In this week’s edition of Wash Wisdom, we look at some tips on selling your business and leading your team through a crisis.

Make selling your business as profitable as possible

According to business.com contributor Bruce Hakutizwi in his article, “7 Tips for Selling Your Business as the American Dream,” being an entrepreneur isn’t just about starting businesses from scratch. Many entrepreneurs also buy existing businesses, Hakutizwi says, and for every buyer, there must be a seller.

“Rather than viewing the sale of your business as the end of your American dream, look at it as the beginning of someone else’s future. Maintaining a positive attitude and approaching the sale of your business with the same passion and skill you used to make it successful in the first place will attract a like-minded entrepreneur who’s worthy of taking it over, leaving you with a deep level of satisfaction when the process is over,” Hakutizwi says.

Here are some additional tips from Hakutizwi for selling your business:

  • Prepare for the long haul. It’s important to note that the average time it takes to sell a business is 12 to 18 months. While businesses can be sold quickly, even in an emergency, it often results in less favorable terms for both the buyer and the seller, which you want to avoid. Instead, take the time to plan out your personal and business goals and determine when you want to sell. Ideally, give yourself two years of preparation from your “sell-by” date.
  • Keep the business strong. Just because you can see the finish line doesn’t mean you should start slowing down in anticipation of it. On the contrary, keep the business running smoothly and growing because that’s the kind of business potential buyers are interested in. Push yourself to keep going until the final contract is signed.
  • Keep detailed records. Many entrepreneurs tend to try to get their record-keeping over and done with as quickly as possible in order to concentrate on the business. However, not only is this not a best practice, but it is also detrimental to your selling potential. Potential buyers who may know nothing about your company are interested in seeing accurate and detailed records of profits, losses, employment, etc. The more they can know upfront, the more interested they’ll be in buying and paying a higher price.
  • Keep the premises clean. The majority of a first impression is based on looks, and first impressions are important. Remember that even real estate agents advise home-sellers to spruce up the house before selling, Hakutizwi says. It may require some investment in time and/or money on your part, but it will make selling your business easier and, potentially, more profitable.
  • Keep track of online reviews. Most people turn to the internet first to investigate businesses nowadays, and potential buyers are no exception. Take a look at your online reviews. No one can avoid negative reviews, but make sure to respond to them and resolve the complaints. In addition, ask your satisfied customers to place reviews online.
  • Market the sale effectively. In addition to the preparatory work listed above, finding the most efficient and effective way to list your business and market the sale is crucial to how fast you can make a sale and how much you can earn. Look for opportunities both online and offline that can economically target buyers who might be interested in your business but take little effort on your part. In addition, hiring a business broker can not only supplement your work, but can also help speed up transactions with interested buyers.
  • Offer to help in the transition. After you’ve found the right buyer and accepted the deal, consider offering to stay on for a short period (perhaps 30 to 90 days) to help with the transition. This depends on the buyer, of course — competitors or those with industry knowledge may not want or need you to stay on, but new buyers may very well appreciate a guiding hand. In addition, it allows you a chance to ease out of running a company that you’ve managed for so long.

Read the entire article here.

Leading in times of crisis

In the article “How to Lead and Empower Your Team Through a Crisis” by contributor Christine Comaford on Forbes’ website, Comaford discusses five ways to set the emotional tone and example during times of change:

  • Be there for your team. Let your team express what they’re feeling to you, and make sure they feel safe doing so.
  • Make the connection. Tell your team that you’re here for them and that everyone is in this together and there to support one another.
  • Stay positive. People can look at times of change in one of two ways: negatively or positively. Those who see change as negative will become stressed and emotionally exhausted, feeling that they have no control over anything. Those who see the change in a positive light will feel empowered and take charge on their futures.
  • Look ahead optimistically. Talk about how everyone will hope to feel once the immediate pain and shock have passed.
  • Make a plan for the future together. Determine how you want to overcome this crisis and where you want to go. Set goals.

Find the article here.