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Sell business or close?

Home Messageboards Freelance and Entrepreneur’s Forum Sell business or close?

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    I was planning to retire this year and sell my small but successful cafe business. I have 16 employees currently on furlough while we’re closed and I had every intention of reopening when we can. We run cafe mornings for older people and mums groups etc, so very much a community hub in semi rural area.

    But my pension has taken a massive hit lately. I don’t want to close my business and lose the jobs for my staff, and the services for the community. If I sell it, the plan was to make sure their jobs were protected in the sale. But I’m not sure I’ll get a buyer in this climate, and even if I do the sale might not be enough for my retirement.

    Should I keep going even though this year is probably going to lose me money? Or should I close the business now while there is still some money in the bank? Or do I wait for a buyer? What would you do?


    Gosh yes, Andre, I can see your problem there. It could go either way.

    However you’ve asked me what would do and my immediate answer is that I would keep it going, rebuild it this year and possibly next year (or part of it) and then sell. That’s what would do, but I can’t say 100% if it would be the right thing. There are too many variables.

    My thinking is:

    – given that your pension has taken a hit, it’s best to put off taking any of that anyway, so ideally you will need to keep going with a different income for a bit anyway

    – you say that the cafe is a kind of community hub so I think it would be really good for those who live in your area to be able to come back to the cafe once they are allowed to and get some normality back into their lives. Whoever you sell it to might not keep it going in such a caring way.

    – I do think that once we are let out of lockdown we will be rushing to our cafes, restaurants and other places we love to go so I think that your business will build up pretty steadily, even though there will still be many people who will be afraid to go out for some time.

    – post COVD-19 we will probably run businesses a bit differently so this will give you the chance to change a few aspects of the cafe in order to sell it well. You might change the way the seating is arranged, for example, or put in some very obvious hygiene measures that will reassure people.

    I’m a BIG fan of cafes generally – I really miss the ones I go to regularly – so I do hope you continue to provide this service to the community, and employ good people, for a while before moving on to something new 🙂

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