When is the right time to sell your business?

Whether you've built your firm up from scratch or transformed an ailing company founded by someone else, choosing the right time to sell your business is important to ensure you receive the right price.

The decision you make will depend on a number of factors, and the timing may be dictated for you to a certain extent, but even in the midst of issues you should still consider all your options to establish whether you may receive more money if you weather the storm.

We've put together a list of possible situations below, along with examples of when you should consider selling should they apply to you.

Profits are increasing

If your business is growing and your profits are increasing, it's likely that you'll receive a good price for your company. However, selling at this stage will mean you could lose out on your company's long-term success after putting in all the hard work. If you're considering a sale make sure you weigh up the possibility of losing out on your company's peak performance against a potentially reduced sale price if you decide to remain in control until it's no longer as lucrative.

Experiencing sustained performance

If you're ready to move on, a period of proven sustained performance could be the perfect opportunity. However, the sale process is lengthy it's vital that you continue investing time, effort and money in your business to ensure this performance continues while potential buyers assess your situation.

Profits are declining

While potentially the most tempting time for a sale, the decline of profits will almost guarantee a reduced sale price. If you're unable to continue, you should consider ways to boost the appeal of your business, such as highlighting valuable assets or a strong customer base. However, if you're in a position to hold on it could be beneficial to work hard at boosting profits before you put your company on the market.

No longer want to run a business

If you've decided running a business is no longer for you, you could be in the perfect position to make a positive sale. With the help of experts such as appraisers and accountants, establish how much your business is worth and whether there is anywhere you can add value. Once this process is complete, simply list your business and wait for the right offer to be made.

You don't feel skilled enough to continue

If you're keen to keep your business but feel you lack the skills to take it where it should (or could) go, you may feel it's time to move on. Of course, if you're unwilling to sell you may be able to solve the problem by taking relevant courses or hiring a skilled manager. However, if you feel you'd rather relinquish the business to someone more suitable, you could be in a good position to achieve a high price. Highlighting the fact that your business offers the opportunity for growth in the right hands will ensure it is attractive to those wanting a company with potential, and could mean a profit for you if you're willing to be patient.

Your personal circumstances have changed

Unfortunately, personal circumstances can dictate when a sale is required, which could be selling at an inconvenient time. If you're unable to run the business but don't need an immediate sale, consider hiring an experienced manager to boost your profits and make your company more appealing to potential buyers. However, if you're in need of a quick sale, you should consider working with experts such as accountants and appraisers to ensure you highlight all the positive aspects of your company and achieve the best possible sales price.