The first thing you must recognize to be able to sell your business for millions is to know where you are right now. That takes accepting the good and the bad of how things really are.
Things are probably going pretty well for you right now. Your business is doing a couple of million bucks a year and you’ve got 10 or 15 percent profit. You are keeping your head above water, and able to maintain the lifestyle you want, but not able to every get “really ahead” on saving for that rainy day. You’ve got some good employees, a good bunch of people, mostly hard chargers, some not, but pretty much everyone gets along and produces what they need to produce. Sure, you’ve got a straggler here or there that won’t get on board with things, but the others pull him along. The 12 hour days are getting tougher to get through, and frankly you’ve worked long and hard to get where you are, so it’s time to let the young bucks take the reins and do what you pay them to do.
You’ve got a nice little living going on too. Not too much debt, at least none the business can’t handle anyway. Nice house, a couple nice cars, maybe a toy or two (boat, bike, some really nice guns, etc...) and if you’re lucky you’ve got that vacation home near the lake you and your family have always wanted, or is it the hunting camp that you’ve always wanted. Life insurance, college tuition, retirement, investments all of that pretty much taken care of. Sure you could always do a little more, but you’re still relatively young, in your 40’s, 50’s or 60’s and in good health. So what’s the problem?
Well, there really is no problem, as long as you can keep all these balls in the air. As long as you can keep the business running, as long as the economy never falters, even a little. As long as your market stays the same and no competitors threaten you. As long as your employees are honest and never steal from you, as long as they remain hard-working and never sluff off. As long as you don’t get sick, I mean really sick and take a few months off for treatment. As long as you never need to help out a family member because they got themselves in way over their head and expect you to bail them out. As long as you keep all of this weight on your shoulders and NEVER want to slow down. As long as you don’t ever want to retire and have no problem working until you are 150 years old. (Sound ridiculous? Just wait) As long as you want to keep owning your business and continue to operate it every single day until...According to Forbes more businesses shut down than start up each month, and they said approximately 543,000 get started each month. But, as long as you’re OK with all of this, then you can just stop reading here, I’ve got nothing else for you.
But, if you want to be able to sell for $10 million (it takes this much and I’ll prove it to you here in a second) and live a lifestyle of true financial liberation, then keep reading. This is probably why according to a survey conducted by American Express 60% of small business owners say they are not on track to ever save enough money to retire. It’s also why 73% are losing sleep at night because they are so worried that they won’t have enough money to live the lifestyle they want to live after they leave their business.
So back to where you are right now, lots of nice things and life is pretty good, except the working all the time and never getting out part. So how much are you making in dollars and cents every year?
$75k, $100k, $150K...or is it more like $350k or $400k.
Sound far-fetched, well what if you actually had to pay out of pocket for all the little perks you earned from being ‘the boss’. You know, health insurance, your trucks, your cell, your meals, your toys that can be run through the business. The vacation home you claim as a business expense because every once in a while you host a client there (we all do that, your secret is safe with me). All the things in your life that keep you comfortable and living like you want to. All the things that contribute to your really comfortable lifestyle, the lifestyle that you want to continue to live well past the
Days that you are running the business. If you were to add all of these necessities up, (and be totally honest with the actual cost) if you didn’t get the breaks that come with owning the business, how much do you actually make? My guess (and I’ve been doing this for a couple decades) is that it’s much higher than you might have realized before you read this and also likely much closer to $400k or more per year than you’d like to admit.
Ok, so how do you keep living off of $400k per year in perpetuity? Most (99% being most) entrepreneurs plan to sell their business to fund this lifestyle. Some call it retirement, some just move on to another business venture, some have employees run it for them (super risky if you ask me to let your employees be in control of your financial future) but at some point it will be time to get out and take some money off the table.
So let’s look at the numbers it takes to do this, the real numbers. There is a thumb-rule in the investment community that will make this really easy to do. It’s called the 4% retirement thumb-rule and it’s super helpful to show you the reality of just how much you’ll need to sell your business for to live the lifestyle you are living right now and deserve to keep on living.
It goes like this. In order for you to live off of $400k per year for the remaining days of your life, you conservatively need to live off of the interest only of your investment. So 4% of your investment needs to be your $400k. Hold on to your hats, because this means that that your investment nest-egg must be $10,000,000.00 dollars! Yep, that is TEN MILLION DOLLARS! No joke, the ugly truth is that’s the amount of money you will need to invest to be able to continue to live like you live right now. For your necessities, to keep the kids in college, to keep the boat, to keep the guns and toys and truck and insurance and all of those things, you need to be able to invest the really hefty sum of ten million bucks! Don’t shoot the messenger, ask your financial advisor if you want to. But, I bet (once you pick up your jaw off the floor) after you sit with this for a minute, you’ll realize this is pretty darn accurate. I guess if there is a silver lining to this big dark cloud, it’s that knowing is half the battle. (As my friend GI Joe says, if you’re my age you’ll get that reference). And now you know.
Take a minute and really absorb this. Assimilate the fact that you need a big ol’ stack of cash to invest, just to keep on living like you live. Now of course this begs the questions “Is my business worth anywhere near that much money?” and “Will it EVER be worth that much money?” The answers are – Probably not and...Maybe, if you act quickly.
If you have a business doing roughly $2 million in annual revenue with 10% what is it worth? According to BizBuySell.com the typical small business multiple is one to three times the cash flow to the owner. So if you take the 10% profit from your $2 million and add $400k for owner compensation from above, we get $600k as the starting number and then multiply it by 2 (to be fair) and we get $1.2 million. Wow, not what you were expecting I bet. Well, it might be worth a little more if you have a whole bunch of physical assets that you can sell with the business, like the real estate and lots and lots and lots of office equipment and inventory and vehicles and office equipment. But if your vehicles are a few years old and the equipment NOT in tip-top shape and inventory not moving, all you really have is the real estate. And if the real estate is worth let’s say $400k, then hey, you’ve got a business worth $1.6 million. That’s not too bad, right. It’s nowhere near the $10 million you now know you need, but it’s a start. (you can go ahead and pick up your jaw again)
Maybe you think you can just go ahead and keep building the business and make it worth enough to sell for a whole lot more. Maybe you can make it worth that $42 million dollars, that’s how much you need to have in annual revenue to sell for $10 million. So if you are a superstar at 50 years old and you have a $2 million business and you did it in let’s say only 5 years. Then hey, you can just keep up the great work you’ve already been doing. Do what you know how to do and keep on building it up. So let’s do the math.
You need another $40 million and the first $2 million only took 5 years, the next 40 should only take you another 100 years, so you can retire when you are only 150 years old.
Ok, that’s just ridiculous. So then, maybe you think that your business is different and you can sell it for the actual annual revenue, no multiplier for you. You are the exception to the rule, then you’ll only need to be at $10 million dollar. So instead of 150 years old, you’ll only be 70 years old ...and then you can sell it. Of course that means your employees will have retired 7 years before you and you’ll only be alive for 6 more years to enjoy it, but you got there. Good for you. But don’t worry you won’t be alone because according the US Small Business Administration (SBA) 64% of small business owners expect to work longer than their employees.
Wait, wait, wait. There is a much better solution, after all, you built this amazing business so you know what hard work is and how to make sacrifices. You’ll simply live off of less, a lot less, a pittance of what you live off of now. You can simply live in one of your kids’ basement, maybe a mobile home. You’ll sell off the toys, buy a shack in the woods, tell the family the vacation house is gone and pray you never have any major medical issues. Now you’re all set to live off of $3,500 dollar per month. That’s your government check for $1,500 and the $2,000 per month you get from selling for $600k (that’s 4% of what you sold it for, not including taxes, please let me know if you’ve figured out how to NOT pay Uncle Sam zero dollars for capital gains tax)
I want you to ask yourself. “Is this what I’ve worked all these years for? Is this what I really want? Is this what me and my family deserve?”
If your answers are NO, then I’d like to show you a better way. Because by saying no, you just opened up an amazing opportunity for yourself ...and your family.
Because despite all of these things going against you, all of these setbacks that are inherent in your industry, some entrepreneurs are growing their businesses exponentially very quickly.
Imagine being able to grow your current business or practice to the $10 million level in the next 24 months. Imagine not having to sell it for top dollar instead of the pittance that everyone else is getting.
That’s exactly what happened to Gerald, a small contractor in south Louisiana. In less than 24 months he went from $600k to over $12 million and prepared himself so that at a moment’s notice he could pull the trigger and sell his entire business empire for a mega payday and live the lifestyle he earned.
And he isn’t the only one doing this, just in the HVAC industry, there have been dozens of guys selling out for $10 million every single year.
That’s because there is this “sweet spot” of exponential business growth and guess what, you’re in it. If your business is doing over $1 million per year, but less than $25 million per year, then you are positioned for enormous growth if you use the strategies I am about to show you.
What would your business look like if it was doing $10 million per year, what would your life look like if your business were at this level?
Here are the 8 steps you NEED to take to get yourself there.
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