Chicago Business Broker

It Is Never To Soon To Start Thinking About Selling Your Business

Timing is Everything

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Timing is a key factor in the successful selling of one’s business.  Like any investment, there are external factors at work that have a significant effect on the value of your business.  Unfortunately these do not often coincide with your desire to sell.

There are hundreds of travel agents and small printers that wish they would have sold their company 5-10 years ago.  Their companies could have had the best, most profitable business models yet advances in technology and the internet rendered them all but obsolete.

That’s why it is critical that you know and monitor the market value of your company and keep in tune with the M&A trends, both micro and macro, that affect it.

Business Sales By Sector Q4 2011

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What external threats exist for the longevity of my business model?

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This is a prudent and often overlooked question for business owners.  As the events of the past 5 years have demonstrated, there are many factors that are outside of our control that will ultimately affect your business.

These threats could be economic, competitive or technological in nature. The collapse of the housing market for an architect, the outsourcing of jobs overseas for a manufacturer or the e-commerce business model for a book store are all recent examples.

A good exit plan continuously looks for and evaluates these threats on an annual basis.  It puts contingencies in place that will allow an owner to either overcome them or exit their business before its value is significantly diminished.

This requires an honest and objective evaluation the business itself, the industry in which it operates and overall economic trends.  Due to an entrepreneur’s emotional attachment to their business it is often difficult, if not impossible, for them to do this evaluation themselves.  A good exit planner will help a business owner “see the forest through the trees” and make prudent decisions before it is too late.

Is This Your Current Exit Strategy?

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The time to plan is now!

Tis The Season…..For PLanning

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Selling your business is a tricky proposition. It is a process that is complicated by a variety of factors ranging from personal emotions and ego to marketplace trends and the economic conditions.  Some businesses sell quickly, others take over a year and some don’t sell at all.

The bottom line is this – if you’re counting on your business to provide you with a comfortable retirement you better have a couple routes for it to take to get you there.  Having been a business owner myself, and having worked closely with owners wanting to sell their companies, I can tell you that most business owners give little or no serious thought to how they will exit their company and most have no idea what their company is actually worth in the marketplace.  I see too many businesses fizzle and fade away due to a lack of a well thought out exit strategy.

Three steps you can take today to help ensure a positive exit are:

  1. Learn the true market value of your company.
  2. Affiliate yourself with a business broker who has their finger on the pulse of the marketplace to keep you up to date on trends.
  3. Create three detailed road maps for your exit.

The failure to plan is a plan to fail.

Landscape Architecture Firm For Sale – Great Business

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Great FREE Symposium for Business Owners Next Tuesday

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I met one of the presenters of this symposium yesterday and it looks like a great FREE resource for marketing and sales advice.

The presenters typically work with larger companies $5mil & up so this is a way for them to share their knowledge with owners of smaller companies and for American Family to get some PR in the small business community.

I’m goin Tuesday, maybe I’ll see you there.

My Son/Daughter Will Take Over The Business

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Legacy is something everyone who starts a business thinks about from time to time.  The transition to a son or daughter is all too often assumed.  Here is some quick advice on the topic:

Ask Them – Do they really want to?

Ask Yourself – Are they really capable?

Tough questions that lead to uncomfortable discussions but not as uncomfortable as watching your legacy diminish because your successor lacks either the passion or skill set to maintain it.

A Two Legged Stool Will Not Support You

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A solid business is built on three legs.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Growth
  3. Market Value

Cash flow ensures you get a paycheck, growth ensures the continuation of the paycheck, and market value ensures the transferability of that paycheck for top dollar.

A business without market value is just a glorified job.

Learn the market value of your company.  Enhance the market value of your company.  A stock without a buyer is just a pretty piece of paper.

cool business

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I came across this cool Chicago based business and love the business model.  It’s a great resource for retailers using social marketing like Groupon & LivingSocial