After Cindi Englefield sold Show What You Know Publishing, a K-12 educational publishing company she founded, she became a business adviser, helping small business owners with, among other things, selling their business.
One of the things she learned from her experience was that the due diligence process can be very painful. It doesn't happen as quick as owners would like — sometimes it could take more than 12 months to sell a company. All the steps it takes to sell often surprises people. And having people digging in your books it can be intimidating, possibly embarrassing, and time-consuming. It takes a lot of time for an owner’s staff to answer all the questions buyers have.
“It's really hard when somebody is digging around in your books not to take it personal when they have these questions,” Englefield, who now runs Englefield Business Advisors, says. “It was my company I grew it from the dining room table, so I (was) emotionally attached to it. I was very proud of what we'd all accomplished. So that was a little uncomfortable.”
A good business adviser is very important in helping prepare an owner for the sale of his or her company. But owners can also benefit greatly by talking with peers who have sold their businesses.
“I would say that's probably equally as important as finding the right person to help you sell the business because it does prepare you to know what you’re getting into and it might help you with the timing of when you're ready to sell the business.”
She says when she was selling her company, the support she found in peer groups really helped because she didn't feel like she was doing it all by herself in a vacuum, and wasn’t depending solely on a professional to sell her business.
“Your peers have different priorities for you than the professional that’s trying to sell your business,” she says. “They're doing it for money, they're doing it for their own profit and their own profitability — and for you — but your peers are just for you. And it was really supportive, when I went through it, to have that group.”
Talking on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast, Englefield shares more of what she sees from the outside when helping business owners sell their business, as well as insight and advice gained from her sale experience. Hit play below to catch the full interview.
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