As a business owner, you should be asking yourself several questions: What resources you have in terms of people and money, how can you grow to where you want to be, whether you can raise private equity funds or incur more debt--and what's a realistic outcome from all these types of questions? If they're not adding up, perhaps it's time to consider a sale.
Ultimately, any risk is the franchisee partners' risk, so you must be non-emotional if the time to sell is now. It's not about your personal gain; it's about keeping your brand and your business moving forward. Bottle & Bottega was too small for private equity and wasn't excited about additional debt from a loan. Early conversations with Joe Lewis, the new CEO of Painting with a Twist, started off well and felt right. In this regard, timing is everything for a business owner. While you may not want to let go of your baby, you must do what's best for the business and enable it to reach new heights.
Be Heard: Speak Up for Your Brand
Be open to change and open to the option of selling. It takes incredible mental and emotional strength to say it may be time. Verbalizing the notion that you'd consider selling can be humbling. Initially, network with those you trust and have been down the same path. Having said that, do not shout from the rooftops, "I want to sell my business!" You must be thoughtful and purposeful. The franchise community is intertwined with experienced, trustworthy leaders - one of whom suggested Bottle & Bottega speak with Painting with a Twist in the first place.
The first conversation consisted of talking business, not a sale. Joe Lewis, Painting with a Twist's CEO, offered thoughtful industry insight before considering a sale - we didn't begin with, "Would you like to buy my company?" Instead, we discussed the landscape of the paint-and-sip sector, our experiences, culture, management styles, our hopes and dreams for our businesses. The purchase was an organic process from there. Obviously, Bottle & Bottega and Painting with a Twist were competitors, but you need to be close and kind to your competition - they may purchase your company one day.
Speaking the Same Language
Adding to the smooth transition was the fact that Bottle & Bottega and Painting with a Twist were in the same industry. The learning curve wasn't nearly as hard as teaching someone a new business. The transition to becoming Painting with a Twist's COO was seamless, after eight years of experience with...