Beach Bound

If you own your own business, do you know what it’s worth?  Who would buy it?  If you wanted to retire and travel, could you?  If not, what would you need to do to make that possible?

These are questions most small business people never ask, I know I certainly didn’t.  However my brother-in-law would routinely ask probing questions at holiday gatherings prompting me to consider these “succession” issues.  As the world welcomes the continuation of the monarchy in Great Britain, perhaps this is a good time to consider the future of your kingdom as well.

What, if anything, do you have to sell?  If you have been self-employed – providing a service to a list of clients, you may not have anything to sell.  Example:  a graphic artist, writer or editor who does free lance work may do very well for themselves but its not something you could sell to someone else.  A meeting with a financial planner would be a good idea so they can help you understand how to best prepare for retirement.  The earlier you have that meeting, the better!

What if you do have something to sell?  My friend had a sign company with expensive printing equipment, a building she owned, delivery van, employees and contracts with many major companies.  I had a chain of retail stores, delivery trucks, employees and significant brand awareness and market share.   Both were successfully sold within a year of each other. 

There’s no one perfect way to sell a business but there are likely things you can begin to do today to make your business more attractive to a prospective buyer. The Entrepreneur website has several good guides to help you get started.

Even if you don’t plan to sell anytime soon, the more you know the better you can plan.

Ask people who have sold a business how they knew it was time and how they went about it.  Did they bring in a partner who bought them out over several years or did they sell it outright?

Ask your attorney and outside accountant what you would need to do to make your business saleable.  They may know others who are willing to let you buy them coffee or lunch and pick their brains.

Find a trusted advisor who can answer questions and offer guidance and no, my brother-in-law is not available for hire.

In my case, I needed an in house CFO and audited financials for a period of time to attract the right buyer.  Done and done.  Now I’m in Aruba for 10 days with my hubby.

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What can you do to get beach bound?  Something to think about.

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