Even if you feel like this is the right time for you to sell your business, your business may not be ready to be sold. Before you even secure a professional business valuation like The Tenney Group’s industry-specific TransValuation, you would do well to consider whether your business shows any of these top four signs that it’s not ready to be sold.
1. Unresolved Partner Disputes
Maybe one of the reasons you’re ready to sell your portion of the business is due to tension and ongoing problems within your business partnership. The conflict at hand really needs to be cleared up before you put your business on the market, though. If you try to sell before resolution has been achieved, even your successful business can lack appeal for potential buyers, who can often sense the conflict. Hiring a professional transaction intermediary may help you come to an agreement that would allow you to move forward; otherwise, you risk selling your part of the business at a price far below market value.
2. Unfiled Tax Returns
If you were late to file last year’s taxes, you don’t need to sweat. However, a pattern of failing to file tax returns does not reflect well on your business’s stability. Understandably, the fear of seizure by the IRS will keep buyers far away from your business. Instead of listing your business, you would do well to prepare and file any missing returns and consult with a CPA or tax attorney you can trust.
3. Outdated Website
If your company currently lacks an up-to-date, functional website, buyers will treat you with the respect—and offer amounts—that go with a shoddy storefront. Your website is your virtual storefront, and it’s likely seen by many more people than will ever visit your actual operation. Those observers will judge your brand’s quality by what they see online, and no one wants to buy a company whose brand needs a complete overhaul.
4. Disorganized Office
Just like your website’s appearance reflects on your business’s quality, so does the image you create when someone does visit your facility. Potential buyers will make assumptions—valid or not—based on your housekeeping habits. If your desk is messy and your corners are providing homes for dust bunnies and spider families, they’ll likely think that your finances and operating practices are sloppy, too.
If you don’t clear up these blemishes on your business, you may sabotage your own sale and greatly reduce the price you attain from a premature sale. However, once you have your office neat and tidy, your website looking good, your tax returns filed, and any disputes settled, you can begin discussing an official business valuation with a specialist within the transportation industry. After that takes place, you’ll be more convinced of whether it really is the best time for you to put your business on the market.
David Newcombe says
Right on – “Potential buyers will make assumptions—valid or not—based on your housekeeping habits.” Isn’t that what every client does who walks in a business door? I do it all the time myself, making practically instantaneous judgment calls about a business, a store, a restaurant and its management.