There are two personal questions that I am frequently asked. The first is "Why did you sell your business?" The second is usually a variation on the theme of "How difficult was it to sell?"
The answer to the first question can be quite long, as with any major decision, it was influenced by many factors, but the short answer is that Mary and I decided that we'd had enough of the pressures of running a business and decided to change to a lifestyle that involved shorter working hours.
The answer to the second question is that we prepared the business for sale over a period of about two and a half years, and when it came down to it sold far more quickly than we had anticipated. As with any sales process, you need luck, but there's an old saying that "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity".
In preparing the business for sale I had in mind the kind of person that I would like to take it on. This is contrary to advice in "how to do it" books and the like but there were two personal factors that were important to me. The first was a responsibility to my staff to bring in an employer who would maintain their prosperity. The second was simply that I had started the business from scratch, and wanted to pass it on to someone who would develop it. Never the less, with this in mind I went about maximising profit, whilst investing in the condition of the business and premises.
The 'received wisdom' at the time was that selling would take two to three years from the time we put the business on the market. We sold in ten months, and at a price that was toward the upper end of the valuation we had been given.
If you would like my confidential assistance in preparing your business for sale, please contact me on 07971 820 990 or [email protected]