Business owners who have made so many right decisions in starting and growing their businesses, often lose out when it’s time to win big rewards from a business sale. Three mistakes that I see many owners make are: waiting too long to prepare to sell, choosing the wrong business broker, and giving up control of the selling process.
The next few years may be the optimal time to sell your business. If you want to sell successfully in the near future, I advise you to avoid making these following three mistakes.
Mistake 1: Waiting to launch the selling process
Then again, think how great it would be to open your door to a buyer, confident that you know the estimated value of your business and having documentation at the ready. Imagine casually offering a compelling sales portfolio and reaching for the phone to call your broker to vet the buyer and handle the details.
Selling a small business can take from six to eighteen months. Long-term planning and early preparation can cut that time. More importantly, it will cut your stress level.
Your business might need some improvements to boost its attractiveness. It may require extensive and aggressive marketing to find the right buyers for your business niche. By thinking ahead and starting soon enough, you will increase your chances of getting everything in place so you will have a financially successful outcome.
Mistake 2: Choosing the wrong person to broker the deal
If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are doggedly independent. You would more likely benefit from a broker who listens to you and your goals. One who respects your decisions and timeline, and makes the effort to determine and showcase the real potential of your business.
Because a broker has world-wide connections and posts international ads through his franchise network, one might imagine he could tempt a billionaire to fly across the globe to buy your business. But it is much more likely that the right broker will have a thorough knowledge of your region and will use targeted marketing and careful screening to capture the most appropriate buyer for your business.
Mistake 3: Abdicate your leadership role in the sale of your own business
You as the owner, however, have an important role to play in the sale of your business. Above all, you are the ultimate decision maker and the lead authority during the sales process. And you will want to work in time to:
- answer specific questions from potential buyer
- stay informed on your broker’s progress
- keep in touch with your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor
- and -- after the sale -- work with the buyer to ensure a successful transition.