What is your end game?

Abilene Reporter-News - Are you planning to sell your business to the first person that shows interested and makes an offer? Believe it or not MySpace did that very thing, but Facebook hasn’t. It’s a safe assumption that different end games call for sometimes very different strategies, and you should always be mindful of yours at each stage of your business.

Are you planning to sell your business to the first person that shows interested and makes an offer? Believe it or not MySpace did that very thing, but Facebook hasn’t. It’s a safe assumption that different end games call for sometimes very different strategies, and you should always be mindful of yours at each stage of your business.

>> Plan the end and exit your business in a style and time that’s best for you!

Successful ownership and operation of your particular business is difficult and challenging in ways that most people can never, ever know. On the other hand, if a reasonable end game can be planned and navigated to a successful ending, it is all very worthwhile.

Business owners and Entrepreneurs are knowledgeable of that calling a business broker after a demanding period is definitely the least favored way they want to exit their business. It is natural that most of us would have a preference in an ideal world to see our business reach for and attain its projected potential in the market in which it participates, especially after a very satisfying and exhilarating adventure of bringing the pieces of the business puzzle together.

Setting aside favored results, like most everything else, there is a precise time to be most successful. Do you know when that time is for you? Following are some steps to consider when developing your exit strategy or end game.

>> Create an exit strategy or end game for your business well in advance of the anticipated time you have scheduled to sell your business. At a very minimum, you should begin at least two years or more ahead of the anticipated time you have set.

>> Prepare and have your financial statements available so a prospective buyer can see a reasonable picture of the value of your business. Your records should reflect the actual assets and liabilities of your company. Avoid any confusion or uncertainties in the information that give potential buyers the idea of questionable integrity and honesty, and likely end any hope you have for a successful sale.

>> Determine the amount of time you will be available to train the new owners after the sale. For example, you may want to plan on four to six weeks as part of the sale agreement.

>> Be sure to include any obligations to the IRS when you establish an exit strategy for your business. Use a tax attorney or accountant to provide expert advice for the most beneficial structure of the transaction.

>> It’s important to give your business a marketable attraction. When you establish an exit strategy, strongly consider what you can do to make your business most attractive with the feel of success to prospective buyers.

>> Plan your end game or exit strategy for a successful sale when the profit is high. Pay close attention to both your financials and the market for any peaks and valleys. You should plan to aggressively take advantage of the critical times when income is increasing, with the clear understanding that if you wait too long, you just might fail to take a golden opportunity for substantial profit.

Russ Altman is assistant director of the Texas Tech University Small Business Development Center – Abilene, and a frequent contributor to AbileneBiz.

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