When Laura and I started Networking Mummies on a whim in 2009 we never really intended to start a business. But once we’d invested our own money into a website and a couple of events we realised we needed to keep the networking finances separate from our own business. We registered as partners, set up a business bank account and started earning an income from events and advertising. We never actually had a business plan or written contracts we just went with the flow, learning as we went along. Which is kind of ironic as we had contracts written up for those who bought Networking Mummies Franchises.
After a difficult pregnancy with Olive, I decided my heart just wasn’t in it anymore and there were other avenues I wanted to explore. If you are new here you can read all about Networking Mummies and Me and why I sold my half of a successful small business in 2011: Networking Mummies and Me!
Things I’ve learnt from selling a business :
Exit Plan: Once I’d made the decision to leave Networking Mummies, I totally underestimated the hard work involved. As we didn’t have any official contracts or agreements with each other we had to make sure we both agreed with what I was asking for and what Laura wanted. We had good financial records which was a blessing and one of the members was an accountant and helped us value the business.
If I was to go into business with anyone again, I would ensure that we had proper contracts which included an exit plan.
Inventory: Know exactly what you are selling so you know and the potential buyer knows. This way there is no confusion between you and the buyer. Especially things like mailing lists, these will belong to the business so don’t think you can use your contacts in your new business. You might not think you have any inventory if you don’t sell physical products but you have Facebook Groups, social media accounts in the business name these will all need to be documented along with their login details.
Use A Specialist: Whether you are looking to buy or sell a specific business genre or not I would look into using a specialist team who understand that business, such as Poe Group Advisors. If you are struggling to sell the business or finding it difficult to negotiate the sale also consider getting specialist advice in this area. BCMS is a specialist adviser to shareholders and owner-managers looking to sell all or part of their company. Luckily for us, a franchisee decided to purchase my half of the business so we never had to officially put the business up for sale. Having a third party can also help if you start to become too emotionally involved in the sale. I know I struggled, in the beginning, to actually let Networking Mummies go.
Say Goodbye: It’s easy to sell a business and spend the money but much harder to mentally and physically give it all up. You have spent every waking moment building, working on you business and with specific people. When I first sold Networking Mummies I removed myself from all the Facebook groups etc .. as I knew I’d just keep answering questions, chatting and basically behaving like I always had this wasn’t going to be useful to me, the new owner or the users of Networking Mummies.
Have you ever sold a business? What basic advice would you give to anyone looking too?
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