Selling your business can be an emotional and life-changing event. Yet after years of hard work, untiring commitment, and nurturing your business, it might be time to sell. If so, how should you do it?
• For starters, be realistic. Although you might think your business is worth millions, hire a seasoned appraiser to determine the condition and value of your business. You’ll have a benchmark for determining whether now is the right time to sell. The appraiser also might suggest ways to increase the value of your business before you sell.
• Second, talk with your accountant and attorney. They know you and your business and can give insight and guidance throughout this process. They understand the legal and tax implications and might recommend a good business broker.
• Third, think like the buyer. Anticipate the information potential buyers will want and the questions they might ask. Prepare a package that informs and impresses.
• Fourth, be flexible. Are you willing to assist the buyer with partial financing? Are you prepared to assist in the business for a time to insure a smooth transition?
• Fifth, spruce things up. Just as an immaculate house will sell more quickly than one in need of repairs, it’s the same for a business. Do you have your systems documented so that operations flow seamlessly? A buyer will pay more for an operation that is self-sustaining and that basically runs itself. Wouldn’t you?
• Sixth, sleep on it, and think ahead. What will you do with your time after the business is gone? Will you retire or move on to another business venture? Think through your decision before you commit to selling the business. Make sure it feels right from both an emotional and financial perspective.
David Compton is a Certified Public Accountant with offices in Meridian and Birmingham, Ala.