Two months ago, a couple came up to me for advice. They have been in their restaurant business for the last 10 years and are getting tired. They are thinking of retirement, but also contemplating on starting a tutoring company. I guided them through the process and eventually helped them sell their business. They are traveling in Asia at the moment and thinking of their next stage in life.
This couple has been lucky to be able to sell their business in 2 months. Normally, business owners have a tough time deciding what to do and they are generally unaware of their options. It is extremely important to look at all exit strategies early on to avoid headaches in the future.
1. Merger and Acquisition
Merger and acquisition is finding a similar company that will buy your business. There are many resources out there to find buyers, like mybizon.com or yellowpages.ca. The advantage of having someone buy your company is that if you have strategic value to the acquirer, they can pay a good price for your business. The downside is that acquisitions tend to be messy and often difficult when cultures and systems clash.
2. Selling It to a Friendly Individual
If you can sell the business to someone who has skills and is interested on the operational side, you can be sure that they will keep your business alive. The advantage of selling to a friendly individual is that you know them and there will be less due diligence required. The disadvantage is that you can get so attached to being bought by someone nice that you leave too much money on the table.
3. Liquidation and Close
If you liquidate, any proceeds from the assets must be used to repay creditors first. The remainder gets divided among the shareholders. The advantage of this is that there is no negotiation involved. The downside is that your client lists, your reputation, and your business relationships might be destroyed with the liquidation.
Your exit strategy might be years away, but take some time to think about your options.
Until next time!