Ready or Not, Here It Comes

Every business owner has a big dream of selling their business and heading off to see the world. The problem is there’s very little planning that’s been done, leaving the business owner uncertain about the future. Many business owners fall into the trap of the “rolling five years” saying, “I’m planning to retire five years from now.” Three years goes by, maybe another 5 years, then the owner says, “I’ll retire five years from now,” and so on. But ready or not, here comes your business exit! Before you know it, you may be in your 70s with little to no planning done.   

There are many things that could be standing in the way of your business exit, even if you don’t believe you need to do it yet. Here are a few possibilities: 

  • You haven’t created a clear exit strategy.  A successful business exit requires careful planning and preparation. You need to have a clear understanding of your company’s value, who your potential buyers are, and how you will structure the sale. If you don’t have a clear exit strategy in place, you’re more likely to make a rash decision that could hurt your chances of getting a good price for your business.

  • Your business is not ready to be sold.  If your business is not profitable, has a lot of debt, or is facing legal or regulatory challenges, it may not be attractive to buyers. You need to make sure your business is in good financial health and has a solid track record of success before you try to sell it.
  • You’re not ready to retire.  If you’re still enjoying running your business and don’t have any plans to retire soon, you may not be motivated to sell. Or you may be emotionally attached to it and may not want to lose the control and freedom that comes with being a business owner. However, it’s important to consider the long-term implications of keeping your business. As you get older, it may become more difficult to manage your business and you may have to sell it eventually anyway.

  • You’re afraid of change.  Selling your business is a major life change, and it’s natural to be afraid of the unknown. However, it’s important to remember that change can be a good thing. Selling your business can give you the opportunity to retire, pursue other interests, or start a new business.  

If you’re thinking about exiting your business, but you’re not sure if it’s the right time, it’s important to talk to a business advisor or an exit planning consultant. They can help you assess your situation and develop a plan that’s right for you. Ultimately, the decision of when to exit a business is a personal one. There is no right or wrong answer, and what’s right for one business owner may not be right for another. However, it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons carefully before deciding. 

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