What Not To Do, When Deciding To Sell A Business

There is a lot at stake when selling a business. There are theories constantly doing the rounds about how to go about the decision of selling out your business. And yet, stories about mistakes made during the process of the sale abound. If you’re thinking of getting into the process of selling your business, there are several things you can learn from others’ mistakes.

Mistake 1: Depending on word of mouth for data and facts

You have invested time and money in your business, worked hard and built it to a stage where you feel it will command the price you ask for, when you sell it. So you talk to your contacts in the market, get in touch with several others who have some idea about the process and go ahead with the sale. While this may work for some people, it will still not lead you to the best deal in town automatically. Also, you still may not know enough about market realities concerning mergers and acquisitions.

Mistake 2: Not putting together a financial plan

If you’re banking on market figures to make estimates on the price your business can command, you might end up with far less than what you expected. Many owners have repented at leisure over what they felt was an unfair valuation of their business.

When you take stock of your accounting and finance records, you can draw a financial plan that will help you set more realistic expectations about selling your business.

Mistake 3: Not including expert opinion

Selling a business needs you to have several essentials in place, such as adequate information regarding the market, ensuring your business is doing well and is attractive to investors, putting your accounting and financial records into place for the buyer, etc. Many owners have suffered losses, both in terms of money and peace of mind due to the thought that their business was under-valued.

Ideally, you can harness professional inputs for several areas, such as industry or market data and information, legal, and accounting help.

Mistake 4: Not keeping an alternate plan for yourself

What were the motivations for your decision to sell out? Selling a business is never an easy task. Selling your own business that you built from scratch takes even more guts. Many small business owners will decide to sell out because they no longer have the same passion as they once had for the business, or they feel that the realities of running a business differ vastly from the vision they initially had, or they feel their focus has shifted. Evaluate your reasons for selling and make sure you have a plan ready to occupy yourself.

Mistake 5: Ensuring sound communication and paperwork, if needed

You cannot make a good sale on the basis of shoddy work. Small details such as ensuring that all the paperwork is done, agreements signed, and nothing left to verbal promises or chance can go a long way in ensuring a successful deal for your sale. Selling a business may need communicating key details to employees whose jobs may be affected by the sale. If this is not taken care of, there might be dissatisfaction that could adversely affect the transition involved in the sale.