The last year has been interesting – and with the economy, markets and housing prices growing at a great clip it can be a bit reminiscent of the pre-2008 bubble. If you are a business owner who is considering selling now or in the near future, this possible pre-bubble climate could make you nervous. You never know when the next 2008 might hit, and for those entrepreneurs who weathered the 2008 storm a very big question might be: How do I decide the best time to sell, especially if the market might take another tumble?
First and foremost, if you are making the moves necessary to get your business on the market but it isn’t quite there yet – don’t panic. If you’re not planning on selling today but would like to in the next 5 years – don’t panic. See a trend? The market is going to do what the market is going to do. Rather than worrying about something you can’t control – focus on the things you can.
You might have plans for when you’d like to sell your business, but the small business market rises and falls on it’s own – and it doesn’t care what those plans are. Flexible business sellers watch the trends and adjust accordingly. Are businesses in your industry a hard sell right now? Maybe waiting out the market for a bit longer is the smart move. Is your industry currently a hot sell? Maybe you need to get your business listed now while the market is in your favor. You need to be willing to go with the flow if you are going to have the most successful sale you can.
Don’t spend all of your cash.
You don’t need a major remodel in order to sell your business. The new owners are going to change what is important to them, and your remodeling choices will more than likely not be the same as what they choose – so don’t waste the money. The average listing is 9-12 months, so you need to keep that cash on hand – just in case the market starts to fall and your business needs that money to stay afloat.
Marketing, marketing, marketing.
No matter what the economy looks like, businesses that stop marketing are businesses that will end up dead. No one wants to buy a business that isn’t trying to grow and gain new customers. You should always keep retooling and tweaking your marketing strategy until the day you hand the new owner the keys. Another reason you should always have an eye on growth? If the market sours and you need to keep your business a while longer in order to maximize the amount you are able to get in a sale – you haven’t taken your foot off the gas and hurt the business you now need to create income.
The message here is no matter what the market does (or doesn’t do), remain optimistic about your business and it’s future. Keep marketing and growing, save your cash and be realistic and flexible with your decisions about when to sell.
Are you considering selling and want to know what the market currently looks like for a business in your industry? Would you like advice about when the best time to sell might be? Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.
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