For many entrepreneurs, knowing the best time to sell a business is a key component of their continued success. You might have spent many years building your enterprise, put in countless hours of hard work, and made plenty of sacrifices to ensure your business turns a profit, however, when it comes to the sale of your business, recognising the right time to jump ship can be a make-or-break moment in your career. Thankfully, there are a number of tell-tale signs that will allow you to identify the best time to sell your business, giving you the best chance of a successful and lucrative sale. Here, we look at 5 common signs that it is time to sell your business and move on to bigger and better things.
You receive a once-in-a-lifetime offer
It’s called a once-in-a-lifetime offer for good reason, and if you are lucky enough to recognize it when it comes along then you would be a fool to turn it down. However, as far as selling a business is concerned, this can manifest itself in one of two ways. Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, you might receive a lucrative financial offer for your business. Particularly if you have been a runaway success or you are doing something that the competition is envious of, you might find a buyer is willing to go above and beyond to secure your business for themselves.
Secondly, if your skills, experience, and reputation have made an impact on the wider industry, you might find that, rather than your existing business, people are willing to secure your signature for their venture. Naturally, this is very dependent on your area of interest, but sometimes an offer comes along that is simply too attractive to refuse—after all, who wouldn’t want to be CEO of the next big thing?
You are lacking motivation and/or ideas
Sometimes, entrepreneurs hit a dead end with a business. It happens, but knowing that this is a signal to sell up and move on to something new is an important skill. It’s a simple fact that running any kind of business is a stressful undertaking, however, how you deal with this stress is key. Some people thrive under pressure, taking motivation from the thrill of the chase; others, however, need more time and space to think things through and be creative.
If you find that you are lacking the motivation to bring your business up to an acceptable level (let alone develop new ideas to ensure growth into the future) then, unfortunately, you should sell up and try something new. Failure to do so could see your business comprehensively fail, so ensure you are being honest with yourself and be prepared to admit defeat once in a while.
You are out of step with the market
Consumer markets are changing constantly and, since the advent of the Internet, more quickly than ever before. What is in demand today is already in tomorrow’s trashcan, and keeping up with these changes can be exhausting. It is for this reason that many business owners and entrepreneurs begin to build their business in good faith, only to find that a couple of years down the line they are completely out of step with the market.
If your product or service becomes obsolete, cannot compete with larger or more aggressive companies, or your business model is not innovative enough to hold its head above water, then the market will quickly swallow you up. This can be a difficult realization to accept, particularly if you’ve built brand trust or a large customer base, however, unless you have a radical new idea to relaunch or refresh your business, then it is probably time to sell.
Your professional aspirations have changed
Many people start their own businesses to fulfill a professional dream or aspiration. This can be as simple as being your own boss or wanting to showcase your ideas to the world. However, there are occasions when a business owner simply outgrows the very thing that they have built. In these cases, it is often better to sell and reassess your goals rather than rebrand or change your current business significantly; particularly if it is successful.
The good news here is that any profit you make from selling your business can be channeled directly into your next venture. Whether that’s a new start-up, a job opportunity, or a return to education, deciding to start anew can be extremely liberating. You know what they say; a change is as good as a holiday!
You are already dreaming of retirement
If retirement is on the horizon and you seem to be spending an increasing amount of time dreaming of the day you can stay in bed past 6 am, then it is a sure sign that you should sell. For some business owners and entrepreneurs, retirement cannot come quickly enough, and unfortunately, this can often impact the daily operation of your business.
Put simply, if the days planning your retirement outnumber the days you spend focused on building your business, then you should already be planning your sale, as any delay will only cause your business to lose value. Make the decision to retire and get your business on the market as quickly as possible. That way, you can start making plans to spend your profits and fulfill all of your retirement dreams.