A good Business Broker will spend hours educating business owners about what to expect at every phase of the selling process; a difficult job made harder by the fact that misinformation about selling a business comes from every direction — from preconceived notions held by business owners themselves, to suspect advice from well-meaning peers and advisors.
Following is a stubborn myth about selling your business:
Myth #2: My business is different
In our experience every business is unique in some way. In fact, the endless variety is one of the things we love most about being a Business Broker. Businesses are a bit like children; no two are exactly alike.
This myth has more to do with thinking that we are the exception, and that the rules don’t apply to us and our business. Much of this can be explained by our human nature. One example is the pride and ego effect — the notion that what we own is worth more than its market value simply because we own it.
The my-business-is-different myth is perpetuated every time another story is published in The Australian or the Financial Review about a tech start up with no revenue selling to Facebook or Google or a venture capitalist for hundreds of millions of dollars. These transactions are referred to as “unicorns” for a reason: They are incredibly rare (not only do they defy the rules, they seem to defy logic).
Most micro and middle market M&A takes place within a reasonable range of variables when it comes to business valuation, financing structure and deal terms. If you’re able to do well within these ranges, or maybe even be at the high end of the value band, then great! Just don’t expect that these norms don’t apply to you and your business. Because in most cases they do.
Reality: Your business is probably not an outlier. Understand the rules of the game so you can set realistic expectations and play well.
Graham O’Hehir GMO Managing Director