You shouldn’t expect to sell your company overnight. For every company that sells quickly, there are a hundred that take many months or even years to sell. Having the correct mindset and understanding of what you must do ahead of time to prepare for your company’s sale will help you avoid a range of headaches and dramatically increase your overall chances of success.
First, you must have the right frame of mind. Flexibility is a key attribute for any business owner seeking to sell their business. There are many variables involved in selling a business, and that means much can go wrong. An inflexible owner can even irritate prospective buyers and inadvertently sabotage what could have otherwise been a workable deal.
Be Flexible on Price
A key part of being flexible is to be ready and willing to accept a lower price. There are many reasons why business owners may fail to achieve the price they want for their business. These factors range from lack of management depth and lack of geographical distribution to an overreliance on a handful of customers or key clients. Of course, one way to address this problem is to work with a merger and acquisition advisor in advance, so price issues are minimized or eliminated altogether.
Be Prepared to Compromise
In the process of selling your business, you may want to achieve confidentiality while selling your business quickly and for the price you want. However, most sellers find it is possible to have confidentiality, speed, and the price you want, but not all three. Usually, you’ll have to pick two of the three variables that are most important to you.
Is your business exit ready?
If you’re planning to exit your company in the near future, you may find EastWind’s Exit Strategy Playbook helpful in developing your own exit strategy, making your company more sellable.
A third way in which business owner flexibility can boost the chances of success is to embrace the virtue of patience. By accepting the fact that businesses can “sit on the shelf” for a considerable period of time, you are shifting your expectations. This realization can help reduce your stress level. “Stressed-out” owners are far more likely to make mistakes.
Sometimes Losing is Really Winning
A fourth way in which business owners should be flexible is realizing that you and your M&A advisor will not win every fight. There will be many points of contention, and a smart dealmaker realizes it is often better to have a good deal than a perfect deal. You may have to make sacrifices in order to sell your company. To put it another way, you shouldn’t expect the other side to lose every point.
A savvy business owner is one who never loses sight of the final goal. Your goal is to sell your business. Seeing the situation from the buyer’s perspective will help you make better decisions about how you present your business and interact with prospective buyers. Maintaining a flexible attitude with prospective buyers helps to position you as a reasonable person who wants to make a deal. Goodwill can go a long way when obstacles do arise.
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