When do you decide to sell your business? I think that you have to look at a number of factors, health, age, succession issues, business cycle, other opportunities, boredom of doing the same thing day after day, cashing out, retirement. Which one of these comes first – I think that this is a personal matter. There is no right or wrong. Only you as the owner can decide when the timing is right. If your business is declining and you do not know how to fix it or if the business is growing and you cannot take the business to the next step, these are all parts of the life cycle of your business.
I believe that the owner needs to consider all of the above issues and only once he/she has taken all into consideration, then make a decision. All too often, entrepreneurs want to find out how much is their business worth. Then they list the company for sale with no intention of selling it. After they do this 2 or 3 times, the investors know that you are not serious. When the time comes to really sell the business, you may not have anyone interested because they know that they can spend a lot of time looking at your company to find out that you had no intention of selling it.
Many entrepreneurs are emotionally attached to their business and do not know when to let it go. Even if they make the decision to sell, they still do not want to let go. It is difficult but once you have made your decision, do not look back. Make every effort to close the deal and think of this as a business transaction and keep emotions out of the equation. The investor will change your business and you cannot prevent them from changing it. It is hard because you believe that you have grown the business but the next person is buying the business to improve it, bring new ideas and not to carry on what you have been doing. These are hard to accept but this will happen in every business which is sold.