Running a startup is a lot of fun. Creating, problem solving, and adding value to the marketplace is a special feeling. Most likely, you became an entrepreneur because you love what you do. There are also a lot of financial perks to running your own business too.
But when is a good time to call it quits and hand over the business to someone else? That is a complicated question with even more complex answers. I’ll try to simplify it for you a bit in this article by offering you some cues that will help you identify the best time to sell your business.
If you are running a startup, one of the things you may have experienced is a lack of cash-flow; business and personal. It’s cool in the beginning because the excitement of growing a company outweighs the challenges. However, at some point, it’s time to cash in your chips.
Selling your business to increase your personal wealth or to invest those assets in other ventures is a good reason to sell the business.
Your Company is All Grown Up
Like a child that no longer needs you to walk them to the bus stop, there may be a time when your business no longer needs you to hold it’s hand. Instead, the business may need to “hang out with people it’s own age”.
Ok, enough parenting analogies. You may be a very skilled CEO but there may be people that have the resources and experience to take your business to the next level.
Sometimes your business will grow past your skill set. Many entrepreneurs have a passion for starting up a business, getting it running, creating a culture and a staff, and once it grows past that start-up, stage they sell it. This may be a hard truth for some founders or business owners but at a certain point you are no longer an asset to your company.
According to Inc.com, the $5 million or $10 million in annual revenue threshold (depending on business model) is when businesses begin to look at different models and starts to require various leaders in roles that you may not be able to fulfill. Sometimes, having the humility and foresight as a business owner to know when to take a step down is the best decision for your business.
When the stress of running your own business is simply getting too much for you, it might be time to look at selling your business. Running a business is hard, and at a certain point, many business owners get so stressed, anxiety-filled or depressed that they don’t enjoy running their business anymore.
This happens outside of business as well. Think about having a garage band that suddenly becomes famous. Many musicians and other artists find that they were happier when they made music that they loved instead of for record labels. Kurt Cobain began to recluse himself backstage instead of talking to fans when his band Nirvana became famous.
No one enjoys feeling trapped in a role, discouraged about your daily work, or finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. While there are many other financial and business-related reasons to sell your business for its benefit, this is one reason to sell that is strictly for your health.
The Price Is Right
So, sometimes your health as a business owner may be suffering, sometimes your business may have outgrown your skill set, and sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to recognize that its time to get out while you can…and sometimes, its none of those things. If you have been running a growing start-up business and it is showing all the signs of success then you might just receive a lucrative offer to buy your company.
Facebook is an excellent example of this. Originally a mall social media site, the corporation is now something of a new media giant and has bought out smaller, growing companies like Oculus Rift (virtual reality) in recent years.
If the market is there for your business and an offer presents itself it is always a good idea to at least consider it. Of course, this takes a certain degree of humility, but the experience will definitely help you in your future entrepreneurial endeavors…and the money won’t hurt either.
If your business continues to grow without issue, you probably have the field vision to understand your role as a business owner. Hopefully, you also have that same vision as you keep track of your competitors and the market your business occupies. Similar to playing the stock market, if there is a trend on the horizon or business that could make your business fall apart, it may be time to get out while you’re still ahead.
This is one of the more basic principles discussed in this article, but so often business owners get so caught up in their own affairs that they forget to keep track of market trends, and unfortunately, in a situation like this you may have a very small window to take action.
Today, retail businesses are currently this issues by-en-large, according to business.com, but the majority of new technology businesses can definitely relate. Gilt, an online clothing retailer, was in this exact situation, and as founder and entrepreneur, Kevin Ryan, told Forbes, “If your company is not getting the traction it needs to be really successful, the faster you can move on, the better for everyone involved.”
Go back and think about why you started the business. Was it to provide income for yourself, a means to send your kids to college, an expression of your creativity, or maybe it was just a fun thing to do?
Take a look at your business currently, has it done what you set out for it to do? If so, it may be time to move on. Many people have initial goals for starting a business and as time goes on, those goals change. More times than not, goals get bigger.
But sometimes you should be happy with the initial goals you set when you set the goal. Perhaps your exit strategy was to sell the business for $500,000. But as your startup has grown, your vision of 500k grew $5 million. Maybe the $5 million isn’t worth the stress, risk, and other things that come with holding on to the business for longer.
Holding on to the business too long can cause the other things that we mentioned in this article. Overstaying your welcome will make it hard to be happy. Your companies valuation is always guaranteed to increase. Holding out for more money can sometimes harm you if get too greedy.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but a list of reasons you may consider selling your business that many business owners often struggle with. If you’re yearning for new business ventures, or trying to spend more time with your family and children, but don’t have the time, I think we could all agree those would be valid reasons. It is important to understand whom you’re selling to. Assuming you want your business to succeed after you sell it, do your research into the company, look at their past acquisitions and track record and discuss their future plans.
This article was first published on StartUp Mindset.
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.