When the time comes to move on from your business will you be ready? Will your business be ready? Will your business attract an enthusiastic buyer? Will you achieve a reasonable sale price or will you leave money on the floor?
Over the last 20 years, working as a business consultant and for part of that time as a business broker, it saddens me to see how unprepared business owners are when it comes for them to leave their business. Often it is that dangerous attitude of “It won’t happen to me”, however one day you will wake up and not want to face the trials of business ownership anymore or will not be able to. It will be your time to EXIT.
They say the best time to think about EXITING your business is before you start it. The second best time is NOW.
Once you decide or are forced to decide, one of the most difficult things is to know what the first step is.
It is helpful to think of the EXIT process as a project and a project with a timeframe. Preparing a business for a profitable sale can be a 2 to 5 years project. The question remains. How to get started? What’s the first step?
Fortunately, it is the first step that is the hardest and once the project commences the next steps become obvious, sometimes because you have taken a step back and had a really good look at the business and what it is that makes it appealing to a new owner.
I liken it to eating baguette? We know that to eat a baguette, the first thing is to cut it into slices. A project is the same: you cut it into slices or steps. And once you start the first step, you get into a flow and then what seemed like an insurmountable project, becomes a pathway.
At NAI Harcourts, we work with both sellers and buyers.
For sellers, we appraise and determine the current value of the business: the first step. For buyers, we ask questions to determine the preferred industry and the size of the investment.
The types of business owners looking to EXIT often have the following attributes:
- 50 to 75 years old wishing to shut up shop
- Owners undergoing a change in circumstances through ill health or moving out of town
- Those who are bored, tired and looking for a change.
- And some who may be experiencing cash flow issues: finding it difficult to pay the rent and the wages.
And for buyers, typically they are:
- People who have recently sold their business
- Individuals or couples returning from overseas work experience
- Investors wanting to purchase a business and not work in it day to day
- Executives wishing to escape the corporate rat race.
Our first engagement is no cost and no commitment so take the first step and get in touch. Let us know if you are OUT or IN.
If you are thinking of selling a business or buying a business and would like a confidential chat, please call us in confidence on 09 486 9250.