How to Know If It’s Time to Sell Your Small Business

Time to Sell
Photo credit AnsonLu/Getty Images
By , Small Business Pulse

There comes a time in the lifespan of many small businesses when it is necessary to think about the next steps. Entrepreneurs are ultimately faced with financial and emotional decisions, such as weather to continue investing time and money into their business. Some fortunate owners may have opportunities to sell for profit, but deciding when to make any move can be difficult. If you’ve got massive investors knocking down your door, the decision may be an easy one. However, what do you do when you’re running out of money and your enthusiasm for your small business is waning? Is it time to sell your small business or not? There are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help make that big decision. Take a look at the following questions, and make that decision for yourself.

Am I still excited?
Small businesses are run primarily on hope and excitement. If your passion for your business is not what it used to be, then you might want to consider putting your company up for sale. If you’re enthusiasm is gone and your funders are starting to dry up, then it is probably time to reevaluate your situation. You’ve already invested so much of your time, money and soul into your business, but if it’s not bringing you the joy it once did, it may be time to pursue your next passion.

How is my longevity?
The basic rule of business is you must be able to attract and satisfy new customers for less than the cost of doing business. Seems simple enough, but the truth is that it is much harder than many people realize. Start with your business plan. Is it viable? Do you have what you need to keep going for years to come? Is your income stream something that will dry up eventually or is it something that can continue to be honed and adjusted as your business grows? If you’re already looking at the end of the sidewalk, then you might have an answer for yourself.

Do I have support?
A successful business is all about the people. Take a look at your staff and be honest with yourself. Do you have the right people in the right jobs with the right training and the right support? If the answer to any of those is no, then ask yourself if you can fix it. If the answer is still no, then it might be time to consider a sale. The other half of your support comes from your family. You’ll want to be honest with yourself as to how much time and money you can realistically invest in your growing business.

Is my business worth buying?
This is the other big one. You simply can’t sell your business if no one would want to buy it. Finding the right fit is essential to finding the best buyer. If you’re seriously considering a sale, then you can ask to set up a meeting with your competitors or any large business you think is interested in what you’ve created. Be sure to include a non-disclosure agreement as you begin these talks, and then start the negotiations and see what happens. If the sale makes sense for you and your potential buyer, it could be a great option for you and your business.