your business is when you absolutely have to - maybe it's health or business isn't travelling so well, but when you have time against you, it can be very difficult to get a good price and terms, buyers looking for investments are not drawn to a business that is sliding - if time is really short and the pressure is on, you may end up having to walk away from the business with all the blood, sweat and tears unrewarded. Not to say it is not possible to sell, but it is a lot harder without time on our side.
We recommend you start working on selling your business at least 2-3 years before you actually want to exit.
Engage a professional - why wouldn't you?
If you are sick - we go the doctor if our car is broke - we get a mechanic in....., ordinarily most businesses owners are not experienced in selling a business - we only have one to sell and if we get it wrong, we don't get to a second chance to try again.
Have a no obligation chat to one of our experienced business brokers (our coaches can also guide you) to establish if your business is ready to sell. Is the business performing ? do you have three years of solid profitable numbers to provide, if not it's not a problem, time is now on your side and a plan can be determined as to how to best structure the business for preparing to sell in 12-18 months time.
Once the business is ready the process of documenting, marketing and finding your buyer begins!
Time is our best tool - meanwhile, continue to run and grow your business. Improve profits as best as you can, remove yourself from the day to day running of the business so the reliance is not as much on you and control your costs.
Consult the experts, to establish what you need to do to get your business on the market, whether it is today or in a few years, regular consultation will achieve you the greatest long term results.
If you need guidance to grow your business or if you are planning to Buy or Sell your business