Every business owner considers the question eventually: Is it time to sell my business? The opportunity to work for yourself instead of working for others is the best reward of any entrepreneur.
Arguably, the second greatest reward is building equity in your business and then exiting for a high valuation and monetizing your equity. Deciding when to exit however, is a complicated question that involves both an emotional and a logical component. And the bad news is there’s no right or wrong answer. Every pharmacy is different, every owner is different, and every situation is different.
Let’s consider the emotional component first, after all it’s nearly impossible to build a business without emotional drive. It’s what allows you to dedicate long days, seven-day work weeks and push through those sleepless nights. Is the drive still there? If not, perhaps the business has shifted from your original vision, your role has changed, the challenges have changed, or you’re just plain tired. Some owners thrive on growing their business, it’s a thrill. Have a candid dialogue with yourself and if you no longer possess the drive necessary to captain your ship, it may be time to sell.
Now let’s consider the logical component. If you’re attracting interest from buyers, you’ve got to recognize that circumstances change, and the window is bound to close. Ask yourself whether you are emotionally prepared to wait for the next window to open if you miss this one? Also, is the market shifting dramatically? Reimbursement and competition can dramatically change the landscape for your business over the course of a few years. Prior owners rarely have regrets from selling their business, but they frequently have regrets from passing up opportunities.
Once you embrace the idea of selling, how can you be sure you’re selling at the right time? You can’t. You’ve got to evaluate the business, the market, and your readiness. Don’t let a bunch of ‘what ifs’ torture you. Ideally, the time to sell is when you have multiple eager buyers, robust market conditions, and a recently improving balance sheet. An advisor maintains a heightened awareness of the market and can provide great value to you in this area by spotting early trends that will affect price and terms. As a business owner it’s important to start focusing on the answer to the right time to sell your pharmacy, rather than the question.