Selling Your Business: How to Overcome Five Costly Fears

Planning your exit from your business can feel at times like planning your will. Why do it today when you can do it tomorrow? After all, you are not planning on leaving this earth today, right?

Your exit from your company, however, is assured. Whether you leave it feet first or walk through the door, you will leave your company someday. Why not do it on your terms?

Unfortunately, while even the most procrastinating business owners will eventually complete their will, only 10 percent plan their exits. As a result, only 10 percent of business owners get their desired selling price, which could be devastating given that a company could account for as much as 90 percent of an owner’s personal wealth and be their primary source of retirement funds.

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The Right Way to Exit: How to Transition on Your Terms

sell-business-on-own-terms.jpegAs a business owner, you are accustomed to, and perhaps even thrive upon, solving today’s pressing problems and pushing on to tomorrow. But have you looked beyond this week, this month, or even this year?

The average owner spends 80,000 hours building their company but only six hours planning its transfer. As a result, 80 percent of business owners fail to get top dollar when they sell.

Just as winning the lottery is not a vible strategy for achieving your dreams, nor is hoping to sell your business for enough money to support your future lifestyle. That is like winning a free lottery ticket on a drawing for a $1 million jackpot. They won, but they missed a much larger prize.

Use a business transition plan to control your exit and maximize your payout. Plan now when you will exit, how and for how much, rather than leaving it to chance.

1) Search your soul.  Take a look at yourself, your family, your business and your values.

2) Analyze your situation.  What have you already done right and what needs to be done?

3) Identify your objectives.  Set informed goals based upon your work in the first two steps.

4) Review your options.  Chances are you have several options available and likely one will be the best.

5) Create your transition plan.  At this point it can almost write itself.

6) Optimize your business.  Build business value by eliminating as much as possible the company’s dependency upon you.

The sooner you start planning your exit, the smoother your transition will be when it arrives. Start planning now to transition on your terms later.

Lewis Hunter
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Lewis Hunter
Lewis founded Hunter & Associates in 1990 to help small-business owners achieve their potential. He manages the firm’s client relationships, regularly soliciting assessments of our team’s progress and seeking feedback on our performance and value-added services. He is an expert in cost accounting, overhead rate management and transition planning for architecture and engineering firms. Lewis also manages or performs all examinations of overhead rates that are reported to state transportation departments, including indirect cost rate audits for firms qualified as disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). He has managed the attestation services for applicants seeking reimbursement from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for costs incurred in remediation of petroleum contamination of underground storage tanks as well.
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