Have you gotten this phone call, regardless of where you are in your exit planning? During challenging, tumultuous times (recession, Covid, Ukraine), this call comes from many corners. Some are legitimately interested, some are fishing, some are trying to take advantage. It may or may not be the right timing for your exit planning.
In these situations, we hear from many business owners asking for help because they received “the call”.
When this question comes at you, it can be interesting, even exciting. How do you respond?
The best response is to ask for some basic information and let them know you will get back to them. Whether they say they are the potential buyer or representing the potential buyer, ask for their name, phone number, email address and website. If you can’t get that, politely end the conversation. If they say they are representing another party, ask for the name of that person or company. They may not share this initially but ask. Getting some basic information will help you do some digging.
It may be something like “I have buyers that are interested in your business.” If you hear that, consider ending the conversation!
In any case, do NOT share any information, financial or otherwise, on this first call. Step back and consider your exit plan.
Even if they are legitimate, remember that they are representing the seller. This is a complex transaction, probably the most complicated you will ever consider. It will impact your life, retirement, family, and employees for the long-term. Succession planning takes some time.
As I discussed in another blog post (Sell My Business Now? Wait for the Economy?), you need to consider so many factors when deciding if this is the right time for you to sell. It may very well be. Even then, you need experienced professionals who provide transaction services to help guide you through this most important decision and avoid expensive pitfalls of trying to go it alone.
If you are ready to sell, get professional representation to help manage the process. A business sale is always complicated, even more so under current conditions. If you are not ready yet, start with an estimate of value and some advice on preparing your exit plan – whether your target is one year or 10 years. If you do have time, focus on getting through the difficult times and building business value: Rebuilding Post-Crisis.
Call if we can help you think through your specific situation. Always happy to have a conversation to provide some guidance!
[What is The Value Track?]
David Shavzin, CMC
Exit Strategist – Value Growth, Exit Planning, Succession Planning, Transactions
Founder and President, The Value Track, Atlanta, Georgia
Co-Founder and President, Exit Planning Exchange Atlanta
Building Transferable Value for Sale