If you’re considering selling your business, there are a litany of things to consider. But among the most pressing is to do it sooner than later. Timing is everything in the fast-paced business world and if you’re looking to exit the enterprise you’ve worked so hard to build, you certainly want to be able to get the most money possible on a sale.
That means doing your homework first and, believe me, you have no shortage of tasks ahead of you.
Luckily, you also have choices. Whether you look to business brokers to be of some assistance in getting your business sold or you turn to your own workforce as an option, selling a business can be a tough nut to crack. Even those business owners who want to sell quickly need to realize that these things do take time and a final sale might not be closed for weeks, months, even years.
So if you’re looking to get out now, it’s best you get started as soon as possible.
Here are some helpful places to do just that as you identify potential suitors to take over everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish at the highest sale price possible.
Locate the Right Buyer
Starting here can actually take more time than you might expect as you search for the best possible buyers for taking over the business. But before you begin, take some time to think about a deadline for finding the best individual or group to come in and buy the enterprise. Since we’re talking about selling fast, a deadline will be quite useful towards achieving your desired goal.
However, that does leave you in a position where you may be at the mercy of time and you might end up having to compromise with a buyer or buyers who might not offer the most money possible. The longer you allow yourself to locate and identify good buyers, the more likely you are to get what you want in the end.
But be careful, searching for a buyer is a delicate process. You don’t want to go around advertising your sale as that could embolden your competitors and put your business at a major disadvantage in the marketplace. You may run the risk of revealing sensitive internal information about the company to your competition and, in some cases, this can end up hurting your business.
That could scare buyers off, no one wants a business that is already seen as damaged goods.
Many business owners will elect to go with a business broker who can handle the search discretely and thoroughly, without putting the business at risk in the marketplace. All information is kept confidential by a broker so your data, or even the fact that you’re selling, doesn’t become public knowledge.
Sometimes the place to find buyers is among your own people. Your employees are already well aware of how to operate the business successfully. You could rest assured that the enterprise was in good hands because your own workforce is taking it over.
It’s a great way to let your people know you have complete faith and confidence in their abilities to keep the business up and running.
This option also requires the same amount of due diligence to see if your employees are financially secure enough to step in and take over the company with a sale. It’s also a better option for companies that have a substantial amount of money in the bank and very little employee turnover since the business was first established.
Seek out a Partner
Sometimes a business owner doesn’t want to exit the business completely but merely step back and let someone else do the bulk of the work. If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider bringing on another individual or group in a partnership role.
But this option can be just as lengthy as searching for buyers as you want to bring in people who know what they’re doing. They should demonstrate a similar set of skills as you and that includes a knowledge and passion for the industry that your business falls within.
The amount of responsibility you bestow on this partner is up to you and that means having them share in the profit and growth of the company..
Just be sure you draw up an ironclad partnership agreement that documents the extent of participation in the running of the business and compensation of all parties. This should also define the parameters for leaving the company should one or all partners elect to do so.