First, think about the return you’d like to get. A percentage of dividends annually? Double the value of your equity in 3 years? Whatever it may be, you will be considering whether or not a potential business is going to reach that financial goal you have.
Second, look for profit and growth. They should go hand in hand. The more you grow, the more units you sell, the higher your volumes, the greater your economies of scale, and thus higher profits. Then ask yourself, “Is it sustained?” This is where time plays a key role. Have your sales grown year over year? If the answer is “No” you have a lot of work to do and some time to put in before you are attractive enough for an investor or buyer. No amount of excuses are applicable here. Put in the time and make it happen.
Finally, is the operation turn-key? Can your buyer walk into your business and run it without you? If this idea is foreign to you, I highly recommend reading “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. This book is all about making your business run like a well-oiled machine WITHOUT YOU. Set your ego aside, this is business.
In the weeks and months following my experience on Shark Tank, I realized that I would NOT buy my own business. Why? Because the return wasn’t there. At least, it wasn’t at the time. That hard reality completely changed the way I viewed my business and set fire to a growth pattern.