Written by Andre Drouillard
I have had the pleasure to speak, work and travel with numerous owners and CEO’s throughout the past several years. Some of the most compelling conversations began when I simply asked: “have you ever considered selling your business?”. Most of the time the CEO or Founder responds with something like, “yeah, I would consider selling if the right offer came along” or, “I am always open to listen”. What was most revealing about those responses was – in the majority of cases – they didn’t have anything approaching a plan, and had certainly not given the necessary consideration required to transition their company successfully.
In light of those conversations, here are the five questions I would ask every business owner to consider carefully if you are starting to think about selling your company:
- Are you ready to sell? At an emotional & personal level, are you prepared to sell your business?
- How much is your business worth in the market? Objectively understanding what your business is worth to others will help align expectations between what it’s worth to you and what a buyer is willing to pay.
- Is the timing right? Is your business running smoothly and efficiently?
- You must evaluate what is important to you upon the sale of your company. This might be one of the more challenging considerations. Is legacy important? Employee retention? Maximizing purchase price? etc.
- What does the right buyer look like for you? There are many types of buyers, so choosing the one that matches what you value will increase the likelihood of a successful transaction.
It can take years of effort, fortitude, and sacrifice to build a successful business. When and how a business owner chooses to transition away from what they’ve built warrants very careful consideration and proven expertise. I work with many business owners who are starting to think about their succession plan and together we’re assessing and planning the best exit strategy for them.