Running a business can be exciting, scary, and sometimes boring. If you’ve lost interest or are ready to move onto something else, a sale might give you the adrenaline jolt that starting a business once offered. The truth is that most owners are not fully prepared to sell, and have highly unrealistic expectations. The Ext Planning Institute’s State of Owner Readiness Survey in 2013 revealed that the majority of owners (76 percent) hoped to transition in the next decade. Nearly half (48 percent) said they would like to move on in the next 5 years. So why do 70 percent of businesses put on the market never sell?
The simple answer is that a transition requires thoughtful, knowledgeable planning. The skills that helped an owner thrive in business may actually undermine their ability to sell. They might be the face and lifeblood of their business, but buyers don’t want an owner-dependent company. They might know how to manage their team, but have they established a team that can work under new leadership?
The Owner Readiness Survey also found that 75 percent of owners were unfamiliar with all possible options for exiting their business. Chances are, you’re among them.
A mere 30 percent of family businesses persist into the second generation, with just 12 percent surviving to the third. Only 3 percent truly last for generations, persisting to the fourth generation and beyond.
If you’re hoping to leave a legacy to your kids, to build something meaningful for your family, the time to plan is now, whether you’re just starting your business or one of the many owners who think an exit might be on the horizon. Ultimately, sage advice from exit planner is going to be the thing that separates the wheat from the chaff.
Some other things to consider as you weigh your exit options include: