You own a business. Perhaps you founded it. Perhaps your grandfather and great-aunt did. Regardless of origin, the business has been a driving force in your life for decades.
At some point, your business became a “company.” By that I mean your business employs lots of people, has considerable revenue, and, by all measures, has achieved success. It’s not a fledgling startup finding its way. It’s not a distressed organization that has lost its way. It’s not a portfolio of real estate holdings, or a pile of assets. It’s a community of people you brought together to accomplish difficult, valuable things on behalf of your customers.
At the same time, your business is not a “corporation.” The business is privately owned by you, or a handful of people, not publicly traded. If you have a board of directors, it’s likely made up of the company’s leaders. You don’t have an acquisitions team. Your business is operating in your area of expertise, generating roughly $1 million to $15 million in annual pre-tax net profits.
While you’ve kept your head down in the business, time has passed. Perhaps your spouse is telling you it’s time to step back professionally and travel more. Perhaps the company has scaled to a size you feel ill-suited to lead. Perhaps your doctor is telling you it’s time to slow down. Perhaps you merely feel ready to pass the torch.
Whatever the reason, you’re beginning to consider if, how, and when to sell. And whether to sell all or only a part of your company.
This book is a reference guide to your unanswered questions about the messy marketplace of imperfect buyers. It’s about the realities of selling your company. It’s about the emotional peaks and valleys, the sleepless nights, and the hurdles you have to overcome.
There are no quick tricks or silver bullets within these pages. It won’t replace hiring competent advisors. It won’t help you “sell for a crazy price.”
The objectives of this book are to shine light on unfamiliar aspects of selling, help you avoid common pitfalls, and provide a fuller picture of the circumstances, process, and people involved in private company transactions.