The exit process, selling your business, is one of the
most important, emotional and difficult events that will be undertaken by an
owner. You only get one chance to do it right - and failure to get the best
deal is not an option.
Keep in Mind
Your business represents long years of hard work and continuous care. For
many owners it represents the largest asset they own. The decision to sell
that business often does not come easily…and should never be taken lightly.
Analyze your reasons and be honest with yourself (or yourselves) as to
whether you really want to sell. Also, consider whether you want to sell the
entire business or just a part, for example your OCS or vending component or
a branch operation.
Common Selling Considerations
There are many reasons why owners decide to sell, which include:
Tired, burnt-out or stressed
Time to cash out, "take the chips off the table"
Heirs not interested
Other interests...another business, vacations, hobbies...
After You've Decided
Typical owners have little experience in selling a business and in
negotiating with an experienced buyer. It is a complex process that needs
much preparation, and you need to establish an organized, competent effort
that will yield the best net result to you. Engaging professional help will
ensure that you complete the task successfully with less stress.
There are a number of important issues involved with selling a business
that need to be considered:
Time Commitment. It takes a substantial amount of time to comply
with the requests of the potential buyer and to gather all the documents and
information required. This can take valuable time away from the actual
running of the business. Be prepared...it has to be done.
Partner Issues. You may have other stockholders or family
members who have ownership in the business. The managing owner has to deal
with these partners, first in getting an agreement to sell, then in getting
their agreement about the price and terms. Partners have to be dealt with and
not overlooked or pushed to the end of the deal. If this happens, it may be
the end of the deal, quite literally.
No Surprises. It's a good idea to look at your business from
the perspective of a prospective buyer. As you know, no one likes surprises.
Hidden liabilities, conflicting data, vague information or anything that
raises "red flags" can cause a buyer to reduce an offer or even
withdraw from the process. Be prepared to reveal the good, the bad and the
ugly. Think like a buyer.