Don’t Squander Your Nest Egg … Read On To Learn How
A Moment to Reminisce on Your Life in Your Business
You’ve spent considerable time, perhaps decades, realizing your vision of the business you created. And now you’re at the enviable, yet frightening, crossroads of what to do next. Do you continue to grow your enterprise, pass it on to your offspring or prep it for sale? Whichever route you choose will be best served by advanced planning … ideally with expert guidance from advisors who have “been there”.
On the subject of planning … study after study reveals that 58 percent of business owners have no plan for the transition of their business … and only about half of those have committed to a written plan. Preparation trumps inspiration … so procrastination in facing the transition decision can be costly both financially and emotionally.
Our purpose in this article is to assert you have a nest egg, and it’s your call whether you capitalize on it or lose it. All it takes is thought and planning. Do nothing and you’ll likely be among the 70% who shutter their businesses. Initiate and execute a transition plan for your asset and you have the option to add liquidity for your golden years. Ready or not ready … your preparation is the same. Give yourself the option.
Note: There is a cost of not being prepared to sell when the time is right. Today we enjoy the longest positive business cycle in history. How long will it last … who knows? But adopting a sense of urgency to prepare your plan means you will be ready whenever your desire to sell and the business cycle is in sync. Luck is when preparation coincides with opportunity.
By the way, it’s absolutely typical for business owners like you to have “next step” anxieties. Let’s take a look at the common questions, concerns and considerations … plus a checklist to position your exit strategy to maximize your payoff.
Introspection … Are You Ready?
Am I ready to sell … financially and emotionally? Now these are two powerful issues to wrestle with!
On the financial side, have you thought through what sales price will satisfy your financial needs? Keep in mind that the value of your company is what a qualified buyer is willing to pay, not what you would like to walk away with from the closing table.
Equally important is the human element. Emotional readiness is something that only you will be able to judge. Sometimes letting-go of an effort that has been all-consuming may be borderline traumatic. The antidote … knowing specifically your plan for “life after entrepreneurship”.
Reality Check … what do you have to sell – expectations, time frame, sale price?
There are objective and subjective components in the answer to that question. Objectively, you need a professional financial assessment of the current value of your company. (More on that in a bit.)
Subjective appraisal elements are more complex as there are judgment calls that need to be made as well as “clean-up, paint-up, fix-up” issues to be dealt with.
The number one subjective issue is whether your company is a viable, profitable entity without you, the current owner, on board. Said another way, the more indispensable you are to the company’s success translates to less perceived value by potential buyers. Position your company as not being dependent on your continued presence.
That means demonstrate a competent staff and management structure that functions well in your absence. Books and records, written policies and procedures should be in place – legal, regulatory compliant and up-to-date. Proven systems maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the company and directly are reflected in the sales price.
Finally, there is one last question when it comes to how much your business is worth. When! … today or at a future date? Many times, following a thorough analysis of the considerations presented in this article, the right call is to decide on a realistic target date to “get your house in order” and seek to enjoy peak sale value.
Through the Eyes of the Buyer
Just a word about the optics in positioning your company’s worth. Your company must project its image as a marketable package to potential buyers. So, what will they look for?
- Curb Appeal: Conduct a visual inventory of what your business looks like inside and out. Anything other than what you’d be proud to present to houseguests at your home needs immediate remedial attention.
- Business Value: Engage a professional valuation expert to determine an objective value or range in value of your company. This will help you identify worth as perceived by potential buyers.
- Checklist for Success: Review the six drivers of value for your business in the eyes of the buyer. Click here for a simple planning tool to better ensure your financial victory in the sale of your business.
Seek Professional Guidance for Preparation and Sale (not DIY!)
In evaluating resources for help in navigating the shoals of business transition, certainly your trusted advisors … accountant, attorney, financial counselors … must be part of your planning team. The next question is how to “keep all those aircraft flying in formation”.
Of course, it will require a central coordinating entity. That function is not likely to be fulfilled by you. You already have a full-time job running the very business you seek to sell and lack the experience. That points to the need for expert advice and execution by a proven resource that delivers both advisory and business brokerage services.
A competent business advisory/broker resource will help you sell your business today if that is your goal. Alternatively, a full-service resource will work with you to groom your business for future maximum curb appeal and peak sale value. Additionally, a proven resource will not offer a one-size-fits-all formulaic approach. Your company is unique and advisory services must be tailored accordingly.
We’ve covered a lot of ground and you may be left with the feeling that all of this is somewhat overwhelming. Not to worry … that’s a typical reaction which mellows out when you know that there is help available.
That’s where we come in … to help you decide on the best exit-strategy via sale or succession planning. You and your business are unique. Together, we will work with you and deliver action-oriented business advice to maximize your company’s value and promote its sale through our local and national network of qualified buyers.