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  1. #1
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    Hi everyone, and a question :) - selling a business

    Hello everyone!


    I would like to get some information on selling my business. Can't disclose much details at this point, because I'm not sure whether I should sell my business or not, but would like to ask you guys about it.


    So I'm the owner of a translation group, consisting of freelance translators mostly. I started off as a freelance translator, then gradually formed a team of translators and today I have a successful business, that is totally a one man show- wholly solely operated by me.


    My marketing tactics have been pretty ordinary(and infact, from the stone age LOL), I usually contact clients directly through email and ask them if they are interested in translations- I also mention the key websites(some big names) that we've translated so far. Interested clients contact me, and they further contribute to my business by letting their colleagues know about us. I don't have any affiliate program, just nothing at all- just these simple marketing tactics


    Oh and yes, so far I have marketed the services I offer in one industry only!


    Coming to the income now. Working as a completely one man show and starting from late 2005, I've earned around US$ 1 million so far. Just to re-iterate, all my clients have come from email marketing that I do once/twice in every 7-8 months, and from word of mouth publicity. Actually this is the best I can do working as sole trader, only because my health doesn't allow me to take more tension by expanding the business further. Still, working non stop since 4-5 years has deteriorated my health and that's why I'm thinking about selling all my business to someone who can give me the right price for my business- also keeping in mind the huge potential my business has with an impressive portfolio and customer satisfaction record.



    So can you give me an idea about the price I should expect for my business? I didn't had a website for a long time and whether you believe it or not, I only developed a website last year just to give my business a name- which has been running successfully only on the basis of my name so far Most of my old time clients still prefer to contact me at my personal emails, so I guess I would need to surrender my personal emails and passwords to the buyer...am I right?


    To me, this looks really complicated Please let me know how would I proceed if I finally make up my mind to sell my business. What price should I expect?


    Thanks,
    6thsense


    BTW, sorry for this excruciatingly long post

  2. #2
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    No, it isn't. It is a great post... but I am not 100% sure if this is the right area, so I am moving it to Business & Legal

  3. #3
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Well, lets see. You do some stone age marketing twice a year and earn a cool million in less than 3 years, and that's as an unincorporated individual with health issues.

    That sounds pretty good to me. Send over your financial and if they check out, I'll offer you a million in cash.

  4. #4
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    Closer to 4 years and I'm betting that's revenue and not income.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by amf45 View Post
    Closer to 4 years and I'm betting that's revenue and not income.
    Yes, that's revenue and not the income. But a major portion of this is the income. Just to clarify, the rates I charge for translations are less than what most reputed companies charge. Obviously anyone taking it over from me can charge whatever they want.


    Reputed companies charge not less than 0.26-0.27 USD/source word/language to their customers at an average. Even the start up companies charge not less than 0.15 USD/source word/language. We charge even less than these rates. If anyone takes it over from me and market these services with all the sites/clients we have in our portfolio, there is no doubt that customers will be paying pretty good rates- it's upto the buyer to decide what rate should be ideal
    Last edited by 6thsense; Jul 6, 2009 at 20:50.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    Well, lets see. You do some stone age marketing twice a year and earn a cool million in less than 3 years, and that's as an unincorporated individual with health issues.

    That sounds pretty good to me. Send over your financial and if they check out, I'll offer you a million in cash.
    Not less than 3 years, it's closer to 4 years. I'll surely send you the financial info if I indeed want to go ahead with selling my entire busines, but 1 million would be quite less rate keeping in view the extreme potential this business has.


    If you think like a client looking for translation services, you would think of a translation company that has an impressive portfolio+authentic testimonials+genuine rates. We have all of it so for a new buyer, there will not be a problem in bidding on large contracts and actually win them.


    And why can't I do that? Because for larger contracts, you need a team of project managers and some basic formalities required for bidding. I'll land up in the hospital if I start crowding my office with people and all that corporate stuff


    In case I make up my mind to sell the business and don't get the right price, I'll continue doing it the way I'm doing right now. In that case, I'll have to wait for some more time to get rest in my life LOL

  7. #7
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    BTW, thanks molona for moving it to the appropriate section. Much appreciated

  8. #8
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thsense View Post
    but 1 million would be quite less rate keeping in view the extreme potential this business has.
    Now you've gone and done it...

    You've used the word "potential" in your post.

    Cue 3Six

  9. #9
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    Yes, read my first post where I have clearly written this:


    Oh and yes, so far I have marketed the services I offer in one industry only!


    That means I have made this much money marketing the services I offer in 1 industry only. So if the person/company who buys my business markets the services offered by me outside that particular industry- there is a tremendous "potential" in it (alongwith the regular income from that particular industry)


    May be a wrong choice of word but doesn't matters at all because I have all the info to be presented to a buyer if I indeed want to sell

  10. #10
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll offer $250,000 for the potential only

  11. #11
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    LOL, thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thsense View Post
    Reputed companies charge not less than 0.26-0.27 USD/source word/language to their customers at an average.
    And to think we pay 86 cents a word.

    Frightening isn't it?

  13. #13
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    Yeah, it's frightening as well as ridiculous. Still, some of the popular translation companies like thebigword, applied language etc. charge no less than 0.25 USD/source word! One of my clients told me that once he got some norwegian translations done by thebigword @ 0.32 USD/source word (before we started working for him)!!!

  14. #14
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    In all seriousness, what price do you think is genuine for a business that has generated close to 1 million US Dollars in 3.5-4 years?


    Just want to reiterate that I have just focused the marketing in one industry only, and got so much work that I didn't get time to market my services in more industries.

  15. #15
    perfect = good enough peach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    And to think we pay 86 cents a word.

    Frightening isn't it?
    are you translating something from ancient latin?

  16. #16
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    Actually, it is very easy... Obviously, you think that your business is worth than 1 million due to the potential business. Calculate roughly how much you could do with new business per year. When you have a potential customer, give them the figures (how much the company produces now, of course, and if you want, how much you estimate it could earn) and if they tell you that the price is high explain them that if they do this and that they could have a much bigger revenue.

    If you have someone interested and willing to pay the price, then it is that your price is right. If you have quite a few, probably the price was too low.

    But don't think that someone will buy it for the possibilities.... maybe, they will do exactly that you're doing right now. You can't know their business plan. Simply, expose the possibilities. It will be up to the buyer to consider if they want to expand the business or not.

    But the first price should be the price you want to get paid for it. You simply need to be ready to defend your position, and have clear in your mind how much you're willing to drop the price if you decide to negotiate.

  17. #17
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    Great suggestion molona, thanks! Will keep these points in mind if I decide to sell.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by peach View Post
    are you translating something from ancient latin?
    English to French but the catch is that we (as a Cdn federal government dep't) must use another federal government department to do the translating.

    As such they have us over a barrel and can essentially charge whatever they want, especially as legally all our documents for end-users must be available in both official languages.

    The funny thing? They turn around and sub-contract a lot of this work to private companies (probably at the 25 cent a word rate or so).

  19. #19
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    Exactly. We get projects from an agency that is authorized by the Norwegian government for legal documents translation. No idea what rate that agency gets from the Norwegian government...must be ridiculously high

  20. #20
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    I thought this thread was about how to sell a business and not how much you charged per translation

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by molona View Post
    I thought this thread was about how to sell a business and not how much you charged per translation
    But that's one of the advantages his company has so it's relevant to the discussion

    Plus it helps to show that he actually knows a little about the translation business and isn't just some fly by night scammer.

  22. #22
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    I wouldn't say that. 9-10 cents per word is a normal rate in Spain for many languages (English, French, Italian...)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    Plus it helps to show that he actually knows a little about the translation business and isn't just some fly by night scammer.
    Yeah, I know a "little" about this business. Thanks for your comments

  24. #24
    SitePoint Addict X-Cart's Avatar
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    One question here: there was mentioned that the translation group consists of freelance translators mostly. I believe you have been working with most of them for a long time, otherwise hiring new people constantly is risky because you can not be sure about the quality.

    Also, to continue providing quality service all these people will still need to work for the company, thus new owner will need to get acquainted with each translator. Is my understanding correct?
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  25. #25
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    There are a few translators who have been working with me since a long time. There are also some others that started working for me just a few weeks ago. Reason being I always search for talented translators.


    Quality assurance is one of the main things in this business. Whenever I hire new translators, I look at their previous experience, references as well as work samples. Then I send them a short text(between 200-300 words) to evaluate what quality they can provide in actual projects. So it's not necessary that you continue working with the translators who have been working with me so far. Yes, you can work with them, and can also hire your own translators.


    Any buyer should have some experience of this industry so that the quality is not affected in any way. Also, for each language pair, there should be atleast 2-3 translators so that in case you get additional work in a particular language pair, you don't have to turn that offer down.


    ALL reputed translation companies/agencies consistently update their translators database with good translators. There are many translators who work for you for 2, 3, 4 years or so and then ask for higher rates. It's natural because they also need higher compensation with growing experience. So instead of paying them high price and cutting your profit down, you can simply continue with new translators who have been checked for quality and turnaround time.


    And how would you check the quality of the new translators? You can simply forward their test samples to your old translators, pay them a small fees for reviewing the translations(yes, it doesn't costs much) and tell you which one of them is the best...and there you go- you've got a new talent. The cycle goes on


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