Selling your business can be a life changing decision. Don’t go into a sale without considering these five key things.
Have you got an exit plan? I didn’t have one with my first business which I sold in 2019. In hindsight, I wish I had given it more thought and spoken with people who had been through it. With my new business, Moja, I’ve started with the end in mind. Whatever stage you are with selling your business, here are five things you need to know. These things could massively impact whether you achieve a decent sale, or it becomes a business nightmare.
Don’t sell to a business whose values don’t align with yours
This sounds like an obvious one but it’s not. It’s too easy for the potential purchaser to make it seem like they run their business similarly to you and to cover up all sorts of dodgy practices. So poke around a bit and speak to their employees, past and present. They’ll gladly tell you everything you need to hear for free.
Consider your team, not just the money
It is about the money. Any business owner who says it’s not is lying. But think about your team too. How will this impact them and their happiness at work? The money won’t mean half as much if it comes at the cost of some of your best people.
Get good advice
Now this one is huge. When you’re in the lustful phase of being courted by your buyers, being taken out for fancy dinners and swapping friendly banter about your kids, your judgement gets clouded. You’re only human. But your advisors will keep your head straight and point out that no amount of pepperoni pizza makes anything a good idea.
Have a look under the bonnet. A thorough one!
Financials. Get your hands on them. Staff turnover, find out. If you don’t have a good look into the finer details, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting mugged off. If they make excuses not to show you, they’ve got something to hide.
Go with your gut
The most important point of all. If it feels wrong, it probably is. And until you’ve signed, you can put the brakes on whenever you want. Don’t rush it. Go at your own pace, not theirs. If they are trying to speed you up, ask yourself why.
So, take this advice if you are selling or plan to in the future. It’s based on experience and three years of reflection. These are the steps I’ll be taking when the time comes to take the plunge again.