Many business owners believe the act of selling their business is similar to passing the baton in a 400 metre relay: once you’re finished running, you get to relax. In reality, buyers will insist that you stay on for a transition period – anywhere from six months to five years – during which time you continue to work in your business to help the buyer capitalise on the investment they’re making.
At some point in the process of selling your business, a prospective buyer will ask you – usually quite casually – “Why do you want to sell your business?” These eight seemingly innocuous words have derailed more deals than any others.
Obviously you don’t want to lie, but there is a right and wrong way to answer the question. Answers like “I want to slow down a bit” or “I want to travel” or “we’ve got a baby on the way and I want to spend more time at home” communicate to a potential buyer that you plan on winding down when they take over. However, what they want
to hear is your intention to help them realise the potential locked inside your business.
If you’re over 55
, you can start to talk about retirement, but you want to make sure you communicate that you still have lots of energy and passion for your business.