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Sell your business equals entrepreneurship?

Sell your business = entrepreneurship, really?

The other day a business owner told me that he would only consider himself a successful entrepreneur only after he has successfully sold his business. Needless to say my response was one of amazement and I was a little incredulous because I disagree. You don’t have to sell your business to call yourself an entrepreneur. It’s only a label and given the challenges of starting a new business, surviving to break even and growing it to turn a profit, I would say that’s entrepreneurship in its own right and everyone who’s done that deserves to wear the badge of entrepreneur with pride. In fact, in my book, anyone who’s started a new business and had to wrap it up is also an entrepreneur, that includes Kim and myself.

Selling your business could be seen to many as icing on the cake that is ‘business’. Just another goal/achievement to be ticked off a long ‘to do’ list (‘Sold business? Check.). But to link entrepreneurship to selling a business seems to only be acknowledging part of the journey instead of the whole and certainly misses out the startup phase.

Not everyone wants to sell their business, especially if they’ve used our  ‘Calculate Your Walkaway Price Pack‘ and discovered that they are better off keeping the business to suit their lifestyle (whether that’s desired or current!) and indeed some have deliberate plans not to. And that’s perfectly alright even though this website is targeted at those that do want to sell their business! I wouldn’t exclude them from being entrepreneurs because of that decision that they’ve made.

But as we know everyone has their own definition of entrepreneurship. Some define is as having more than one business startup (which may lead to a successful business sale), others say its depends on the size of the company (be it number of employees, revenue, profits, number of offices, international presence?). Would you give yourself the ‘entrepreneurship’ label only after you have successfully sold your business?

Joanna Miller helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is helping owners understand how to prepare and make the most of their business sale process to maximise their company’s value. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase her book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale

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