How do you know when the right time is to sell your business?

When you’ve dedicated yourself to a business - whether started from scratch or taken on at a later date - it’s not always easy to make the decision to sell. Unfortunately, there’s no one who can make that decision for you, but if you carefully consider your options you can ensure you feel comfortable that you’ve chosen the right path.

We’ve explored some of the major warning signs that you should consider selling up, and the factors you should take into account before you make your final decision.

Passion vs exhaustion

When you launched your new business you were probably filled with enthusiasm and a passion for the industry you were entering. And this passion is necessary when you start up a new company due to the many hours you will need to dedicate to it to ensure it is a success.

However, there does come a time in the life of most businesses when those who have founded them begin to feel this passion wane. Rather than dedicating your time out of love, you might feel as though you’re reaching the point of exhaustion and losing your desire to go to work in the morning. If that’s the case, you might feel it’s time to take a step back. This could mean simply asking another family member, co-founder or a new executive to take over responsibility for the day-to-day running of the firm. However, it could also mean the time is right to sell your business and move on to your next adventure, which may rekindle your passion for working hard once more.

Out of your depth

You may have had the perfect skillset when you took on your business, or perhaps you feel you’ve developed the skills and knowledge you need during your time in charge of the company. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll always be the right person for the job.

If your business has started to outgrow you, there are really only two main options you can consider. The first is to hire a number of experts who are able to push your company forward under your general management. However, you’ll have to be prepared to spend the right amount of money to secure the right people and you’ll also need to allow them to steer the company in a new direction. The other option is to sell your company to someone you feel you can trust to take it in a new direction. While this does mean losing your business, it could also provide you with the opportunity to start a new business or take on a waning company that requires the skills you have to offer.

An ever-changing industry

The rapid advancements of the modern world mean industries are constantly having to adapt to new ways of working and thinking. No longer able to remain content with the status quo, modern business owners have to stay ahead of the next big industry advancement or trend if they want to stay afloat.

Modern technology, in particular, can be a huge threat to business, forcing them to repeatedly upgrade without any certainty over whether the upgrade will last any significant period of time. If you feel as though the market is moving against you and you’re unable to invest the time and funds needed to keep your business in the running with your competitors, it could be time to consider an exit plan. Find someone with the money and enthusiasm to keep up with the fast-paced world of modern business, and ensure you receive the money you deserve if your company has the potential to thrive with continued investment.

The perfect opportunity

Perhaps you’re quite happy in your business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell up if the right opportunity presents itself. Whether you’re offered enough money to tempt you into retirement, approached by a company with merger plans or even offered the opportunity to start a new business in a different industry, there’s no reason why you can’t make the decision to sell a successful business.

Before you sell up, just make sure you get an accurate valuation and sell for the right price rather than simply selling up as quickly as possible, which could result in an unnecessarily low price. Approach industry sales professionals, do your research, and market in the right place and you should be able to secure a price that suits you without engaging in an endless search that takes so long it could cost you your chance to move on.

Are you interested in learning more about preparing your company for exit even if you have no plans to sell? Why not view our in-depth article on Why you should boost your business's value regardless of whether you plan to sell.

Share this article

Latest Businesses for Sale

Courier Business
UK Wide

Long-established courier business, which has an excellent reputation for providing a bespoke and rapid response service to its loyal client base. Established 20 years+. Excellent reputation for speedy, flexible and efficient service, 365 days of the...

Asking Price: Offers Invited
Turnover: £600,000


Manufacturer & Retailer of Textiles
UK Wide

This long established company is a second generation family business specialising in the design, manufacture, installation and retailing of blinds, fabrics and wallpapers. Offers invited.

Asking Price: Offers Invited
Turnover: £500,000


Microsoft Independent Software Vendor Partner
Midlands, UK Wide

Microsoft 365 ISV & Services Partner – Healthcare and Public Sector. An opportunity has arisen to purchase an established Microsoft Independent Software Vendor Partner (ISV) providing Software, ‘SaaS’ and Services for Microsoft 365 Information Manage...

Asking Price: Offers Invited
Turnover: £1,200,000

View more businesses for sale

Search Insights

Free guide: 10 Biggest Buyer Mistakes

Sign up to receive our acquisition alert emails to get your FREE guide


Want access to the latest businesses for sale?

Business Sale Report is your complete solution to finding great acquisition opportunities.

Join today to receive:

  • Comprehensive range of businesses for sale
  • Make direct contact with business sellers or their intermediaries
  • Access to all UK administrations, liquidations and winding-up petitions
  • Daily email alerts for the latest businesses for sale & distressed notifications
  • Business Sale Report publication posted to you every month
  • Advertise your acquisition requirements on our "business wanted" section

All this and much more, including the latest M&A news and exclusive resources