When is the Right Time to Sell Your Business?

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That can be a hard question to answer, as your decision is influenced by so many factors. There are practical and economic considerations, as well as the emotional upheaval of selling something you have worked so hard to create.

For some, the decision is forced upon them, due to financial hardship, ill health or retirement. For others, it is a case of weighing up the pros and cons of keeping or selling the business.

The easiest way to make the decision is to remove the emotion and work through a list of practical questions.

Do I need the money now?

This is one of the most common reasons why business owners sell. It's a simple case of liquidating your assets. In most cases, the owner wants to invest in something different, or buy property. Or perhaps an interstate or overseas move is planned.

The answer to this question is simple with little emotion involved. It is a practical business decision. However, to get the best price possible, you should start planning this move well in advance. You need to sell when the business is at its most successful. 

Have things turned out as I planned?

Often, the idea of owning a business is more exciting than the reality. Most people love the idea of being their own boss, but it's a lot harder than you think. Just because you are excellent in your chosen profession, doesn't mean you will be a good business person.

The reality of owning a business can be tough at times. There are finances to manage and legal obligations to meet. There may be unhappy customers to deal with, unreliable suppliers, and staff disputes. 

In short, while it is truly satisfying to buy your own business, it's not the right fit for everyone.

If you realise early on that it's not for you, make the decision to sell. If you stay, you could end up stressed and depressed, and the business will suffer. If your heart isn't in it, it's far better to make the choice yourself, and free up funds for something new.

Has the market changed?

The market constantly fluctuates, due to consumer demand, interest rates, global issues and politics. If you bought a business when it was at its peak, it could be that your profits have dropped. This situation generally requires further investment and/or diversification. 

If you don't want to make those changes, and you'd rather not invest any more resources to meet the market, the best decision is to sell.

New blood is often exactly what a struggling business requires. An investment of money, ideas and motivation can turn things around. This provides a golden opportunity for a new owner, and the chance for you to move on to pastures new.

In this case, try and market the business at your best time of year. If your industry is seasonal, sell at the end of the season. If you have future orders/bookings in place, so much the better.

Do I Want More Family Time?

Many people buy a business when they are single, and have all the time in the world to invest. Once a partner and children come along, it may no longer be the best fit. 

That doesn't mean you can't still own a business. The option here is to sell your current organisation and move into a lifestyle industry. 

There are some great lifestyle businesses on the market, from caravan parks and pubs to general stores. Often, a home is included, making it a perfect choice for families. Even better, as your children get older, they can get involved, too.

Am I nearing retirement?

Very similar to the above, this business sale is about slowing down the pace. Once you reach a certain age, you don't want to be working 12 hour days! And you probably want more time off to see the grandkids.

A lifestyle business is once again the option here, perhaps a holiday park or established Bed & Breakfast enterprise. This could also incorporate the sea or tree-change you've often dreamed about.

Is it time to trade up?

For those who want to ramp up the action, rather than slow down, selling is a great option. It could be that you have cut your teeth on a small enterprise, and now you're ready for a bigger challenge.

For many, this is a long-term business plan. In just the same way we trade up on property, the same can be done in business. With careful planning and investment, you can build up your skills and your bank balance every time you sell and buy.

People buy and sell businesses every day, for all sorts of reasons, so it's impossible to pinpoint the perfect time to sell. Your decision will be influenced by many different reasons.

You will know in your heart if the time is right, although it's also worth chatting through your plans with your financial adviser.

There is no need to fear change. Change is a good thing, especially in business, so embrace your decision and move on to your next adventure!

 

Sell your commercial property or business privately without business brokers. We advertise your business for sale or real estate listing in our go-to website, national glossy Coast to Coast Magazine and major real estate websites reaching many motivated buyers. Call now to sell your business or property 1300 793 792 or email enquiries@ctoc.com.au.

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