I made a mistake with my furniture business (actually, I made lots of mistakes) by not having an exit plan. That doesn't mean adhering to safety regulations and assigning exit designations in case of an emergency (I don't think we measured up). I mean, what is the plan for exiting (selling) the business to get the best profit.
There was a time when it would have been great to sell the business. The economy was doing well. The business was in good shape and we were making money (they could be different things).
I had some business broker call me to ask if I would consider selling the business as he had a client who was looking to buy a furniture business. I'm not sure if he actually had a client (such a cynic). If we sold at that time, we might have done pretty well. But we waited probably another year and got a broker in to value the business. The news wasn't good. He said it was only worth around $75k. I thought that our stock was worth more than that. So, I decided that we wouldn't sell the business outright, but sell down the stock instead.
We sold some stock. But as we were planning to go to Brisbane for six months, we didn't sell enough. When we went over to Brisbane we still had a warehouse full of stock and just locked up the warehouse and left it there. All up we went to Brisvegas (Brisbane) for around 2 years. When we came back we had to do something about this warehouse full of junk (we had some personal items there). We decided we were going to sell as much as we could and move the rest over to our double garage. In the end, we were able to just fit it in the garage. Having accomplished that feat, we thought that we could now go to Fiji and just lock up the garage. That's what we did for three months. On our return, I thought that I needed to slay this beast once and for all. So, while selling down the stock, I advertised the business again. I got a few bites, but no sale. The economy wasn't doing too good.
I dropped the price and added in some junk. It was some office chairs with no bases. You could get the bases, but I couldn't be bothered. We had a buyer from another city. In the end, they got the name of the business and some junk for 1K. It was good for me as I wanted to get rid of those chairs.
I reckon if we sold at the peak, we would have been roughly 200k better off. Also, we would have saved ourselves at least 2 years of dealing with all the 'stuff' of the business. That is a lot of money and time that we can't get back. I don't know if I will ever start another business again. If I do or if someone asks me for advice, I would say,"help!" But I might also come up with something wise and say, "make an exit plan as soon as it starts to be a real business."