This article from The Globe and Mail provides valuable insight into the benefit of managing your business as if a sale is always imminent. Understandably, many business owners feel that their time is more valuable spent on managing the day-to-day operations of their company rather than planning for an exit, especially when none is intended. But, what if the value generated from readying a business for sale is beneficial to the company’s operations and serves to increase its value, no matter what the future holds?
The author makes a valid argument on this point, explaining that adopting a ‘buyer’s perspective’ can give owners much-needed insight into the financial and organizational health of their business. Reviewing company policies and procedures from a prospective buyer’s point of view gives business owners a better understanding of the quality of their operations. If any problems are identified that would trouble a prospective buyer, fixing these issues not only helps generate additional value at the time of sale, but helps the organization run much more smoothly in the meantime. Owners should be proud of the way they conduct business, and being ready to show off their company at a moment’s notice demonstrates utmost confidence in what they have created.
Another benefit to being prepared for sale is that even when an exit is unintended, circumstances may arise where there is no other option available. The author provides an extreme scenario demonstrating the change in priorities that occur when the child of a business owner is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Suddenly, all of the time and money put into that business must be redirected to a more important cause. Now although this situation is extreme, the truth is that no one is able to predict the future, so when an impending move, desire for early retirement, or, heaven forbid, family emergency arises, having your business already prepared for sale enables a smooth transition and the ability to extract the maximum value no matter when the exit occurs.
This article drives home the point that readying a business for sale does not have to mean that an exit from the company is the owner’s intention. Managing a company as if a sale is imminent enables the business owner to be prepared to maximize value whenever the need arises, and increases organizational health in the meantime. Think of it in terms of renovating your home; if you remodel your kitchen with the intention of increasing the value of your home upon sale, even if you decide not to move right away you have a beautiful new kitchen to enjoy until the time comes. That’s the best of both worlds.