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Tips for selling a business

Are you thinking of selling your business this year? Whether you’re doing so because of a planned succession or because you want to move on to other things, it’s in your best interest to be prepared. 

These tips, gathered by Inc. magazine from business owners who sold their own companies, can help you think about key considerations that may help you decide if you’re truly ready to sell: 

  1. Your emotional preparedness—It can be difficult to let go of the business you put your heart and soul into building, so take some time to assess whether you're emotionally ready to let go. 

  2. Know why you want to sell (and for whom)—In today's world, it’s easy to look outside ourselves, when the answers should come from within. Make sure you’re driving the decisions, not others. Investors, fans, followers or friends from high school should not be influencing such an important life decision. 

  3. Understand what a potential buyer in your market wants—You may think you know what business buyers are looking for, but it's good to get the opinions of other people who have made successful exits. For example, a business consultant can help you understand specifically what potential buyers might be looking for.

  4. Your business’s true value—Make sure your business is valued accurately before you try to sell it. This will ensure you receive a fair offer and don’t leave money on the table. 

  5. Consider what you’ll do next—Consider not only the net proceeds, but whether it's enough to get you through a non-compete period after the business changes hands. In addition, if you plan on working again, give some thought to what you plan to do. Also, take some time to determine whether you're truly “finished” by asking yourself whether you've accomplished everything you wanted with your business. If you haven't, ask yourself why not. 

Obviously, there’s a lot to keep in mind when you consider putting your business up for sale. These questions can help you determine if now is the best time to try to sell, or if you still have more that you’d like to accomplish with your business. 

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