Whether you are dreading the day or excitedly counting down the months, a healthy transition to your next phase starts with finding the perfect buyer for your business. The nature of the funeral services profession is making sure families are being served well, so you don’t want to hand your business over to just anyone. You want to preserve your legacy of helping families and expertly ensuring others’ legacies. As someone who deals with unexpected finality on a regular basis, you also know better than anyone that there is no time like the present to plan for your future.
Consider your next role
How do you see yourself after you sell your business? Are you off sipping cocktails in an exotic location without a care in the world? Are you still checking in from time to time, consulting but also enjoying some newfound freedom? There is no wrong way to move forward. Whether you want to leave it all behind or keep at least one foot in the door, knowing what you want your future role to be, if any, will help you find the right person to carry on your business legacy.
Weigh your timing options
With the effort you’ve put into building your business over the years, it only makes sense to put the same care into deciding when to let it go. There are many factors to consider:
- Your readiness
- Your financial status
- Access to retirement benefits
- Tax implications
- Market conditions
Determining when to sell is a big decision that could affect your sale price, your post-sale financial position, and even your buyer’s potential for success in continuing your business legacy. Be sure to bring in experts who deal with business sales on a regular basis and have the knowledge to help you choose the right time to sell.
Put your business house in order
Like selling a house, tying up loose ends and tidying up forgotten corners will set you up for a faster sale, elicit a higher selling price, and attract the perfect buyer. Even the best of the best need to do an extensive business audit before entering the marketplace. Finances, employees, client base, inventory, and other assets should all be scrutinized and organized prior to selling. Again, bringing in the fresh eyes of other professionals who can polish any less-than-perfect pieces will help lead you to the perfect buyer.
Tie it up with a bow
Once you have taken stock and evaluated your business, it’s time to let the world know you are ready to sell. Even the perfect business won’t find that perfect buyer without the right packaging and marketing. If you’re looking for a quiet, low-key sale, it’s still important to show potential buyers your business best. If you have already invested in professional, up-to-date marketing materials, you may be able to create a solid selling portfolio out of what you already have. If you are a bit behind in this area, now is the time to invest in creating the right face and voice to showcase your business.
Connect with your network
Most business-focused websites will tell you there are two types of buyers — financial and strategic. However, the funeral services profession also attracts a third kind of buyer — impassioned. Funeral professionals generally have a passion for people and providing comfort to those who need it. Impassioned buyers will also be looking for the financial and strategic advantages of buying your business, so it is essential to present both the tangible and intangible benefits.
Your buyer is likely already affiliated with the funeral services profession. Perfect buyer candidates include:
- Current and former employees
- Family members
Connect outside of your network
Within your personal and professional circle is not the only place to find your perfect buyer. The next generation of funeral service professionals definitely won’t look like the last and may not even be interested in the funeral services business yet, so you may not recognize your buyer at first. Compassion, patience, dedication, diligence — drill down to which attributes and skills you believe make a great funeral services professional. Create a portrait of your perfect buyer and then work to match it with a real-world person regardless of current profession. Ideally, your perfect buyer will find you, but be ready to put the work in to find them should the need arise.
Help put the “success” in your successor
Your years in the profession truly mean something and give you the ability to help make your successor successful. This is your professional legacy, so take the time and make the effort to pass it along the right way by seeking out the perfect buyer.
Contact the JCG team today to learn how Johnson Consulting Group can help you plan your future.