What actually happens when you want to sell your business

  1. Are these good people? Do they share my values? To the extent that my business is in the service of our customers and our industry, do these people seem to care about that?
  2. Are these people serious buyers? You’re trying to understand the background of the potential buyers. Do they seem like serious people? Have they operated, bought, and sold companies before? Right now there is a trend in online business groups towards trying to buy companies. (Last year it was creating and selling courses, the year before that it was selling stuff on Amazon). So you do want to make sure you are speaking with someone who can actually execute deals. Make sure you aren’t providing free education for fledgling buyers at the expense of your time and focus.
  1. Make sure you have the team in place to keep running your business while you sell. Getting through the sale process is a full-time job, and it takes months. At minimum, expect to work harder during this time — but if you are already putting out fires 50 hours a week, your business is going to suffer. This is also the time to ask your spouse, babysitter, personal assistant, Door Dash drivers and the rest of your support system to help you.
  2. Don’t engage in the process unless you are really interested in selling. It’s always flattering to get proposals, but taking the time to field them if you aren’t serious is going to take your eyes off running your business.
  3. Know WHY you are selling your business and what you want to do after. Yes, it’s perfectly ok to say that your goal is to get a lot of money and then kick back on the beach — but know that that’s what you want to do. There are lots of structures that can be used in a sale based on whether and how involved you want to be, so do some soul-searching.

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John Rood

John Rood

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Father of 2, husband, education and the future of work