Selling your business: 4 ways to make a swift exit

Selling a business can take a long time - years in some cases - but there are situations where this sort of lengthy sales process isn't possible. There are many ways in which you can make a rapid exit from your business, but it's important to consider all your options to ensure you don't make the wrong choice.

Below we've discussed some of the top 'fast exit' methods of leaving your business to give you an insight into your options should you decide you're no longer able to continue.

Contact potential buyers

If you're an established business owner with a network of contacts (both locally and within your industry in general) it could be helpful to get in touch with an individuals that may be interested in purchasing your business. Being proactive could save you a great deal of time and could even reduce the amount of money you spend on advertising costs.

Of course, reaching out to possible buyers can give competitors with no intention of buying inside knowledge - if they know you're going to sell up they could attempt to capitalise in some way. One safe way of dealing with this is to put confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in place to ensure your sale stays secret for as long as you need it to.

Sell to someone close to you

If you have to make a fast (and potentially unwanted) exit from your business there's probably no better way to do it than to sell to someone already close to your company. Whether a family member, friend or employee, those close to you are likely to already be emotionally invested in the business and could prove to be the perfect new owner.

If you choose to sell to employees, consider going through the process of creating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which offer tax benefits and provide flexibility in terms of your future involvement with the business.

Create an incentivised sale

If you're looking to sell up quickly you could consider providing new owners with incentives to 'sweeten the deal'. Naturally, the more attractive the business the more likely it is that you'll receive offers from qualified and serious buyers, particularly in a difficult market.

Common incentives include lower asking prices, training deals and seller financing, which could include giving them additional assets as part of the deal.

Add a partner

Should you wish to make a quick exit but don't feel a fast sale is the right choice for you, consider adding a business partner who could take care of the day-to-day operations on your behalf while you focus your energy and time elsewhere.

If you feel your business is growing well you could even look for a business partner who has a complimentary skill set that could boost your growth potential. Of course, it's important that you clearly define roles so you both know where you stand, and ensure they're happy to take on any of the tasks you're no longer willing to deal with.