Deciding to sell your small business is no small decision. Whether you're moving on to a new opportunity, shifting your professional focus, or just handing over the reins to an owner with fresh enthusiasm, it's always bittersweet to let go of something that you undoubtedly poured yourself into. Here are some things you can do to ease the transition and leave on a positive note:
Clean up the books: Make sure your financial picture and records are in the best possible order before you transfer ownership of your business. The new owners deserve to be crystal clear on exactly where the business stands financially, and have the records they need to carry on the next phase of the business.
Get an appraisal: You won't make a great sale if you don't have an accurate idea of what your business is really worth. For the best outcome, get a quality valuation from a reputable company before starting the process of selling.
Show your potential: Just like when you market a home, your business doesn't need to be in perfect condition in order to sell but it should be in good shape and show potential for a positive future. Make sure the business itself is in good shape, and consider putting together a growth plan to show prospective buyers how they might take it to the next level.
Prepare your employees: The new owner of your business may decide to keep your same employees, let go of some, or shift roles and responsibilities within the company. Be upfront with your employees about what you know and don't know, and do what you can to help them prepare for the transition.
Find shadow opportunities: Give the new owner a chance to come in and shadow both you and your employees and learn as much as they can about day to day operations. This will help them to be more prepared when they step into your role, and it will also help any staff members who are sticking around to get more comfortable with them.
Leave instructions: Most established businesses will already have employee manuals and written policies and procedures. But there are always some things that a great owner just has in their head. Take the time to write out any important information, tips, processes or anything else that might set your new owner up for success.
Offer support: Leave the door open for at least a few months for the new ownership to ask questions, clarifications or advice.
Hire a lawyer: Use a professional to help you navigate the complex legal process of handing over your business.
Let go: Although new people will be taking over a company that you built, the moment you hand over the reins, it starts to become something new. If you still plan to be a patron or check in on your old business from time to time, keep your opinions to yourself and let the new ownership make their own mistakes.
For any business insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.