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Selling Your Firm

When the time comes to consider what's next (and inevitably the time will come), should the business owner simply close the business and retires? Perhaps, if that is the plan. But other options should be considered. So much has gone into building your brand, it has real value; in some cases it is the most valuable asset of the business owners. What is your intention? What is the business worth? What should be your gain from the value of your brand, and your investment in your business? Brands like Chanel, St. Laurent, Dorothy Draper and McMillen still thrive even without their founders and namesakes. How would you plan to sell your interior design business?

There is no single approach that suits all businesses, and no valuation model that's right for every one. But basic steps can always be followed, such as planning and preparation. When the prospect of retirement approaches, be proactive rather than reactive to circumstances. Be patient, but be prepared. Pay particular attention to your role before, during and after a sale. If you have staff or associate designers, how will your plans affect them; Are they to be included in your plans or not? If so when should you tell them? Might they be induced to buy the business from you, under the right terms and circumstances? Who will write the offering, solicit prospective buyers, value the business and manage the transaction?

The investment in qualified advisors before, during and after the process usually pays rich dividends and helps avoid costly mistakes or unrealized potential premiums on the sale price. (Sounds like the worthiness of hiring an interior designer, doesn't it?). Persons familiar with the interior design profession (consultants, coaches, accountants, lawyers, financial planners, etc.) are usually well suited to serving serve your interests.

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