# **Is it Time to Sell Your Business? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself**
Are you contemplating selling the business you founded years ago, which has grown steadily ever since? Whether it’s for financial reasons, to launch a new venture, or because you’re ready to retire, selling your business can open up a whole new chapter in your life. However, knowing the right time to sell can be challenging, even for the most experienced entrepreneurs. The constant questioning and uncertainty can leave you feeling stuck in a loop, unsure if selling is the right choice. Don’t let yourself fall into this endless cycle, as you may find yourself in the same position years down the line. As a serial entrepreneur who has sold four businesses, I have discovered five essential questions that can help you determine if now is the right time to sell your company.
## **1. Do I Still Have Passion for My Business?**
Even if your business is profitable and growing, a lack of passion and excitement can lead to stress, anxiety, and an overall sense of unfulfillment. This can negatively impact your health and your business. If every workday feels boring and you constantly find yourself daydreaming about doing other things, it may be a sign that your heart is no longer in the company. In such cases, selling your business and focusing on endeavors that reignite your entrepreneurial fire or deciding to retire might be the best choice.
## **2. What are My Financial Goals for the Future?**
Before moving forward with selling your business, it’s crucial to determine your financial expectations and ensure your future financial security. Estimate the amount of money you would like to have saved for retirement and consider any major purchases or recurring expenses you anticipate in the future. Additionally, think about alternative ways you could invest the funds. This exercise will help you establish the minimum amount you would be willing to sell your business for. However, keep in mind that around 20 to 30% of the sale funds will be lost to taxes, legal fees, and brokerage fees before the deal concludes. Consequently, if the actual amount you would receive after deducting these fees is lower than your minimum selling price, selling your company should be off the table. On the other hand, if the funds you would receive would exceed your minimum, you can proceed to the next set of questions.
## **3. What Would I Do Next?**
Most entrepreneurs are inherently creative individuals who find fulfillment in building and creating new things. Selling a business won’t extinguish this creative drive—it will likely spark ideas for new ventures. This question is particularly pertinent if you are considering launching a business that is similar to the one you plan to sell. In such cases, it may be in your best interest to retain your current company instead of going through the time-consuming process of planning, building, and growing a brand-new business.
## **4. Can I Further Grow My Current Business?**
If you find yourself considering launching a completely different business or taking an entirely new path in life, it’s worth brainstorming ways to expand and grow your current business instead of selling it. Consider diversifying your product or service offerings or exploring new target demographics. Additionally, seek input from your employees, who may have valuable insights and ideas to propel your enterprise to new heights. Employee input can lead to revolutionary changes that you may not have previously considered. If, however, you have no intention of pursuing these growth opportunities and have a distinct new direction in mind, proceed to the next question.
## **5. Will the Buyer Uphold My Team’s Well-being and Company Vision?**
Ensuring that the buyer of your company will prioritize your team’s well-being and align with your business vision is crucial. Protecting your employees, who have contributed significantly to the success of your business, will prevent regrets about selling your business later on. I speak from personal experience—I sold my first business solely for the financial gain, and I deeply regret the way the new owner treated my team. Additionally, selling to someone who doesn’t value or align with your business’s mission can lead to changes that conflict with your vision. Confirming that the buyer will uphold the company vision safeguards your entrepreneurial legacy, credibility, and overall reputation. Consider that if your name remains associated with the business in any capacity, future negative perceptions of the company could reflect poorly on you.
## **FAQs on Making the Decision to Sell a Business**
**What is a good reason to sell a business?**
A good reason to sell your business is if you believe you have taken it as far as you know, are willing, or want to take it.
**How do you decide when to sell a business?**
In my experience, I have found that if I spend 12 months not wanting to work on a business, it’s a signal that it’s time to sell. This is regardless of whether the business is still experiencing growth. Everyone goes through periods of not feeling motivated to work on their business, but if this persists for a year, it’s time to explore other options.
**How stressful is selling a business?**
The process of listing and negotiating the sale can be a bit stressful, but as long as you have a clear understanding of what you’re willing to negotiate and what you’re unwilling to compromise on, it shouldn’t be overly difficult. The more stressful part comes after the sale, during the buy-out phase when you’re still involved in the business but no longer fully in control. This transitional period can be confusing and stressful.
In conclusion, contemplating selling your business can be an exciting prospect that opens up new opportunities. However, before proceeding with the selling process, take the time to ask yourself these five critical questions. You may discover that it’s more beneficial to keep your business and explore new avenues for growth. Doing so will help you avoid future regrets and protect your entrepreneurial legacy. Remember that selling your business is a significant decision, and thoughtful consideration is essential to ensure your long-term satisfaction.