Selling a Business – Defining Success

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year sharing information about alternatives to business sale. But, I get it.  After working for years in a business, it is perfectly normal for you (the owner) to expect some kind of payoff. A payoff will provide you with personal financial security and a good financial rate of return for the risks you have taken. Most owners expect this will be achieved when they sell their business.

The Sale—A Disproportionately Important Event

You have worked years, even decades, nurturing, operating, managing and building your business. You have faced crisis and opportunity. You now have come to a point where you want to do something different. You want to enjoy other experiences you put to the side while focusing on your business. If selling your business is the route you decide to take to accomplish this goal, it will only take a small fraction of time compared to your business life as a whole. However, your mastery of this relatively short process will have a major impact on your perception of ultimate business success and the quality of the rest of your life. If not executed well, a lifetime of work can be undermined.

The Mysteries of Selling a Business

Most business owners will only go through one business sale. Therefore, it is to be expected you may lack familiarity with the business sale process. When you start the process, you may be shocked to learn that numerous common business practices have worked to decrease your business’ value and its marketability. To many owners the process is counter-intuitive at best and daunting at worse.

Defining a Successful Business Sale

Success is a subjective term. I define a successful business sale as follows:

1. You achieve a closing and sell the business. A surprising number of attempts to sell fail to close.

2. The process from beginning to end falls within a reasonable period of time. One year is average.

3. You obtain the best price possible given the business, its industry and market conditions.

4. You achieve the personal financial and non-financial goals of the seller.

Over the next month I’ll be dispelling the myths of the sale process. In the meantime, what is YOUR definition of a successful business sale?


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