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How Can I sell the Business I Love ?

Bringing a business to success is an emotional journey from start to finish. Years are spent making sacrifices and taking tough decisions. So, as you get closer to retirement age, choosing to sell your business can be a bittersweet step to take. You raised your business like a child, and you have grown attached to it. How do you begin to make the decision to sell it?

First and foremost, you need to know your reasons for selling. Perhaps, you started your own business, so you could take control of your life and call the shots. Maybe, it was to provide a better life for you or your family. If you are reaching retirement age, then you have probably made a full circle and came back to those initial reasons. Those same motivators can be the drivers behind your ultimate decision to develop a strategy so that you can exit your company.

You love your business, but you love your family too. Perhaps you feel it’s come time to refocus your time and energy on your personal life. That’s okay, and you have several options at your disposal. Balancing work life and home life can be a challenge. Don’t let your obligations to your business keep you from fulfilling your goals at home.

If the decision to sell is on the table, there are a few paths you can take. A partial sale of your business is one option. This option is intriguing if you aren’t sure if you are ready to leave your business entirely. Bringing in a strategic buyer for your business that can begin working alongside you and help your business grow to its full potential will give you more time for your personal goals, while still allowing you to stay involved in your business. You can take on a less rigorous role without having to step down completely.

Strategic buyers are looking for a synergistic partnership that will allow them to either expand their footprint within a particular market, or one that will give them the chance to break into a new industry. Your business will add value to a strategic buyer’s plans , so they will want to see success in your company. This means your incentives will be aligned and if your company isn’t successful, neither is theirs.

Another option is a sale with an eventual complete exit. A complete sale does not have to happen immediately. You can slowly transition out of your business over time. This is a good option if you want to retire and leave your business completely, but care about your employees and the legacy you’ve left behind after you are gone.   

A buyer who buys your business out right is called a financial buyer. Your business is an investment, and this buyer will need to have a management team in place, most likely your management team. If you want to make sure your business is going to be okay without you, it’s a good idea to transition with the business, so your employees can get acclimated to the changes as well.

Also, if your employees see your commitment and support to transitioning through the changes with them, it will help alleviate doubts they might be having about the sale themselves. When you decide to leave the business you love, you want to make sure you are leaving it in the right hands, and you want to make sure the employees who helped you build it are in good hands as well.

One thing you definitely should not do is tackle a sale on your own. If you are vested in focusing on selling your business and neglect your daily responsibilities within the business itself, you can potentially harm your business because your focus has shifted. Successfully completing a sale takes a great deal of time and understanding of the mergers and acquisitions transaction process. Patience is a virtue, and selling your business will take a little time, but with the right team in place, you can get maximum value for your company.


4 Things I Can Do to Replace Myself in my Business

As a business owner, you sacrifice a great deal of time and hard work to bring your business to success. As the business grows, your workload does too. You start in the front driving innovation and sales, then you end up in the shadows working on daily operational tasks, often obligatory, just to keep things afloat. You know you’re needed to keep the business running, but you want to make sure it continues to operate efficiently if you aren’t around.


When Do I Tell My Employees I'm Selling?

The thought of selling your business has been on your mind for quite some time, and now you have made the decision to sell. The business is ready to go and you have been working with your advisor to bring in a suitable buyer. The offer comes in and you have signed a letter of intent. The process is in motion, and this is what you have been waiting for, but what about your employees? Your exit plan has been on your mind, but your employees probably haven’t given much thought to what will happen if and when you exit the business. You have a couple options when it comes to sharing the news of your business sale to your employees.

Share Nothing:

Some business owners opt to not share the decision to sell with their employees at all. This option can be viewed as inconsiderate, but it does alleviate the risk of a mass exodus from the company. There are pros and cons to any decision, but not telling your employees right away and keeping information for yourself allows you to keep them from undue stress.

It’s important to protect the integrity of the deal and the company. This means you need to keep details under wraps. If you spill the beans to your employees, there is no guarantee that the information will stay within your company, and it could be concerning for your client base if they catch a whiff of the pending sale.

This doesn’t mean you can’t put things in place to protect your employees through a transition, of course. You just need to pay attention to their needs and ask your advisor what your options are in a sale. If you choose this route, you need to be prepared to extinguish any rumors and answer employee questions the best you can if they notice any changes taking place.

Keep Them in the Loop:

Some owners think the best policy is to be transparent with employees from the outset. The decision to sell has been made, and you are exploring options. So, you want to inform your employees what’s going on. You can be up front with employees and let them know of your plans to sell and your desire to find the right buyer for the company who will instill the same values you hold as a business leader.

This will need to be handled delicately, so your employees will remain comfortable throughout the process. You will need to drive home the initiative that you are doing what is best for the company as a whole and selling the business doesn’t mean the end of the business but rather the growth of the business. It is important to keep the conversation positive, so your employees will get on board with your plans.


The Drained Business Owner: How to Gain Your Start-Up Passion Back

Running a business is a romantic fantasy built on expectations of immediate gratification. People who venture on their own to start a new business are excited by the prospect of creating their own schedules and doing what they love. The hard work necessary; however, to build a business up and keep it running are often underestimated. Many business owners reach a point of burnout and lose their original passion. This is something that is hard to envision from the start because of the initial excitement.

As a business grows, the responsibilities of the owner often shift from doing what he set out to do: his passion, to doing behind-the-office tasks such as HR tasks, managerial tasks, dealing with legal issues, operational issues, etc. The more the business grows, the more the owner gets enveloped in these tasks. It can be disheartening to get separated from one’s passions, but how can one be reunited with the tasks he knows and loves?

If you feel you aren’t as close to your passions as you were before, there are some strategies you can implement into your business and your life to help you regain control of those passions and utilize them again.

 Take Some Regular Time for You

It is important to stay connected with yourself to maintain balance and obtain satisfaction in what you do. So, make time to do things you enjoy. Start a new hobby; start exercising regularly; watch a new movie; read a book. You need time for you and you need time to unwind and relax, so you can start each day with a fresh outlook. We have all heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s true. If you are not giving time to yourself and being mindful of your individual needs, you won’t perform your best in your business. Relaxation breeds innovation. A maxed-out body and mind cannot perform well. You will get burned out and your passion will dwindle.

 Set Boundaries, and Stick to Them

Work is just that: work. So, set specific time frames for work. This is related to needing time for yourself, but this is also related to having a set routine. Work stress can spill over into your life at home if you don’t set boundaries. Things run smoother when you separate your work life and your personal life. Consider not taking any work-related phone calls after a specific time, and decide a maximum number of hours you will dedicate to the business each weekend.

Be diligent in doing this and make it a priority. Odds are you won’t be any more useful to the business by forcing yourself to stay late and go on little-to-no sleep day in and day out. That will make you burnout even faster.

Take Vacations

Aside from regular time to yourself in your daily and weekly routines and managing boundaries, you need to take real time away from your work occasionally. This is absolutely essential to your envisioned success. Stepping away can be tough if you are the only person running your business, but it needs to be done. Entrepreneurs often fall into long workdays and working too many days each week. So, you need to make a decision on how many weeks and weekends you will give yourself away from the business - and actually take them off. Staying constantly plugged in to your work will lead to dissatisfaction.


Focus on what’s important to you. If making sure your customers are happy with your services is most important or bringing a new innovative idea to the table is center stage, then focus on that. You can hire someone to do the daily tasks you don’t enjoy, so you can get back to the exciting parts of your business. If you can’t afford a full-time employee, then contracting, part-time work, or outsourcing are options you can consider.

 Stay Connected with Friends and Family, and Remember Why You Started

Friends and family may not always see your vision, but most of the time, when you are getting near the finish line and seeing real progress, they see it too. If you feel burnout creeping in on you, you might feel like moving further from those who are close to you. This is not the best idea. Everyone who has watched you build your business from the ground up knows how important it is to you, and they will want to see you succeed. Loved ones can remind us of our purpose and help drive us back into our passions and stay the course for the long run.

Additionally, remind yourself why you decided to start your own business. Were you excited about creating your own schedule and making your own decisions? What pushed you to make that move? Put those motivations to work. Rework your schedule and see if you can find one that works better for you. Do something fun for your employees. Change something in the office. Take charge and remember that you created this business, and you decide where it goes and how it runs. Remind yourself of all the incentives you pictured for yourself and picture the long-term success. Push through the hard times with these initial motivators in mind.

 Get a Mentor

Mentorship is a great tool to utilize when you feel overwhelmed in your business. Look for business leaders in your industry and seek guidance. Ask them how they got where they are. There are many ways you can seek a mentor: through email, social media, meeting for coffee, etc. Don’t let fear of rejection turn you away from this idea.

Many successful people are happy to share their “secrets,” or methods, for success because they want to see others be successful too. This will also give you an opportunity to discuss your struggles, both internal and external, with someone who has experienced the same or similar plateaus in their career. This could be the motivation you need to get yourself back on track.

 Seek Innovation

What’s new? What’s missing? How can you add to your business and your industry? Bringing in new and innovative concepts to your business will give you an edge, and will allow you the opportunity to put your initial skillset to work. You came into your business with fresh and new ideas, all revved up for the future. Bring that passion back. Start researching what’s missing from your service offerings or your business as a whole. See what industry leaders are doing to stay on top and implement those strategies into your company. If something is missing from your industry altogether, then bring it in and give your company an edge over your competitors.

 Consider a Merger or an Acquisition with a Larger Company

At some point, organic growth seems to be a game of implementing new ideas while managing a larger and larger staff. Delegating gets more difficult, and you fear the business may fall apart if you step away for a few days to focus on you. The reality is you will eventually burnout. It is inevitable if you fail to see it when it is happening. All the above steps are great resources and tools you can use to take your business to the next level while maintaining your passion.

However, once you find yourself stuck in an office all the time running backend operations, and you aren’t a part of the team that’s bringing in new ideas and implementing them, it’s probably time to consider using a strategic partner, a manager who can run the backend operations while you do what you love and bring in new methods to further your footprint in your market.

You can sell a portion of your business, build a partnership, and continue growing the business you have raised from infancy. This inorganic growth method can help you achieve what you have planned for your business faster than you can on your own, and it can bring you back to doing what you love and being the innovative leader you are.

If you have found yourself stuck in managerial roles and want to get back to the front side of the business that you know and love, using a sell-side mergers and acquisitions firm like Benchmark International to find a strategic partner may be a good option for you.


Call Benchmark International today if you are interested in an exit or growth strategy or if you are interested in acquiring.



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