Updated: Mar 10
You have often heard the phrase “timing is everything” to emphasize the difference even a day can make in how life plays out.
“You should have been here yesterday. The fish were really biting”.
“Our vacation was ruined by the rain. Just the week before they said the weather had been absolutely perfect.”
“If I had known that the price of beans was going to plummet, I would have sold all my positions two weeks ago.”
Unfortunately, even the most astute among us doesn’t have perfect or complete knowledge. We can all cite instances in which timing has enhanced our lives or nearly ruined things.
What does this have to do with selling a business? Or buying one?
Many, if not most, business owners have spent years, perhaps their whole working lives, building a business. In the back of their mind, they knew that someday a decision would have to be made on what to do with that business. A fortunate few have groomed either a son or daughter or a key employee to one day take the reins. Congratulations to them, although they still face many difficult decisions regarding a successful transition.
But for most owners, the day draws ever more near when it is time to sell.
So how do you know when that exact right time may be?
Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer. But here are some things you do want to consider related to this key question:
Health. Are you still fit to do the job of running a company? Not just get by, but to have the energy it takes to continue building the company. A company that is not growing is probably falling back and losing value daily.
Attitude. Are you still excited to get to work every day? Is what you are doing interesting? Is it challenging (assuming you still enjoy a challenge)?
Industry pressures or opportunity. Is your business sector still bright with possibility? Hopefully you aren’t selling buggy whips or operating a video rental store.
Have your sales and profits grown over the past few years? (three years is most crucial). Or are you in a stagnant or declining pattern?
Key employees. Are you well set with solid staff or are key people either in declining health or near retirement?
Plans for the future. Is there something fulfilling and affordable that you would like to do next?
These are just a few of the considerations you should be putting into your equation as you decide a good time to sell.
And keep in mind that most successful sales are the product of planning and execution of some techniques and strategies that you may have been putting off for a while.
Plus, the fact that a business doesn’t sell overnight. It simply takes time to prepare a business for sale and to go through the process of identifying the best buyer.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get started on today. A good first step is to have an evaluation performed on your business so you know where you stand right now. Then you can follow up with specific steps to both enhance the value of your company and choose a time that works the best for you.