There are some tell-tale signs it's time to move on from your business.
There are some tell-tale signs it's time to move on from your business. Valeriy_G

How to know when it’s time to break up with your business

BREAKING up is hard to do, especially when it comes to knowing the best time to sell your business.   

But according to global brand strategist Samuel Pavin, there's tell-tale signs that it's time to move on to greener pastures.   

He's worked in regional Australia and overseas as an independent advisor for small-to-medium enterprises.  

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"It comes down to keeping a close eye on data, and by this, I mean looking at whether sales are falling, if money in the bank is going down too fast, sales leads are falling and leads are coming in at a slower pace than usual," he said.

"Everything that's going down when it comes to numbers need to be analysed.  

"Regional business owners need to avoid operating for too long and not making a difference, I think of this as being in the danger zone."  

He said it was possible for businesses to reverse this trend by coming up with new innovations such as diversifying or working harder to truly understand the needs of their customers and the market, but this wasn't always the case.  

According to Dr Gabrielle Parle, a finance lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast, it is imperative owners focus on cashflow above all else.   

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Welcome to our Business Class series. News Corp

This is because it's the 'lifeblood' of small-to-medium businesses, and if it dries up, most businesses will fail.  

Dr Parle said despite the usefulness of online accounting systems, people also needed to crunch the numbers themselves so they weren't running blind.

Having their finger on the pulse meant they could also act quickly to try to pull their business out of the red.  

If a financial nosedive seemed imminent, Dr Parle said it was wise to seek third-party help because often business owners were too emotionally invested to make the tough decisions.  

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But letting go of a much-loved business isn't always a bad thing, says internationally-accredited associate certified business coach Alison Callan.  

She said 10 years ago it was a reasonably new notion to move around corporations within a person's career lifetime, and now it was the norm.  

"The more entrepreneurs and businesses are growing, we are expanding our expectations and we are certainly moving faster," she said.   

"So similarly, why wouldn't we decide that we are outgrowing our businesses as well?"  

Mrs Callan said people often sold a business when a new opportunity arose, when they were no longer challenged or found enjoyment in their field, or when the realised they'd lost any motivation to keep ahead of the trends for the sheer pleasure.  

Lismore-based Tanya Egerton is the Entrepreneurship Manager at Southern Cross University and said every business owner should have an exit strategy, and that when preparing to launch a new company, savvy entrepreneurs actually planned their exit in advance.  

"However, for existing business owners it's never too late to put a plan in place for when it's time to move on," she said.   

"It's critical to think about your end-game and to ask yourself: 'Has this business reached the peak of what it can achieve under your direction?'.   

"Take into consideration your industry, what the current value of your business is, what potential buyers are looking for and what the implications of sale are."  

Ms Egerton also urged businesses to consider their physical and mental health, and ask themselves if it was possible to adapt a current product, service or processes to match the changing landscape.   

Business Class is an 8-week series providing entrepreneurs with tools and information to take their business to the next level in 2019. Head to our hub page for more.

News Corp Australia


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