When is the best time to sell your business?

Every business owner at some point needs to be prepared to move on. Whether prompted by retirement, relocation, health issues, burnout or changing markets, there is a life cycle to every business. A business broker can help you decide if selling your business is the best exit strategy for you, and when the right time to sell could be. Even if you believe that time is fairly distant in the future, it is never too early to start learning and preparing.

All too many business owners wait too long to sell or put a succession plan in place. Burnout can create apathy that leads to decreased sales and profits, and a business is easier to sell and worth more while sales and profits are solid. Waiting a few years while you turn things around could yield a higher selling price, but not if the business loses value while you wait. Often decreases in sales and profits are completely out of the owner’s control. Health problems, family issues, industry downturns and a new competitive mix can change everything. Many people would have liked to sell in 2009 or shortly after but had to work as many as five additional years to recover value lost during the recession.

And when the valuation of a business doesn’t match the owner’s expectations, they may be tempted to hang on too long, which also means missing out on enjoying many of the experiences that they worked so hard for after a sale. Investment specialists can tell you how many years you will be able to afford to live at reduced income after a sale. Waiting too long can not only decrease the time you enjoy in retirement, but also the quality of how you can live. Your business broker can advise you as to what it would take and how long it would take to change the value of your company.

While some industries are performing better than others, today’s business acquisition market is very strong. If you anticipate selling in the next five years or so, you should begin to research the possibilities soon. Buyers are confident, and there are more buyers than there are good businesses for sale right now. With recovering retirement accounts and home values, buyers are in an advantageous position to purchase. Banks are lending money to qualified deals. Selling prices based on multiples of sales and profits are up in many categories. Ask a business broker if your business and life situation make this a good time to take advantage of these trends and consider selling your business.

JEFF BACH is a leading broker at the SAINT LOUIS GROUP, which for over 40 years has been by far the most successful business broker organization in this area. With access to their network of over 7,000 qualified buyers, Jeff offers the best opportunity to help you successfully sell your business. He only gets paid when you sell your business. Valuations are free and are the starting point to knowing when it is the right time to sell your business. Jeff can also help qualified buyers find and buy a business that meets their goals. You can contact Jeff for a free, confidential, no-obligation discussion about selling your business or buying a business at 314-941-8530, or by email at jeffbach@saintlouisgroup.com.