#SWAAYthenarrative
BETA
Close

When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Business?

Business

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.

Liquidity

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.

Love Lost

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.

Dangers Ahead

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.”

Mission Completed

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.

Our newsletter that womansplains the week
6 Min Read
Lifestyle

Working Moms Open Up About Their Greatest Struggles

Motherhood, no matter how you slice or dice it, is never easy. Running after small children, feeding them, tending to their physical and emotional wounds, and just taking the time to shower them with love— that's a lifetime of internal resources. Now add a job on top of all of that? Geez. We spoke to 14 working mothers to get an open, honest look at the biggest day-to-day challenges they face, because despite what Instagram portrays, it's not all dresses on swingsets, heels, and flawless makeup.


1. “Motherhood in general is hard," shares Rachel Costello. “It's a complete upheaval of life as you once knew it. I have a 22-month-old due any minute and a baby. The hardest part is being pregnant with a toddler — chasing, wrangling, etc., all while tired, nauseous, and achey. Then the guilt sets in. The emotional roller coaster punctuated by hormones when you look at your baby, the first born, knowing that their life is about to be changed."

2. “I'm a work-from-home mom," shares Jene Luciano of TheGetItMom.com. “I have two children and two stepchildren. The hardest part about parenting for me is being the best mom I can be to someone else's children."

3. “I joined the Air Force at 18 and had my first child at 20," tells female power house Robyn Schenker Ruffo. “I had my second baby at 23. Working everyday, pumping at work and breastfeeding at lunch time at the base, home day care was rough. Being away from my babies during the day took a toll on me— especially the single mom days when they were toddlers. I had a great support system of friends and military camaraderie. The worst was being deployed when they were 6 months old, yes both, and I was gone for 90 days. Not seeing them every night was so depressing."

4. “Physically, the hardest part of the parenting experience (and so far, I'm only six months in with twins) was adjusting to the lack of sleep in the very beginning," shares Lauren Carasso. “Emotionally, the hardest part is going to work everyday with anxiety that I'm going to miss one of the twins' firsts or other milestones. I know they are in good care but potentially missing those special moments weighs heavy on my heart when I walk out the door each morning," she continues.

5. “The hardest part of being a parent is social media, actually," says Marina Levin. “Shutting out the judgmental sanctimommy noise and just doing what works best for you and your family in a given moment."

6. “Trying to raise a healthy, happy, confident and self-respecting girl, when I'm not a consistent example of those qualities is the hardest for me," explains Adrienne Wright. “Before motherhood I was a pretty secure woman, and I thought passing that onto my daughter would be a piece of cake. But in the age of social media where women are constantly ripping each other to shreds for the way they raise their kids, it's nearly impossible to feel confident all of the time. Nursing vs. formula, working vs. stay at home, vax vs. anti-vax, to circumcise vs. not, nanny vs. daycare— the list goes on and on. We're all doing the best we can with the resources we have. We should empower each other to feel confident in the decisions we make for our families."

7. “The hardest part is the sense of responsibility and worrying that comes along with it," says Orly Kagan. “Am I feeding my kids properly? Are they getting too much screen time? Are they getting enough attention and love? Are they developing as they should be? It goes on and on and on."

8. “For me, by far the hardest part of motherhood has been managing my own guilt. As many triumphant moments as there may be, the moments when I feel like I did badly or could have done better always stick out," confesses Julie Burke.

9. “Balancing work and doing all the mom things and all the home things and all the husband things are not the hardest part of motherhood (for me, anyway)," shares Zlata Faerman. “The hardest part of motherhood is trying to figure out just how to deal with the amount of love I have for my son. It can be super overwhelming and I'm either alone in this sentiment, or not enough moms talk about it."

10. “The hardest part for me is giving things up," shares Stacey Feintuch. “I have two boys, an almost 3-year-old and almost 7-year-old. I have to miss my older one's sports so I can watch the little guy while he naps or watch him at home since he will just run on the field. I hate that other parents can go to games and I can't. I also really miss going out to dinner. My older one can eat out but we rarely eat out since my younger one is a runner!"

11. “I think if I'm going to be completely real, the hardest part to date has been realIzing that I chose this life," shares Lora Jackle, a now married but formerly single mom to a special needs child. “I chose to foster and then adopt special needs, as opposed to many parents who find out about the special needs after their child is born. It's still okay to grieve it sometimes. It's still okay to hate it sometimes and 'escape' to work."

12. “I'm a work-at-home mother doing proofreading and teaching 10-20 hours a week. The hardest part for me is not yelling. I took the 30-Day No Yelling Challenge and kept having to restart. I love my kids, don't get me wrong," says Michelle Sydney, exemplifying the difficulty of balancing work with family.

13. “I'm a full-time working mom of a 2.5-year-old," shares Anna Spiewak. “I bring home equal pay, keep the apartment clean and take care of dinner. Still my male partner gets all the praise for being a good dad and basically sticking around. It's mainly from his side of the family, of course. What I do is taken for granted, even though I'm the one who still changes the diapers, bathes her and wakes up in the middle of the night on a work night when she cries. I wish all moms got credit for staying on top of things."

14. “I am a stay-at-home-mother and currently working full-time from home on my start-up clothing brand, Kindred Bravely," says Deeanne Akerson, founder of Kindred Bravely, a fashion line devoted to nursing, working mothers. “The hardest part of my parenting experience is the constant feeling of never doing quite enough. There is always more to do, meals to make, laundry to fold, kids that want my full attention, errands to run, or work in my business. And since there really always are more things to do it's easy to feel like you're failing on nearly every aspect of life!"

This piece was originally published July 18, 2018.