"In my experience, business-owners ask me, after a lot of soul-searching, “should I sell my business?” Really, the question they should be asking is, “when should I sell my business?”
The right time to sell is complex. It involves emotions as well as financial concerns and does not happen overnight, but without an exit strategy your options are limited.
Lack of preparation can result in aborted sales attempts, a poor culture fit with the buyer, or you might feel compelled, through a change in circumstances, to make a quick sale which does not realise maximum value.
While you might not be ready to sell today, it is never too early to put exit plans in place. By spending time making your business 'sale ready' now, you will be in a good position to go when the time is right, as well as strengthening your business in the intervening period.
Remember, buyers often have extensive deal experience. Most sellers do not. Working with the right adviser early will put you in charge of the sale process, create competitive tension and secure you the best deal.
So, assuming you have appointed a professional adviser to help you make your business appealing to buyers, here are some key moments when the time might be right to sell:
- You want to move on to pastures new and retire or embark on a new adventure or business venture.
- The business has outgrown you and requires management with a different skillset to take it to the next level.
- The market is changing for the better or worse – by keeping your eye on trends in your sector you will never be caught out and can maximise opportunities.
- A potentially lucrative opportunity presents itself."