Sync your selling clocks

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There are three clocks that should be synchronized to garner the best sales price at the best time.

By Chris Goebel, Owner Crossroads Advisers

You’re probably familiar with the phrases “time is money” and “the clock is running.”

Both are relevant in a potential sale of your family business. There are, in fact, three clocks that should be synchronized to garner the best sales price at the best time. In the Three Clock Methodology:

• The business clock refers to optimizing a business’ attractiveness to a potential buyer and the readiness for a smooth transition

• The personal or family clock deals with the owners’ readiness to step away from a major part of their lives

• The industry or economic clock involves the present and future state of the industry in which the business is involved, and, more broadly, the overall economic and political climate

Unlike the third clock, which is beyond a seller’s control, proper preparation relating to the first two are important. Business preparation includes making sure financial statements are in good order and that a solid management team is in place for a transition to new ownership.

The personal clock may be more complicated when more than one family member is involved in ownership. Even when legal considerations—like percentage of ownership—are clearly defined, disagreements can result in bitterness and unwanted family squabbles.

To avoid such issues, it may help to seek guidance from an adviser who has been through the process. I was so intrigued by the process when my family and I sold Lakefront Lines and Hopkins Airport Limousine Service, I decided to offer my experience to other business owners.

Crossroads Advisers specializes in pre-business transition planning, including succession and exit strategies, and business growth and preparation planning. Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation and business valuation with Chris Goebel by calling 216-202-4296. Learn more at

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