Selling Your Business

After countless hours of hard work, you are ready to sell your business and start a new chapter. The following steps will help you successfully navigate the process and let go of your enterprise so you can take on new challenges, get a fresh gig or embrace retirement.

Create a long-term plan

Selling your business should not be an overnight transaction. To reap the greatest benefits from your sale, you need to create a long-term plan.

According to The Balance writer Debbie Allen, selling a small business can take two to four years. She says you need to plan for the success of the person who will take over your business — keep records, a detailed business history and sales portfolio updated and always ready to go. This succession-planning mindset will show a potential buyer that selling is not a rash decision. It will highlight the value of your business and may drive up your asking price.

Calculate its value

Although you are well versed in the value of your business, it is important to enlist a third-party business appraiser to help crunch the numbers.

“The appraiser will draw up a detailed explanation of the business’s worth. The document will bring credibility to the asking price and can serve as a gauge for your listing price,” according to Investopedia writer Brigitte Yuille.

Partner with a professional

If you have a buyer in mind, such as a current employee or family member, you can save money and time handling the sale sans a broker, notes Yuille. If not, you should start interviewing brokers now, advises Allen. Do not rush through the process or sign with someone just to get the ball rolling.

Even once you find a broker you trust and want to work with, you should continue to promote your business to generate more leads, adds Allen.

“You are the best promoter for your business. No one is more motivated, passionate and knowledgeable about your business than you,” she writes.

Time it right

As the saying goes, timing is everything. This is especially true when it comes to selling your business, and you will find the answer with a good look at your books.

“Once your company is demonstrating consistent month-over-month revenue growth, you’ll know that it’s a good time to sell,” according to Gabriel Shaoolian, founder and digital growth strategist at Take2Strategy and Entrepreneur contributor.

Search for a buyer

Securing the right buyer or buyers takes time. It can be a frustratingly slow process to sell your business, which may prompt you to jump at a less than desirable offer. You could also receive an offer in record time, but the first offer may not be the best. Yuille suggests getting two to three prospective buyers. That way, if the first deal falls through, you still have more options to consider.

Building your business took time, hard work and the efforts of many. Selling your business will take the same focus and dedication. These steps will get you closer to the sale you need.

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