Running your own business can be satisfying, but there comes a time when it is no longer the right situation for you. In fact, your goal should be to sell your business in my opinion. Selling a business is not quite the same as selling a house as there are far more complexities that need to be dealt with, like training a new owner, helping the employees get through it, tax considerations, etc.
Still, selling a business need not be a major headache, as long as you take some important steps beforehand. Here are 3 of them:
1. Move Deliberately. If you want to get out of your business, you don’t want to wait until the last minute. If you do, there will almost certainly be complications. It is important to plan the move out ahead of time and move deliberately. Taking careful steps over a longer period of time will ensure that you are ready to deal with setbacks that occur along the way.
2. Keep it Confidential. The last thing you want to do is alarm your employees by tipping them off that you are selling. This may affect performance and in general create turmoil in the company. It is best to keep things quiet until a sale is agreed to.
3. Market Effectively. Marketing is another important aspect of the sales process. You not only need to put the word out in the right publications and to the right people, but you also need to show them the true value of your business in your marketing package. This will help you gain top dollar on the sale.
So the question many ask is how do I market effectively AND remain confidential? The simple answer is work with a reputable business broker. Business brokers know how to market a business – that’s what they do for a profession. Furthermore, they know how to put the word out to the right people and do it quietly. If you want to get a good price and have a smooth transaction, then the assistance of a good business broker can be invaluable.
Do you track all of the time you spend on each project? What about your internal projects? Do you ever feel like your days get away from you and aren’t getting enough done? If you aren’t tracking all of your time in your work day, there is a good chance that some time is not being used as efficiently as you could. You can use simple tracking methods such as Microsoft Word or Excel, but you may find that the additional admin time of tallying those numbers may still be a burden.
I recently selected Clicktime as the online time management tool for my Internet Marketing company. We were discussing billing and wanted to make sure we were tracking our time as efficiently as possible, to make sure that we are not under billing for our work. Prior to this, we used Excel to track by project and given that we don’t have dozens of projects going on simultaneously, this worked ok. I decided, however, to implement a system of logging every hour and assigning it to a specific task and this is allowing me to keep better track of my time, but also to learn a few things about me and my business. In the end, it will result in being more profitable and that is always exciting.
Here are the ways that Clicktime is helping me:
- To realize when I have not used my work time effectively. Let’s face it; Facebook can be a great tool for business, but is can be a distraction. So can cleaning out your email box. Other seemingly important things like doctor appointments, or helping out a friend or family can also rob you of valuable work time. As a small business owner, you owe it to yourself and your family to be the best employee you can be… for YOUR company and this means managing your time well. If I have worked 12 hours and only allocated 8, I can’t blame anyone but me. The key is to make sure that my time is allocated to paying clients, and make sure to leave admin tasks and chores for after hours.
- To realize where I need to outsource. There are some tasks that take time that a business owner simply should not be involved in. These are typically the ones that you don’t enjoy, and that drag out and kill your productivity. Outsourcing can help you focus on your gifts and strengths and that typically leads to a more profitable (and happy) business owner.
- To learn where I am under billing. Well, it might not go over so well if I start to just raise our fees for a client, but it does allow me to look at what we have agreed to and at least let the client know when we are providing more value than they are paying for. It does help set up ensure that we set realistic rates for future client engagements.
If you are looking to get more out of your workday, I strongly suggest starting with looking at how you are spending your time. And if you want to check out Clicktime, they do offer a free 30 day trial. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.