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How To Know If It's Time To Sell Your Small Business

There comes a time in the lifespan of many small businesses when you must think about the next steps. Do you continue investing your time and money, do you walk away or do you try to sell? If you've got massive investors knocking down your door, then the decision may be an easy one. However, what do you do when you're running out of money and your enthusiasm for your small business is waning? There are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help you make that big decision. Is it time to sell your small business or not? Take a look at the following questions, and make that decision for yourself.

Am I still excited?

Small businesses are run primarily on hope and excitement. If your passion for your business is not what it used to be, then you might want to consider putting your company up for sale. If you're enthusiasm is gone and your funders are starting to dry up, then it is probably time to reevaluate your situation. You've already invested so much of your time, money and soul into your business, but if it's not bringing you the joy it once did, it may be time to pursue your next passion.

How is my longevity?

The basic rule of business is you must be able to attract and satisfy new customers for less than the cost of doing business. Seems simple enough, but the truth is that it is much harder than many people realize. Start with your business plan. Is it viable? Do you have what you need to keep going for years to come? Is your income stream something that will dry up eventually or is it something that can continue to be honed and adjusted as your business grows? If you're already looking at the end of the sidewalk, then you might have an answer for yourself.

Do I have support?

A successful business is all about the people. Take a look at your staff and be honest with yourself. Do you have the right people in the right jobs with the right training and the right support? If the answer to any of those is no, then ask yourself if you can fix it. If the answer is still no, then it might be time to consider a sale. The other half of your support comes from your family. You'll want to be honest with yourself as to how much time and money you can realistically invest in your growing business.

Is my business worth buying?

This is the other big one. You simply can't sell your business if no one would want to buy it. If you're seriously considering a sale, then you can ask to set up a meeting with your competitors or any large business you think might be interested in what you've created. Be sure to include a non-disclosure agreement as you begin these talks, but then start the negotiations and see what happens. If this sale makes sense for you and for the potential buyer, then it's a great option and a fairly obvious decision.

This article was written by Deborah Flomberg for CBS Small Business Pulse

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