Selling your Company Part 1
This article is part of a 5-part series. These blogs were originally published as “Selling Your Company” Wildlife Control Technology Magazine Sept/Oct 1999. Disclaimer: Article for informational purposes and is not to replace good legal counsel.
One of the differences between a job and a business is you can sell a business. Businesses have value beyond the individual running it. A business has client lists, phone numbers, regular accounts, good reputation etc. Each of these elements adds to the value of a business. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself what qualities you would like in a business before you buy it. As the animal damage control industry matures, more of our members will consider selling their businesses for retirement income or because the children aren’t interested in continuing the family trade.
Selling a business is neither quick nor easy. It is a long process, filled with many potential pitfalls and maddening delays. This article will provide you with a brief outline of the issues you must consider before entering the waters of any business sale.
The first question you must answer before selling your business is, “Why are you selling?”. The decision to sell your business, like starting it, should never be made flippantly or without mature reflection. Don’t rush into the decision. You must determine if your reasons are appropriate. Remember, if you got into business to be your own boss, selling your business may require that you work for others. Consult with trusted friends and family about your consideration of selling. Sometimes others can see potential pitfalls more clearly than we can see them ourselves.
Once the decision to sell has been made, you must determine what you want for the company. Since this industry is so young, we don’t have many examples of how our type of business can be properly valued. One of the problems with this industry is that it is a service based business. Service companies are difficult to value because you can’t patent a service. While our work is dangerous, time consuming and dirty, it is still not a difficult business for someone else to start from scratch. Obviously, businesses that require special skills and or equipment are more likely to demand higher sales premiums because they are inherently more difficult for someone to start from scratch. By the way, one of the ways to add more value to your business is to push for more regulations. Regulations helps put the squeeze on upstarts.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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