When should you sell your business?

“I will sell my business when it makes a profit of [$??] a year, so that I can [??].”

If you are aspiring to become a successful entrepreneur, your tactic will lie in variety. Staying in one field too long means the market could stagnate and you’ll be left high and dry. Spreading it out, trying new things, and starting new businesses will ensure that you gain the most experience (and business!) possible.

Those are a few reasons why it is useful to sell your business. However, if you really love your business, the work you do has become the path to your calling, and you are happy with the amount of money you’re getting, then you might want to think carefully about selling off to start over. What if you end up hating your new job, or what if it doesn’t pan out?

In every case, what’s important to the decision is what matters most to you, and how much risk you’re willing to take.

If you had a business you wanted to sell, it is important to keep in mind that there is no set sale price for businesses in general. A profitable business will sell for more than one which is merely doing moderately well. But even more important than not being cheated on the price, is not cheating others on the price. Be fair in your dealings, and you just may gain a friend. In the business world, good relations are everything.

Once the contract is wrapped up and the business is sold, the former business owner is faced with a dilemma. What to do now? In this case, it will be important to think about your goals for your life, and your calling. Would your calling best be fulfilled by your starting another business? Or by traveling? Or by volunteering? Or even by getting a paid job? The list of possibilities is endless, and you’ll want to make sure you think very hard before deciding on something too drastic or life-changing.

In my case, the most attractive thing to do once I’ve sold my business would be to acquire appreciable assets, learn new skills, and possibly start a new business.



Lesson 10 – The Principle of Service

‘The Secret of Selling Anything’ is a book written by Harry Browne on salesmanship. The secret is that you have to sell the right way.

There are a few methods he sets out in his book … firstly, the main course of action, with 5 steps.

1. Ask him about his motivation. (A customer’s motivation is the key element of selling. You cannot sell anyone something they themselves don’t want. If they don’t know if they want it, they won’t buy it. You can’t make someone want something, but you can show them how your product can get them something they want. For example, no one WANTS to buy a vacuum cleaner. Who would? But most people want clean floors, or easy cleaning, or no bending over, or a quieter hum. So if you can appeal to your customer’s motivation, maybe you can make a sale.)

2. After you’ve learned all about him, his problems, the things he likes doing … organize his thoughts and ask him to verify your summary. “You want a quiet way to clean your floors while your wife is sleeping, and you don’t want to bend down to sweep, is that right?”

3. Now you can give him a solution. “Why don’t you get a quiet, long handled vacuum cleaner?”

4. At this point he will have questions, maybe even objections. Brown gives a tip for staying connected to your client while dealing with objections to your product. If your man says “I don’t know if this vacuum cleaner will be too hard to clean. Its surface is rather bumpy.” You should listen carefully – then agree with him, saying “That’s a valid statement …” – and then you should suggest a way to keep it clean. Or tell him you have a smoother model available. This way to handle objections keeps you customer feeling validated.

5. Close the sale. Don’t do this by tricking him into agreeing to buy. You simply will not be able to do this. Ask him straightforwardly, something like, “Should I go ahead and write up your order now, then?”

The way Brown’s methods differ from the regular course of action is that normally a salesman is coached to be aggressive, fearless, and even pushy in order to get the client to do what the salesman wants him to do. But you don’t have to be super antagonistic – you only have to listen, be knowledgeable about your product so you can tell him about the things that interest HIM, and to care about his satisfaction. It’s harder to sell when the person across the table wants to throttle you.

You can sell anything this way – but you have to sell it to the right people. If your product won’t help him, then tell him and thank him for his time – you might even refer someone else’s product! Your integrity might get you in the door next time.

The whole market revolves around consumer sovereignty – the customer chooses what to spend their money on. Therefore it is the producer’s responsibility to serve the consumer – but not only that, to work with the consumer.


P.S. Don’t worry, I’m don’t have this weird obsession with vacuum cleaners. Its just my example! 🙂