When Should You Sell Your Small Business?

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My wife and I recently sold one of our websites – no not this one! Several months after I started blogging, my wife decided she wanted to try her hand at it to see what she was missing. I think she was afraid she had lost me to the world! My wife was in the…

My wife and I recently sold one of our websites – no not this one! Several months after I started blogging, my wife decided she wanted to try her hand at it to see what she was missing. I think she was afraid she had lost me to the world!

My wife was in the medical field before she became a stay at home mom, so she started a health and nutrition blog. After close to a year of blogging, my wife decided her blog had run its course and it was time for her to hang up her blogging hat. That left us with a website that had value and was earning money, but was otherwise stagnant.

Why we sold our website

My wife put a lot of heart into her website. She shared her personal story, she had a substantial number of subscribers, and her blog was starting to earn a profit. However, she was no longer interested in writing new content and decided to move on. Because her site shared her personal story, she didn’t want to sell it. So we left the site up and continued earning a minimum amount of income through advertising.

Her business started losing value. The best time to sell her site would have been when she stopped writing, or shortly afterward when traffic and income were at their peak. After she stopped writing new articles, traffic and income started slowing down considerably.

After almost a year of dormancy, I asked her again if she wanted to sell her site. She was more open to discussing it and we finally agreed that we would sell it if we could get a reasonable price. I also told her we could use the money to start a 529 college savings account for our daughter, an idea my wife liked.

So I contacted a few people and came to terms with a friend who purchased the site and is now creating new content. Because the blog was already an established site and domain, I am positive it will improve in terms of traffic and income in relatively little time. I can’t share the terms of the deal, but it was enough that we feel we received a fair price, and low enough that the buyer should be able to turn a profit.

Bottom line: We sold the website because it was an asset that had more potential than we were realizing and it would continue to diminish in value unless it was nurtured.

When should you sell your business?

Many small business owners will face this question at one point or another. Your business may grow too big for you to handle, you may no longer have the expertise or desire to run it, you may get an offer that sweeps you off your feet, or you may simply wish to move on. Quite simply, there are as many reasons to sell your small business as there are types of small businesses.

Some reasons you may consider selling your business:

  • Time. Running a small business takes a lot of time, and selling your business can give you more time for other pursuits.
  • Money. Cash out; sell it to someone with the capital to expand it; sell it to fund another venture; etc.
  • Life events. Death, divorce, birth, moving across the country, and a host of other personal reasons may tip your hand toward selling.
  • Decreased performance. Decreased sales and revenue could be a good reason to sell your business. Sometimes a change in ownership can breathe new life into a company.
  • Growth. A period of growth can be a good time to sell because it is more attractive to buyers. Growth may also make your business too much to keep up with.
  • Partner wants to move on. Sometimes one or more partners can buy the remaining interest in the company, other times the entire business needs to be sold.
  • Other opportunities.

There are no clear cut answers regarding the best time to sell your small business, and because each small business is unique, it isn’t possible to cover every example. Just make sure you do your research and make sure you are selling your business for the right reasons.

Have you sold a business? I’d love to hear about it.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Mark Bennett says

    The ideal time to sell any business is when it is peaking financially. This rarely happens, because people cannot recognize they are peaking. Short of this, whenever you feel you are beginning to lose enthusiasm for the business, it is a good time to sell. Keep in mind that it should always appear that you are still enthusiastic and willing to keep the business if you want to get the best price.

    I didn’t know you could make money with and sell a blog. Thanks.

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