When a business owner calls and says it’s time to sell, one of my first questions is: “How soon do you want to be out?” Typically, the answer is “Yesterday.” Unfortunately, business owners underestimate how long the process to sell a business actually takes. Once we sign our engagement agreement with a business owner, it takes about 9 to 12 months to sell. After that, we tell business owners to plan on another six-month to one year for the transition.
In an ideal world, a business owner is working an advisor 2-3 years prior to putting the business on the market. Only with planning is one able to maximize the business value or better position a company for sale on one’s terms. Planning equals greater options at time of exit.
Think about what you want – personally, financially, and professionally – and then work backwards. Begin by talking with your advisors now, so when you’re ready, you’re ready.