Exit Strategy: Preparing To Sell A Business

If you have begun to think about retirement, maybe it is also time to consider what to do with your business. Do you have an exit plan? Have you prepared a strategy that will cover all contingencies when you sell the business? Even if you have not thought about retirement, it never hurts to think ahead. You need to be prepared when the time comes to finally say good-bye to your company in Minnesota.

Plan In Advance

Before you make the decision to retire, you need to make certain you have a solid exit plan. You need to be thorough in all aspects or it may fail to deliver what you want and/or need. What is important is that you start assembling this plan at least five years before you decide to announce your retirement. Ten years is better.

Why so long a lead-time? You need to make certain that everything is in order. This takes time. It may require all your energy to run your business, but you can combine this with a program designed to let you walk away from your business feeling content. Furthermore, such an exit strategy can actually help position your business better.

Does Your Business Stand Out?

While you work hard at keeping your business running smoothly, you need to look specifically at what makes it tick. Why is it special? What will attract potential buyers? What does it offer that a comparable business does not? If you do not have the answers now, maybe your business is not heading in the right direction. Perhaps, you need to find something that will make it stand out now and in the future.

What about Your Assets?

This is always an area of concern for potential buyers. Besides what you do or make, you need to have a concrete and viable list of what you have. Try to look at your business through the eyes of a competitor or potential buyer. Objectively look at your assets including:

  • Equipment
  • Inventory
  • Real Estate
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Cash
  • Products
  • Branding
  • Customer Base
  • Financial or Contractual Obligations
  • Personnel and Staff

Anyone getting ready to sell a business needs to examine seriously these aspects.

Plans to Sell a Business

In Minnesota, if you are planning to exit your business, you must come up with a viable exit plan far in advance of the actual date. Such an approach requires understanding your business completely. Include both tangible and intangible items in the “inventory” of your business. You need to understand not only the basic financial attractions of your business but also the qualities that will entice the right buyer when the time comes. This will make it easier to sell a business than if you proceed without a plan in place.

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