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Do self-surgery? Self-sell Your Business?

By Michael Stier

Should I Sell My Business Without an Advisor? Should you remove your appendix DIY, without a surgeon? You could. But it will likely be an unnecessarily painful process and the outcome sub-optimal. Allow me to create a useful mental image…. using some of the top self-surgery movie scenes. Recall Tom Hanks doing his own dental surgery in The Castaway. Matt Daman, in The Martian, removing shrapnel from and stapling his abdomen. Similarly by Keanu in John Wick. Denzel repairing his slashed leg in The Equalizer. If these don’t make the point, watch Arnold in The Terminator cut open his forearm then remove his left eye. [Point made?]

Optimizing the sale of your company should not be a DIY undertaking. A business sale is complicated, not a do-it-yourself activity. Business owners can and often do a lot themselves, I certainly did. But this is not the time to learn by trial and error – you often only get one shot. And the downside to achieving your goals – both personal and for your business – is too great.

The riskiest thing you can do: The most complex transaction you will ever likely engage in is the sale of your business. Selling your company by yourself, your life’s work, is just too risky. This is true from a legal perspective and a financial perspective. And when most of your net worth is tied up in the company, you cannot afford big mistakes as you work on exit planning.

Engaging a professional team to help you sell will maximize the sale price AND net proceeds, optimize terms, develop a succession/ transition plan, prepare you (and your family) for the personal adjustment, guide you through the options and details of estate & retirement planning, and minimize the risks inherent in taking such a complex transaction through completion. That’s just some of the highlights. Exit planning is very much a team sport, comprised of many specialists. And don’t forget the single most important role… the coach/ coordinator, your trusted Sherpa, who orchestrates when to bring these other specialists on the field and what they should do, for your behalf.

One client example: the first offer that came was a business value at about 30% of the number now under discussion. On their own, the client may have taken that first offer up by 100% — but they would most likely not, on their own, have moved it up more than 200%. Investing in the right advisory team, and head coach, will help you maximize what you walk away with for retirement, or whatever your ‘next chapter’ may be.

Michael Stier is an Area President for FocusCFO based in Charlotte, NC. 

Founded in 2001, FocusCFO is the leading onsite fractional CFO services provider in the Midwest and Southeast. FocusCFO works closely with small to medium sized businesses helping business owners gain control over three key financial and operational areas: increasing cash flow, reducing business risk, and creating a platform for scalable growth. This allows business owners to then realize full financial control and increased value in their businesses. For more information, follow us on LinkedIn.

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