According to a WSJ article, more business owners are delaying retirement because they can’t sell their companies for what they need to comfortably retire. I ask you, when did that become the valuation criteria?
I say over and over (and perhaps it is a good thing that I am brown skinned and have a summer tan so you can’t see the blue in my face!), you MUST create value that others appreciate in order to sell your business for a good price. How does one create value, you ask. By installing some professional management (i.e., a CEO or COO and CFO or Controller and a VP of Sales) for starters. If you have all the relationships and run the company without help at the high levels, I am just buying a job with the risk of you (the seller) becoming my greatest competitor!!
If you transfer the relationships to the head of sales, the risk drops. Or if your customers are locked up under 3-5 year contracts. Many of the owners in this article were working 12 – 16 hour days and/or hadn’t taken a vacation in years. Come on now. With that description, would you want to buy the company? If you’ve run it for 15-20 years and that’s where you are, what makes you think someone else can come in and do better? This is why the companies are not selling. Make the fundamentals more attractive and begin revamping your business into a salable asset, and it will sell. It may take a few years to shift it all, but it will be well worth it.