Key Take Away – Don’t wait until you want to sell your business in order to prepare for the sale. The benefits of preparation aren’t just for buyers.
Here is an interesting article (posted at http://realbusiness.co.uk/) written by successful entrepreneur Nick Brown. The article is mostly about creating good PR for your business.
But there is one key quote; one key take away that I thought was valuable. And that is the idea that you should think of the eventual buyer of your business as another customer.
Here is the key quote:
On a day to day basis you will be developing your business around your clients but don’t forget that there is an even bigger customer out there, someone with a check that has got your name written ……. Always focus on that ultimate customer.
More often than not, what we refer to as “preparing to sell your business” is just another phrase for good business management. It should not be thought of as something separate from running the business on an everyday basis.
The very things that a buyer looks for are the same things that the founder of the business wanted to create when he or she first envisioned the business – profits, fun, happy customers; an organization the owner could take pride in.
The advice that you should start to prepare your business for sale 5 or even ten years in advance can be hard advice to follow.
Honestly, how hard is it to work day after day if the payoff is ten years down the road?
Here is a better way to think about it. If you want to sell your business 5 or 10 years down the road start preparing for the sale now – but do it for your benefit not the buyers.
It is likely that one of two things will happen. First, somewhere along the way you may get an unsolicited offer from a qualified buyer. If that is the case you certainly want to be ready to sell.
Another, more likely scenario, is that when you finally do want to sell, the process will take longer than you thought. The economy may take a down turn. Or your first couple of buyers may not pan out.
In one scenario things happen faster than you had planned.
In the second, things take much longer.
In either case you want to have a business that you enjoy running and that pays you well.
So start to build that business now – but do it for yourself, not for some hypothetical buyer from the distant future.
When that hypothetical buyer finally appears you will be ready. But along the way you will make a lot more money.