What Are My Options If I Can No Longer Run My Business?

Posted on May 25, 2018 By

You’ve just walked your client outside and thanked them for stopping by, another successful day of work accomplished. You lock the front door of your establishment and your phone rings. It’s your wife. She’s calling to let you know the test results you had been anticipating from the doctor came in. The doctor regrets to inform the family that the results showed your wife does, in fact, have cancer. Your heart stops as her following words become a blur.

Your immediate reaction is “I need to get home now.” You don’t know how to bring her comfort. You feel helpless; there isn’t a cure for cancer. There are treatments, but you don’t even know what her prognosis is yet. A flood of emotions fill you as all your responsibilities come to the surface of your mind. “My wife is sick, and she needs me. My business can’t run itself. My bills won’t pay themselves. The work won’t do itself. What am I going to do?”

We like to think scenarios like this will never befall us; unfortunately, they can, and they do. There are things that can come up in life at any time without warning, and we need to know our options. As a business owner, encountering a turn of life events such as this might give you a new perspective on what’s important to you. You might want to spend more time focusing on your family and less time on the business. You need to know that you have various options to achieve this goal, and each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some options if you want to take a step back from your business quickly:
Liquidate Your Assets:

Advantages - You will have time to focus on the personal obligations or otherwise that are keeping you from running the business. Once your business is closed, it’s closed, and you don’t have to worry about the burden of running it.

Disadvantages - Keep in mind, this is usually a last resort option. However, it is a quick way to exit. This route is best for businesses that aren’t profitable or are in need of an immediate exit. A liquidation turns your merchandise, equipment, and real estate into quick cash. This will not replace customer relationship or take into account brand recognition.

Sell to Your Employees:

Advantages - Selling to your employees can be a satisfying way to exit your business. This can also be a good way to reward your employees for their service. They will be empathetic to your situation and respect you for giving them the option to take over the business you have grown and put your sweat equity into over the years. You can plan your exit strategy with this thought process in mind, so you can focus on whatever unexpected hardships life brings your way.

Disadvantages – As nice as it is to leave a business behind to those who helped you build it, the reality is this option won’t bring as much revenue as selling to a third-party buyer. If you are planning to exit, so you can focus on your family, you will want to get the most value for your business.

Sell to a Third-Party Buyer - Partner or Total Buyout:

There are a couple ways you can sell your business to a third party. You can fully or partially sell your business. For a partial sale, bringing in a partner to help tun your business and take it to its full potential might be the best way to go. You won’t give up full ownership, so you will still collect revenue from your business and have a part in its advancement. Additionally, this will free up time for you to take care of personal responsibilities outside of the business.

For a full sale, you can look for likely buyers within your industry. A likely buyer could be a competitor or a business in another industry or related industry that needs your company to fulfill a specific gap in that business.

Why You Should Use a Mergers and Acquisitions Firm:

Selling your business to a third party will take more time than liquidating or passing the business to your employees, but it will give you the most value in the end. Using an experienced mergers and acquisitions firm will help you navigate a sale with ease and help you find the path that is best for you. You can discuss your specific situation and your needs in an initial consultation and go from there.

Using a sell-side mergers and acquisitions firm, like Benchmark International, will give you the tools you need to find out which option works best for you. They can help you decide whether a strategic or financial buyout is the better way to go, and help you get the most value for your business. Also, you would have more time to focus on your personal responsibilities while the firm focuses on the sale.

An M&A firm can also illustrate the best strategies to use to your advantage in a sale. The more attractive you make your business to qualified buyers, the less time it will take to find an attractive deal in the marketplace. You can do many things to sell your business quickly besides putting an attractive buyers’ price on it. You can offer seller financing, include additional assets in the sale, offer training, and other incentives to attract buyers to your business.

It’s better to plan ahead, so when you are faced with these tough decisions, you know what your options are. A quick exit cannot always be avoided. Life can take unexpected turns (illness, death, divorce, etc.), but you can have a plan in place should something come up, and this will leave you in better shape in the long run.

Benchmark International is a mergers and acquisitions firm with decades of experience. Our business is selling businesses. If you find yourself in need of help in an exit, and you need to get out quick, we can help you find the best option for your circumstances. We always put our clients’ needs first.


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

Schedule a call to speak to an Analyst

Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 /

Europe: Carl Settle at +44 (0)161 359 4400 /

Africa: Anthony McCardle at +2721 300 2055 /


Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $5B across 30 industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 13 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of
their businesses.


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