When you start a computer business, you put your blood, sweat, time, money, and tears into it. You build it from the ground up, work to ensure it grows and expands, and becomes successful. However, at some point in time, if owning this business is no longer your passion, you may want to sell and move on to other things. If you have reached this point, the entire process may not go over as smoothly as you hope.
Common Issues when Marketing Your Computer Business
When you begin your quest to try and sell your business, you may encounter buyers who don’t want the “key man” to go. In the majority of situations, anyone interested in purchasing the business is going to do a bit of research ahead of time. This research is going to clearly show who is in charge, who knows the business, and who keeps everything running efficiently. If this person is you, they aren’t going to want to let you go.
As a result, the buyers may offer what seems like a generous salary, benefits, and other incentives to get you to stay on and now work at the business you started.
At this point, you need to stop. Reconsider why you are selling. If you are like most people, this is because you have another venture you want to pursue, because you are no longer interested in this business, or because you want out. If you remain on the staff, now as an employee, all you are going to turn into is a puppet for the new owners. Chances are, this isn’t the future that you want.
The Problem with Buyer’s Offers to Keep You On Staff
There is no question that the offer presented to you is going to seem quite appealing. It is likely quite a bit of money, benefits, and other incentives. However, at this point, you have to keep the old, yet true, saying in mind — if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
In most cases, when selling your computer business, if you are offered a deal to remain on staff, you are also going to sign a contract. This contract likely locks you into a certain amount of time with the company as an employee to receive all the benefits and incentives promised. Also, if you fail to meet your end of the contract, or want to terminate early, it is going to cost you.
Finding the Happy Middle Ground
If you are ready to sell, but intrigued by staying on board in some capacity, consider offering your services in a consulting role for a few years. This means if the new owners run into problems, have issues, or just need advice they can come to you for an established rate. Not only does this option free up your time, but it also provides the new owners with an incentive to buy, without the worry of everything falling apart once you are gone.
Consulting services are a smart option to help keep your influential status, with a reduced workload. Rather than having to attend every meeting, conference, and showing up each day, you only offer your services when they are requested. You can also charge a good amount for these services if you desire. Your experience, knowledge of the company, and ability are likely coveted by those who have just purchased the business and are new to the entire idea.
Are You Ready to Sell?
If you are ready to make a change and sell your business, keeping the information here in mind is invaluable. Don’t allow yourself to become a puppet to the buyers. If you wind up accepting their offer to remain on staff, you are just another employee. While you may have more knowledge than others working at the company, you are still subject to the whims of the new owners. As a result, your role is diminished and your ability to do as you see fit is going to disappear.
If you are ready to sell your computer business, make sure you either leave altogether or only remain on a consulting basis. This helps you keep control over what you do and what you avoid doing.
DCG Technical Solutions
Los Angeles, CA
Brent Whitfield is CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. providing IT Support in the Los Angeles area since 1993. He started DCG as a results-oriented IT solutions company for small businesses in 1990, and built it into a company that was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSP mentor. Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business.