Just simply shutting it down might be something that’s not quite sitting right with you. Even as a freelancer, if you’ve built up a business and you have turnover and clients then just turning off the lights and walking away should really be your last option. If your business is viable or doing well and turning a regular profit, then chances are it’s worth something, both to you monetary wise and to someone who may want to buy it.
But, it’s not like selling your old junk on eBay. Selling your business is serious business and not something you should undertake lightly or without help. So, here are a few points to consider:
IS IT THE RIGHT CHOICE TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS?
You may think that selling up is the only option you have. But is it really? Are you ready to part ways with the little baby you effectively gave birth to, raised, nurtured, had sleepless nights over (remember when I said starting your business would be an emotional rollercoaster)? I mean sell your business, not your baby. This business may have been the pivotal point in changing your life. Are you ready to divorce your business? Are there other options you haven’t thought about? Like hiring someone to run it for you and just keeping an eye on things from a distance? Or asking your employees if they want to buy a share of the business to take over the running? Are you ready to hand over to a stranger and walk away? Or do you just want the cash a sale could raise because you have other plans now that you want to finance?
There’s a lot to think about before you put the for sale sign up.
GET HELP! USE AN AGENT
PUT A VALUATION ON YOUR BUSINESS
Is your business asset rich? Do you own property or a lot of vehicles or have a lot of stock in hand? You may have loans to buy assets so that all needs taking off the value.
Then there’s the none tangible assets. Things like goodwill are invaluable to any business. Perhaps your website has had a lot of investment and is ranking well in Google and your main lead generator. Your social media could also be an asset if it generates value for the business. These are all things that are very difficult to put a price tag on but invaluable to the running and future growth of your business.
Talk to an expert but also be happy with the valuation figure. Be happy that your hard work is going to pay off. If you feel that your business is undervalued then you are selling begrudgingly and you won’t be happy with the outcome.
CLEAN UP YOUR ADMIN
If you’re a creative then admin might not be your strong point. But things like your accounts and other business reporting are essentially what a buyer is going to learn the most from. That is what they will ask to see first. So make sure that your accounts are bang up to date and make sense. Don’t leave any black holes or missing receipts. Also, make sure that all your contracts and agreements are to hand. If essential items like these are ready for a buyer to view they may get impatient and look elsewhere. You may not be the only business for sale they are viewing. Much like when you sell your house. You tidy up and get everything in order because you know buyers are shopping around.
PRE-QUALIFY YOUR BUYER
Same goes for your buyer. Make sure they have the funds to buy first before they get to look at anything, accounts, contracts, client lists. Anything!
Your personal reputation could take a beating if you sell to the wrong person. Just look at the whole Phillip Green and BHS fiasco!
PREPARE YOUR EXIT STRATEGY
GET YOUR CONTRACTS WATERTIGHT
Again this is something an agent would take care of for you but if you are handling the sale yourself then this is the part where you would need to involve a solicitor. Is the sale a clean break from the business or could you be held liable for anything in the future? If there are any business debts have they been transferred to their new owner correctly? Make sure that all the legal stuff is in order so you don’t get any nasty surprises in a years time.
Don’t be checking up on your old business. No sneaky peaks at their Facebook page or quick calls to staff. It’s none of your business anymore. What the new owner does is entirely up to them. It may be painful if you see things going wrong or changes that impact staff. But that is the choice you made when you decided to sell up.
Now go and enjoy the spoils of your hard work.