When your business dream becomes a drudge

Remember those early days when you dreamed up your business? Starting from scratch, scribbling in a notebook at the kitchen table and making your very first sale … you ran more on adrenaline than revenue.

Now, though, you spend your time finding ways to avoid meetings, answering emails or even going to the office. You’re fed up with the ‘everydayness’ and battling a dull sense of ennui (go on – have a quick browse for more smart French words … your inbox can wait, right?)

You know you need to snap out of it but your mojo’s gone South. “What’s WRONG with me?”, you groan.

It might be ‘burnout’. But if you’ve taken a break, introduced new ideas, fiddled with your branding and you’re STILL surfing the internet then you must ask:

“Am I bored?”

WHEN ‘PLAN A’ BECOMES ‘PLAN B’

The phrase ‘I’m bored’ barely registers with most business owners. Boredom is not a thing they know much about. Hence, many dodge it for too long – to the detriment of the company. If business is good, it may not be the one that needs a big change.

Could it be you?

Is it time to sell and move on to a new project or even retirement?

Ask yourself “why” your business is no longer inspiring you and write down the answers that come to you. It’s important to prepare as much as possible for a lifestyle change; it can destabilise you emotionally for longer than you think.

It’s just as well that the whole process will take at least a year to be completed properly.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING YOUR BUSINESS SALE

It’s not surprising that a high number of sellers back out of the sales process about halfway through it. The angst that often accompanies it is enough to challenge the most determined of decision makers.

From logical reasoning (“The money’s too good – how am I going to replace that?”) to irrational ego trips (“Nobody’s going to respect my authority anymore!”), the range of thoughts and feelings you are likely to face during your year of sale preparation is a rollercoaster ride.

That’s why you shouldn’t think of trying to accomplish the sale without the help of experts in business sales. At the very least, you must come out of the transaction with your post-sale hopes and dreams met, financially speaking.

To ensure that, you must learn to see your business through ‘buyers’ eyes’, rather than your own – and you will need supportive, expert help to draw up a sensible ‘Exit Map’.

YOUR EXIT MAP

This should cover a timespan of at least one year. Eighteen months is preferable, really. You might be used to taking massive action once you’ve made a decision, but this is one occasion on which you must slow down, consider your steps carefully and to be accountable to experts.

Among other things, they should help you to:

1)   IDENTIFY YOUR OBSTACLES

What are the aspects of your business that need to be improved to make it more appealing to a buyer? What are the market conditions and where are the threats? Where can money be saved and systems improved?

2)   FIND YOUR HIDDEN ASSETS

You have a good idea of what your business is worth … but just you wait till the sales experts get involved. They might find all sorts of hidden gems that you hadn’t realised could improve the value of your company. The truth is, you would neither know where to look for them nor be compelled to do so unless you started the sales process.

3)   GET ON TOP OF YOUR TAX

You’re not the only one who wants a good profit from the sale of your business. There’s nothing more irksome than watching the HMRC walk off with the cream – so spend time with your accountants ahead of the Big Day streamlining your tax liabilities.

4)   BE TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR TEAM

Just because you’ve made up your mind that you want to sell your business doesn’t mean that everybody else can read your thoughts.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that there’s plenty of time to tell them. Firstly, a year passes very quickly, especially when you’re busy making plans to sell. Secondly, they have a right to know and a chance to make their own plans accordingly.

Your leaving will affect every person in your team. Once you’ve identified the strongest person for each role, you need to wean them into their new responsibilities gradually so that the handover is as seamless and as smooth as possible.

 

5)   BE TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS

There’s little point in keeping your plans from those with whom you trade. Your prospective buyer expects an accurate forecast and there’s no way you can provide one if you think that your leaving might impact revenue and costs after handover.

Be transparent from as early as you can prior to the sale and let them see how the key players in your team are ready to take over the reins. You may lose a couple of contracts, but open communication is the best policy and by far the most effective prevention from collateral damage.

6)   PLAN A GENTLE EXIT, NOT A DRAMATIC ONE

The morning after Sales Day, you’re quite likely to find yourself back at work. It’s a good idea to exit gradually after the big day to let the shock of the changes settle and to be on hand to smooth out any small glitches.

This is a time when you may feel emotionally wobbly. It is a huge change for you, too, remember. Make the most of having your team around you and don’t shock your system into adopting a new lifestyle: ease into it, take your time – and your mojo will finally come home to roost.

Find out how you can start to prepare your business for sale without having to make any premature decisions by talking to one of the team at EvolutionCBS – 0118 959 8224 or email us at info@evolutioncbs.co.uk.

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