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For Sale By Owner Sign

Do it yourself (DIY) is all the rage.  Everywhere I land online, and even as I shop the retail stores, inside real brick and mortar, I see this big trend.  “Build your own backyard paradise, raise your own chickens and bake your own birthday cake”.  I get it!  And I don’t necessarily disagree.  We are all more capable than we give ourselves credit for!

I believe this trend was a necessity for many during and after the great recession.  When people were pulling back on spending, they simply found ways to DIY.

Today, I had to stop in my tracks and chuckle a bit though.  I ran across an article about the importance of confidentiality when selling a business on Inc.com.  As I read the article, I found myself shaking my head back and forth.  No, no, this is not a DIY project!

The author warned he always advised business owners that they should work with a business broker and not sell a business yourself, however the majority of the article was dedicated to describing the steps to take to sell ones’ own business.

Don’t Try This at Home

If you have ever endured the process of selling a business with the assistance of professional advisors who specialize in mergers and acquisitions, you will agree with me that this is not something to try at home!  You are not whipping up dinner for your friends.  If you mess up dinner, you make reservations and get a good chuckle out of it.  In fact, if your friends are like mine, they probably won’t let you forget the mess you made.  I think we can all agree the long term consequences of such a DIY project are nil.  Not so, when you sell your own business!

Business Buyers love to Bypass the Barriers

The harsh reality is this.  Even if you work with an advisor such as a business broker or intermediary, business buyers will do their best to circumvent the barriers put in place to protect you.  These barriers include confidentiality agreements, withholding  proprietary information such as your businesses’ trade secrets and customer lists until it’s the appropriate time, and, equally important, access to you!  The advisor you hire plays a vital role in establishing and maintaining your protection.

I agree with the author of the article who states that for a business owner who is representing himself in the sale of his or her business, maintaining confidentiality is critically important.  However, this is only one of the many critically important matters that deserve full attention. The list of other critically important matters must be attended to as well.  And yes, if you DIY all of those matters you can’t forget will include running your business too!

It reminds me of the quote “a man who represents himself has a fool for a client”.

What do you think?  Do you know anyone who has successfully sold his or her own business as a DIY project?

 

Selling your business is not a DIY activity. Learn why:

Is Selling A Business A Do-It-Yourself Project?
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Holly Magister, CPA, CFP

Holly A. Magister, CPA, CFP®, is the founder of Enterprise Transitions, LP, an Emerging Business and Exit Planning firm. She helps entrepreneurs assess, re-align, and accelerate their business with the intent of ultimately executing its top-dollar sale.
Holly also founded ExitPromise.com and to date has answered more than 2,000 questions asked by business owners about starting, growing and selling a business.
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