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4 Signs That It’s Time to Sell a Business

As an entrepreneur, you aim to survive the startup stage, reach profitability, and grow a sustainable venture — then what? What entrepreneurs do best is to create, chase visions, and build teams. Running a full-grown operation requires a different set of skills and interests, and some entrepreneurs feel bored and stagnant when the growth curve of the business matures. Here are some clues that it is time to move on.

You’ve Reached Your Goals

Think back to when you started your business. What were your goals? How far ahead were you looking? If your startup was successful, odds are you’ve already moved through your original benchmarks and several sets of new ones that you created as the business grew. If all your dreams have come true and goal-setting has become an exercise in filling a spreadsheet with projections, your entrepreneurial vision is not being fully utilized anymore.

Your Industry Is Changing

When you’re at the helm of a business, you’re more attuned to changes in the industry than most observers, and a sense of impending change might be enough to act on. That’s what Daryl Katz, a Canadian business mogul, did when he sold his Rexall drug store chain for $3 billion. Katz sensed the time was right to exit the drugstore business and decided to leave while the industry was still strong.

The North American drug industry has consolidated toward “vertical integration,” and drugstores seemed destined to belong to pharmaceutical giants like McKesson, who bought Katz’s Rexall chain. Rather than standing his ground and jousting against the winds of change, Katz sold the company.

You’re Ready to Move On

Katz’s decision was no doubt made easier by the fact that he bought a hockey team, started developing an arena, and is getting involved in making movies and other entertainment ventures. Starting out in one line of business doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever. If your interests are shifting, you might be ready to get involved with a fresh venture.

You’re Ready to Retire

Has the time come for you to retire? If you are financially secure, why not relax and enjoy yourself? It is difficult to give up work when your identity is closely tied to your business, but you can learn to love a new identity as a sailor, gardener, world traveler, nonprofit board member, or person of leisure. Work with a financial planner and a business appraiser to determine whether you’re in a strong enough position to sell and begin a new chapter in your life.

If you’re wondering whether it might be time to sell, then it’s possible your business venture is no longer engaging your imagination. If you’re feeling restless or frustrated, or changes in your industry are impacting your business model, then it might be time to look into selling. Ultimately, one of the best parts of entrepreneurship is that you are in control of your destiny. This decision may have far-reaching impact, but it is entirely yours to make.

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