The Big Question: Do You Really Want to Sell Your Business?

It’s one thing to think about selling your business; it’s quite another to actually make the decision to do so. After all, this is a major event in your client’s life. He needs to be sure that he is committed to following through and that his decision works for the people who are important to him. As a trusted advisor, it’s up to you to ask the big question: do you really want to sell your business?

Encourage your client to be honest with himself and make the decision based on what he think is best for all parties involved. If, for example, you have a client who loves his work and really can’t imagine what he would do if he didn’t have it, now might not be the time to invest time and money preparing to sell.

That said, exit planning can be useful at any stage of a business’s lifecycle. Putting a plan in place will ensure your client is prepared if he suddenly cannot run the business due to an accident or ill health, or if a buyer approaches. Engaging in business improvement is also a benefit no matter when you do it. Your client should not, however, take his business to market unless he is fully committed to selling.

Here are some questions to use when helping clients make this decision:
  • What do your spouse, and others who might be affected, think about selling your business?
  • Are you feeling pressured to sell your business by someone else or just because you think that it’s time?
  • How do you feel when you think about your business being in other hands?
  • Do you have any fears about a new owner’s ability to continue successfully after you sell your business?
  • How do you think your employees will react if you sell your business?
  • What are your retirement plans?