You should treat selling your small business with just as much acumen and attention to detail as you did while running it. Selling a business isn’t the time to fumble the ball, which can become easy to do when the end is in sight.
You likely want to get the process over with so you can move on. However, hasty moves or a lack of attention can lead to problems you may not have even known were possible. Here are some mistakes to avoid when selling a small business.
1. Waiting Too Long to Begin the Process
Sometimes the writing is on the wall for all to see, but you may avoid looking at it. Many entrepreneurs start small businesses with the goal of eventually selling. However, many small business owners put in the work with a dream of growth and expansion. That dream can sometimes keep a small business owner from acknowledging when it’s time to close or sell their business to move on to something else.
Selling a business of any size can sometimes take years, so it’s best to acknowledge you might need to sell yours someday and plan for it. You also have to make sure you’re open to the right opportunity. Hesitation can lead to you holding onto a business and floundering when you could’ve moved on to a good opportunity that may not come back around.
For these and other reasons, it’s important that you at least consider the possibility of selling your business, even as a contingency plan. That way, if an excellent opportunity comes around, you have a better chance of taking advantage of it.
If you already know you want to sell your small business, then there’s no time like right now to work out the details, contact business brokers, and do what’s necessary to make sure the transition happens smoothly. Otherwise, you can waste a lot of money you don’t have trying to sell a business to mostly uninterested parties.
You can also make more desperate decisions as time goes on that could severely undercut the value of your business in several ways.
2. Going It Alone
Even with some planning and consideration, you need help. Selling a business, under every circumstance, isn’t something anyone should attempt without professional support. Much like selling a home, it’s possible to do it alone, but it’s not feasible or sensible. With selling a business, there’s even more involved.
More legalities, more official paperwork, more contracts, and more regulations are in store for anyone who wants to sell their small business the right way. Beyond all those considerations, there’s the fact that selling a business also requires some marketing and promotion.
Altogether, you’re looking at quite a Herculean endeavour. Unless you’re an expert in all the nuances of selling a business, you need guidance. Even if you are an expert, you will need at least a business broker to help show you the right direction. Consider that even lawyers hire lawyers to represent them.
3. Leaving Everything Up to Others
The other side to not going it alone is that you need to stay engaged in every part of the process. Hiring professional business brokers or others to help facilitate selling your small business doesn’t mean you should let the professionals run the transaction entirely. You need to stay fully aware of what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what you can do to help move things along.
All decisions are ultimately yours to make. Never let others decide for you. Instead, consult, strategize, ask questions, and learn from the guidance provided by your business broker or other professional. The more you know, the better decisions you can make regarding selling your small business on your terms.
4. Not Trusting the Process
If you plan, work with expert business brokers, and stay cognizant of what’s going on, you can sell your small business the right way and avoid a lot of extra hassle. Mistakes often compound. The ones listed here aren’t all the mistakes someone can make when attempting to sell their small business.
In all cases, it’s best to speak with a business broker before starting the process, even if you’re not entirely sure if selling your business is the right move.