When you’re ready to sell and/or exit from your business, there are several things to consider which can contribute to the success of your efforts. First, there are 5 exit planning strategies you should consider:
1. An outright sale, when your business goes on the market and a purchaser buys it from you, lock, stock, and barrel.
2. A partial sale, which could help if you are willing to sell half or three-quarters of the business but want to retain control of the remaining portion.
3. If you determine that it is going to be difficult to have an external buyer purchase your business, you could make a structured deal that allows your management team to buy it. There are several ways to do this, but it is highly recommended that you have a 3rd party involved.
4. You could also opt to keep your business under management to free up your time. The business needs to be managed correctly though, because the process of exit planning still needs to happen over a 6, 12, or 18-month period.
5. You could do an Initial Public Offering (IPO), which is listing your business on the stock market. In this case, you don’t necessarily need to sell the entire business. For instance, you may retain an ownership of 60% of those shares and sell 40% to the public market and institutional investors.
You should always know the value of your business before exiting, and monitor and graph the value of your business every month. The best way to acquire a market valuation is to have your business valued by a professional who can work with potential buyers. If you want to sell your business in a regular marketplace, then a business broker is highly recommended.
Changing your mindset from business owner to business seller is crucial. Try to remove yourself from the business as much as possible leading up to your exit. The value of your business goes up exponentially when it doesn’t rely on you. One of the ways to do this is to think like a shareholder, removing yourself from a lot of the decision making.
It’s important to think like a seller. Remember, a business purchaser will want to look at the business history, so be highly aware of the effect that any decision will have on the business valuation and ask yourself whether you would like that decision if you were a buyer considering the purchase.
Finally, decide what your goals are from the sale, particularly your personal goals. If you have a business partner or spouse, they should be included in this process regardless if you’re both working in the business or not. Knowing what your next steps in life are, whether that’s playing lots of golf, traveling, or starting a new business venture, will help you stay focused on achieving those goals and on doing whatever’s necessary to ensure a successful exit from your current business.
A business broker can help you to map out the right path for you in exiting your business. We have worked with over 5000 people in the process of buying and selling their business and can help you to make the right decisions when planning your exit strategy.