There is always the right time to sell a business.
A business you own becomes your life, your pet. You have pride towards your work and everything you have accomplished. If you have owned the business for long enough, it becomes a defining feature of who you are, what you do, and where you spend a lot of your time.
It is hard to let go of a business for several reasons:
Are you ready to share all the ins and outs of your business with complete strangers?
Will your business look appealing from an outsiders viewpoint?
Will a stranger run the business the same way you have, or will your pet be changed, twisted around, and transformed?
The business defines your time and what you do. Are you ready to redefine who you are?
- You have worked so hard in the business. What will you do after you have sold it?
You should be considering those questions years before selling the business. In fact, even at the stage of buying the business:
You need to be objective when you are selling your business. Use practical decision making processes, and commit to the decision. It can take months to sell a business. Stay focused and keep working hard; after all, you still have bills to pay while you own it, and you have to show potential buyers that the business makes money.
There are many factors influencing whether you should sell your business, so I will use my own circumstances as an example.
I owned a café in Melbourne. I bought it very cheap and built it up into a successful business, making a profit from day one. I left my full time Government work, and worked full time in the café instead. It was life changing. After three years I was tired. I was able to stay positive, friendly, and upright; but I was tired. I was not sure how much longer I could maintain the positivity to the customers, and that positivity was integral to the success of my café, as I was front of house/barista/etc.
My café had peaked and maintained a good weekly takings, and I knew that to increase the average takings further would require renewed energy, changes, and creativity. I knew I only had the energy to maintain the café at it's current level (which was still a good level).
It was time to sell my café because:
I was tired and I knew I could maintain the energy, but did not know for how long.
The café's profit/takings had peaked. I was happy with the takings, but did not have the extra energy to build on the café further. I did not want the café to stagnate.
I put the café up for sale. It sold. I moved to the ocean. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
In summary, when is the best time to sell your business?
The moment you think I want to sell my business - you should start looking at other similar businesses for sale online to compare.
Once the business has peaked in monthly average takings.
As soon as you start feeling worn out, have a good look at your business, and see if it is in the right shape for selling.
If you are ready for a change.
Before you get run down and desperate.
While there are at least three years left on the lease (let somebody else worry about renegotiating a new lease).
Stay positive. No matter how tired you are, do not let the buyer know that you are tired, stressed or anything other than positive towards your business. This will be the biggest sale in the history of your business. Your business is fantastic. Your business has room to grow. Your business is consistently successful.
Think into the future. If you work hard today, and if you build a good or adequate customer base now; then you can prove a regular income for the business, and in the future you will be more likely to sell it at a profit. Of course, building a good customer base and getting regular income should be your main priority, regardless of whether you want to sell the business. It is your job!