For small business owners, the new year typically brings new focus, and an emphasis on goal-setting. One of the most recent – and beneficial – trends we’ve seen? Establishing a word of the year to focus your goals, activities, and general ethos for the year ahead.
And if you’re one of the more than 10,000 small business owners looking to sell your business in 2019, here are a few "word of the year" suggestions to keep you both motivated and on track as you prep to sell.
2018 was the third year in a row that a record number of small businesses changed hands, which is great news if you are preparing for the sale of your business. One of the most important things for you to be focused on now? Maximizing your business’s value. There are several things you can do that will have an almost immediate effect on your business value, thus making it more attractive to buyers, including making sure your books are in order and lessening the dependence on yourself for the business and team to be successful.
Diversification of your advisory team, employees, and customers not only helps maximize your business’s value, but also ensures a smoother transition as you exit the business. Focus your efforts on ensuring that you have the right team of experts supporting you (including, but not limited to an attorney, wealth manager, and business broker), and a strong team of employees structured to promote increased transparency into business operations. And don’t forget to take a look at your mix of customers to ensure that no single customer makes up more than 30 percent of your business, which can be a turn-off for buyers.
You’ve likely spent years (or decades!) building a successful business, and that success is most likely due in part to hiring and retaining stellar employees. Prospective buyers want the confidence to know that the business can succeed without the owner, meaning it’s a good time to empower existing employees with knowledge about business operations, which in turn will allow them to demonstrate their value to a new owner. Be focused in your efforts this year to educate your team on areas of the business they may not have had exposure to in the past, allowing them to play a key role in business continuity.
Part of the sale of your business will include transition support and some degree of knowledge transfer to the new owner. By documenting and organizing your systems and bookkeeping - and during that process looking for every opportunity to simplify and streamline - you’ll increase the appeal and lessen the stress for a prospective owner looking to take over. Software, apps and other technologies can be beneficial here as well and offer a great way to transition information (just don’t forget to document the associated accounts and passwords!).
Selling a business is a big undertaking, but by focusing your efforts this year on the most impactful ways to make your business attractive to buyers in 2019, you’ll be paving the way for stress-free success for years to come.