6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selling Your Business

Eventually you might reach a point where you decide to get out of your business, whether it is retirement beckoning or a desire to take on a new venture. Here are a few things to think about before taking that step.

Amanda Clark
Amanda Clark

What’s your endgame? Maybe you’ve meticulously plotted the life cycle of your septic services business, establishing a clear destination for yourself; or maybe you haven't thought about it much, preferring to just see where the market takes you.

But sooner or later, you’ll need to make a decision, whether it's handing the business over to a family member, dissolving it or selling it. 

If you're taking the latter option, selling a company is a big undertaking, with a potentially significant payoff. As you consider whether this is the best option for you, start by asking the following questions:

Is your business ready to sell?

You wouldn’t put your house on the market before cleaning it, staging it and making any necessary repairs. In much the same way, you don’t want to put your business up for sale without ensuring it’s in the best possible condition.

Generally, it takes a couple of years to get the business ready. Make sure you can produce full tax returns for at least two years, showing the business at maximum profitability.

How will buyers value the business?

The value you see in your business may not be the same as what a potential buyer sees in the business. For example, if your books are loaded with tax write-offs, it may make the business seem less valuable than it really is. Having an independent valuation can give you a good sense of what you can do to make your business seem as valuable as possible.

Do you have the right team?

You’re not going to be able to sell the business yourself. In fact, you may need a team to support you, including attorneys, an accountant, potentially an appraiser or a business broker.

Is this the right time to sell?

When selling a business, timing is everything. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wait until your company is declining before you sell it. Instead, what you really want to do is sell when the business is at its peak.

Where is the industry headed?

Do you foresee a lot of big changes on the horizon, whether due to market forces, broader economic realities or advances in technology? And do you think you might struggle to keep up with those changes in your own business? If so, you may want to decide to sell now, rather than face those challenging shifts.

Would you be willing to stay on?

What if the buyer of your business asks you to stay on and help with the transition, say for six months or a full year? This is a fairly common request, and it’s something you’ll want to really think about before making the decision to sell.

Consider all the factors

As you start thinking about the future of your business, and if and when you might want to sell it, make sure you take all of these factors under consideration. There’s a lot to think about, and it’s in your best interest to make sure you sell under just the right conditions.

About the author: Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.


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