4 Reasons to be Ready to Sell Your Online Business Right Now
Having an online business is great. Not only are you your own boss and can dictate your own hours, but you can also sit in casual clothes at the computer during conference calls and filling orders. But even if your business is going smoothly, and the profits are rolling in, it is still absolutely essential that you prepare the business for sale. Even if you have no absolutely no intention of selling.
Confused? Read on and you won’t be.
In the excitement of running a new business and watching it succeed beyond your wildest expectations, selling the company is probably the last thing on your mind. But the fact is, most business owners eventually end up selling to an investor or an individual at some point in time, and usually when they aren’t expecting to do so. You may be lucky enough for someone to come to you with an acquisition offer, but more likely than not, you will be looking for a buyer, not the other way around.
So in preparation for that day possibly coming, it is essential to have an exit strategy ready, so you can sell quickly and easily, and move on to your next business idea. Even if you vow never to sell your business, it is still good to perform an exit strategy exercise on a regular basis. Here’s why:
- It’s good for your business now. First of all, it forces you to take a good long hard look at your business. Examining every inch of your business structure, business practises, employee records, accounts, detailed financial records (including loans due, loan repayments, leases on suppliers, and so forth) may show you areas where you are most vulnerable, such as wastage. Any potential buyer would be examining these things, and if you did it first, you may find the one thing that could sink any prospective acquisition deal. This will, in the long run, make your business stronger than before.
- Bad Things Happen, Unfortunately. Things happen to us every day, whether we want them to or not. You might be forced to sell your business if you become burnt out and unable to continue running the company. (This is far more common than you may realize.) Nobody likes to talk or think about their business impacting their health, but unfortunately, life being what it is, these things do and may happen. If it does, then do you have a plan for the company to be bought out, and for you to get the rest and care you need? If the business is not at least moderately prepared, and essential records not organized, then any interested buyer that comes forward may take one look and run a mile. Or you may take so long in getting things together that the value of the business tumbles to the point where you are collecting pennies for the carcass of the business.
- Look at This Great New Opportunity! Thirdly, not everything is so bleak, so smile! You may get up one day, the sun is shining, the postman is singing, and you get a new business opportunity. Or the lightbulb may ping in your head and the Next Big Thing On The Internet is something you will want to work on right away. But what about the business you already have? You may need to sell it to come up with business capital, or to simply get rid of it, so you can devote all your time to your new venture. But if the books are a mess, and the record keeping a shambles, then it would take you so long to get it straight that the business opportunity will simply slip away.
- Prepping Takes Time. Last of all, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can get your business ready for selling by lunchtime. It can potentially take well over a year to get everything prepared and ready. When you want to jump ship from the business and pass it on to a new owner, do you want to wait a year while you get the place cleaned up, the lease wrapped up, and the tax returns from 2 years ago found and organized? In your frustration to wind up the business and move on, your impatience may impel you to take far less money than what the business is worth. And if you need that money for the next venture, taking a big hit in the price could prove a fatal blow.
So the moral of the story is that it pays a great deal to get into “sell mode”, the moment you start a business. Think like a potential buyer and examine your business the way they would. See what would make them blanch and fix it. Make sure the records are so organized that the tax man would faint. Your health, your bank balance, and your future career will thank you for it.
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About Mark Daoust
Mark Daoust’ passion for creating sales agreements that benefit both sides of the table led him to create Quiet Light Brokerage in 2007. Guided by the bedrock values of honesty, integrity and transparency, Daoust built Quiet Light to help sellers of Internet businesses, recruiting a highly qualified team along the way. Mark got his start…