Exit Stage Left – Making a Smooth Transition for the New Generation – Week 2

Week 2: Who Is Interested In Your Business?

If you have considered selling your business, it’s vitally important to do the proper research. My prior post discussed getting a professional valuation of your company, and this post will give you some ideas on how to locate and identify the best possible buyers.

I recognize that financial valuation isn’t the only factor when looking for buyers. You are selling the product of years of hard work, and you want to be sure it’s the right match. With that in mind, I’d like to offer a few tips to help you in finding an appropriate successor and partner:

  1. Hire a business broker. Business brokers are much like real estate agents for businesses. They will actively market you and guide you through the process. The Wall Street Journal has partnered with a very useful website called http://www.bizbuysell.com. Check them out to get specific references for brokers in your area.
  2. Look for people you respect in your industry. If they run their business successfully, you can be confident that yours will transition seamlessly under their care, as well.
  3. Don’t overlook the competition out of habit. Your biggest competitors may well be the best people to buy you out.  The combination of your innovations and theirs may well give rise to a product, service or a way of doing business that can change lives.

Frankly, a business broker is the biggest asset you can have while navigating the waters of a sale. They will be able to give you advice on everything from valuation to closing, with the added incentive of a percentage of the deal to get you the best price possible.

Remember, you’re not just selling the tangible assets of a business. You’re selling your brand and your reputation. Your careful planning today will assure you a comfortable retirement. I encourage you to do your due diligence, just as your eventual purchaser will have done theirs.

In your opinion, how long does it take to build a strong brand before it is ready for sale?