The root of this question is a mistaken assumption that any business that someone is willing to sell is obviously a business on the brink of failure. People hear a business is for sale and they immediately conjure images of giant, yellow liquidation signs and lost jobs.
The truth is businesses large and small are bought and sold every day, and for the most part businesses on the market – especially those with the best chance of selling – aren’t just good businesses, they’re great. A business with great prospects to sell has solid numbers backed up by years of steady growth. It has a well-trained staff and a large customer base. It has established name recognition in the community and a well-implemented marketing strategy.
So why would anyone in their right mind sell a business like that?
No one lives forever, and successful businesses are bound to outlive their founders. A seller looking to retire is probably selling in order to fund their retirement plans.
Health or family issues sometimes mean that you can’t continue doing the job you are currently doing – either because you physically can’t or because your family obligations mean moving somewhere else. When a business owner has to leave town or take a protracted leave of absence, the best path is usually to sell the business.
A serial entrepreneur.
Some entrepreneurs buy a business and then build it to a pre-planned metric of some kind – be it size or profits, and then sell to move on to the next business project. Think of it like flipping a house, only they’re doing it with businesses instead.
Doing the same thing for extended periods of time can cause some business owners to burn out a bit, not on the idea of entrepreneurship but of the specific business they currently own. These sellers are looking to take the profits from this sale and move to another industry. They’re a bit like serial entrepreneurs – except the initial motivation for owning the business was different.
See a trend among these categories of sellers? Not one is motivated by the desire to get off a sinking ship. They all have different motives for getting the most out of the sale of their current business – and that motivation means they are working hard to make the business as strong as possible so they can get the best return on their investment of time, money and energy.
These types of sellers and the businesses they run are good news for business buyers. You can be assured that a business you buy from someone like this is in pretty good, if not great shape.
Have you thought about buying a business but wondered why anyone would sell? Would you like to know what businesses are currently on the market in your area? Please feel free to leave questions or comments, we’d be happy to help.