The third most common reason a business owner decides to sell their business is due to life events. There are always life events that can influence the sale of a business. Some can be anticipated – retirement, for example. Others, such as serious illness, death, divorce, or partner issues, can also occur with little or no warning. The saddest situations are the sellers who come to us and have to sell because of unexpected reasons and the business has not been positioned to sell. The Benjamin Ross Group once had the accountant for a manufacturing business contact us because the owner died suddenly at the age of 46. His wife became our client because she needed to sell. Fortunately, her late husband had operated a good business and we were able to sell it quickly. But it easily could have gone the other way, leaving this distraught family with nothing to sell. Divorce is another major reason that business owners may be forced to sell their business. Spouses play a significant role in many companies’ operations, and divorce can have a direct effect on the health of the business. Often, divorce settlements require a business to be sold so that both parties can receive proper compensation. Divorce is not just from a spouse; a very common reason under the “life events” category is divorce from partnerships. We see this all the time. Two people have a common goal – or so they think – so they form a business partnership. Many partnerships fall apart, however, usually because of changes over time to what the partners thought was a common goal. Partnership breakups can be very messy. What happens if the owners do not keep their eye on the exit is that there is nothing to sell in the end. If you are thinking about selling your business, please contact the Benjamin Ross Group to speak with a business broker who can help you start the process long before a life event forces an eminent sale.
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