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When it's time to move on

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Last updated on July 1, 2014

When the time comes for you to move out of your business, you need to be prepared so you can leave on your own terms. Exiting a business should be a process rather than an event.

Your exit strategy will depend on:

  • the size of your business
  • its level of profitability
  • the urgency of your exit
  • any other trading and personal reasons you have for moving on.
Here are a few of your options.

  • Passing the business onto family members who share your passion and vision for the business. This may take the form of a buy-out or inheritance.
  • Taking the time to find a friendly buyer who, like you, wants the best for the business and is likely to preserve it in a similar form.
  • Selling to a competitor, or anyone who shows you the money. You hand over the keys and don’t look back.
  • Liquidation – pay off your creditors and other investors, sell any assets, close the doors and walk away to perhaps start something new.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to consider the tax implications. This includes whether to separate business and property assets to facilitate the sale.

Who to tell

When you sell or wind up a business, you must tell certain organisations about the change in status of your business.  Depending on the industry in which you have operated, you may need to notify:

  • the Australian Tax Office
  • your local council
  • regulatory bodies
  • licensing agencies
  • industry associations
  • your landlord
  • your bank manager
  • your accountant
  • your lawyer.

It’s also good practice to tell people you have been doing regular trade with, as well as those with whom you’ve built up relationships over the years.  This includes your customers, suppliers, business associates and advisors, and network contacts.

As you plan the specific method of exiting your business, you should seek support and advice from trusted business professionals such as your lawyer, accountant, or personal and business mentors.

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