How to Build a Business You Can Sell Someday
Written by Gerri Detweiler
All your focus has been on launching and growing your window cleaning business. But have you given thought to what you’ll do with it down the road? If selling your business and enjoying the fruits of your labor sounds appealing, it’s never too soon to start thinking and planning for it.
Even if you don’t foresee selling for 10 years or more, the actions you take and habits you create now will not only make your company a more appealing investment down the road, but it will also help you get top dollar when you are ready to sell.
1. Be Organized
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But many business owners are simply scrambling to stay on top of the day-to-day, and writing down processes or keeping documents filed correctly aren’t a priority. But how could someone take over your business if they can’t even figure out how to contact your customers or how you manage your social media? Document processes and keep copious records now, and handing over the keys down the road will be easier.
2. Establish Good Financial Habits
Part of being organized is diligently managing your financial records.
Consider how your window washing business would look to an outsider: neat, organized, and easy to understand, or a jumbled mess of crumpled paper receipts that no one can decipher?
Enter every job into your accounting software. Scan receipts and save the files for tax season. Make a point to regularly review your finances so you know where you stand.
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3. Establish Solid Business Credit
It’s good business advice in general, but establishing your business credit now can help you sell later. Let’s say you want to sell your business in 10 years. If you were to grow your business beyond you being the only employee, you might need more funds. To get them, you might need to take out a business loan.
To get a loan, you need good credit. Personal credit is just one factor; many lenders also look at your business credit scores. You don’t have these by default; you need to take actions that help you build your credit, like using a business credit card and paying it off on time.
4. Make Yourself Dispensable
If you’ve been a one-person show since the start, it might be hard to imagine how you can remove yourself from the equation. But if you plan to sell, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do. Hire employees. Train them to be as effective as you are at your job. Hire a manager and teach her how to run the show and manage staff.
Slowly step away from being the linchpin of the business so that when you do sell, you can metaphorically box up the business and walk off into the sunset.
Selling your business may be the pinnacle of your small business journey, so plan ahead to make sure your exit is a lucrative and easy one.
About the Author:
Gerri's been guiding individuals through the confusing world of finance and credit for 20+ years. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including her most recent, Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. Today, Gerri serves as the Education Director for Nav, an online platform that matches small business owners to their best financing options and gives free access to personal and business credit scores.