If you’ve read my series on business plans for sports facilities, you know that every sports facility owner should have an exit strategy for their business.
Like most of you owners, my own exit strategy for DNA Sports Center had always been to sell it when the time was right. Originally I didn’t think that would be for many years, but I’m happy (and a little nervous) to announce that I officially sold DNA a few weeks ago.
I wanted to share why and how I decided to sell my business in case it helps any of you prepare for your own sale – whether it’s coming up soon or still just “someday.”
In fact, when I opened DNA Sports Center in 2009 (I purchased all my equipment from a recently closed softball facility, bought out a closing Parisi Speed School Franchise and signed a lease on facility space), I did it for two reasons:
- I knew there was a demand for a high-quality sports training facility in the area, because my own kids had been attending the Parisi Speed School that had recently closed down
- I knew that owning a sports facility would give me intimate knowledge and testing grounds for the software.
A third factor in my decision was that my son had expressed some interest in a career in sports training, so I did think there was a chance he could get some great experience there and maybe even run it himself someday.
Six years later, even though there’s still a demand for the training, neither of my own kids are sports training regularly. My son, for now, has decided to pursue the physical therapy route of the sports industry for his career. And, most notably, my software scheduling company has continued to grow — more than tripling its client-base — and demands more of my attention each day.
It was getting more and more difficult to balance the needs of the two businesses.
When I originally opened DNA, I had hoped that it would run mostly on its own under the leadership of the people I hired, but the reality was much different.
My budgets never quite allowed me to hire someone with the business experience to make it succeed completely independently, and besides, it was difficult to totally delegate the operations of something I was so invested in.
I had also wanted to stay involved personally in sports facility management because I was getting great insights for the software and for this blog, but as time went on, I realized that the potential benefits of giving my software business my full attention were difficult to ignore.
After a particularly frustrating period for me staff-wise at DNA Sports Center, I got an ad for a business sales broker in my mailbox. I looked it over, called the number on the flier, and started the process of connecting with potential buyers.
I was surprised at how easy it was for the broker to line up potential buyers, but I was still skeptical that I’d find the right one. I didn’t want to sell to just anyone; I wanted to make sure it would thrive under new ownership.
I had invested in many of the relationships in the business (many of DNA’s clients are personal friends) and also wasn’t sure that I wanted to lose DNA as a testing ground for my company’s scheduling software.
Thankfully, after a many sometimes-stressful months, I was able to come to an agreement with a buyer that I was excited about. Not only was I confident that he had the skills and the time to do a great job with DNA, he was also willing to continue a partnership of sorts with me and my software company.
So, what does this mean for the SportsFacilityExpert.com blog?
Well, first of all, it means that I can share more details about what it’s like to sell a sports facility. As you can imagine, there are a lot of details that go into a sports facility sale that kept me up pretty late at night these past few months, and I’ll be writing more about those specific issues in upcoming posts.
Because I still talk to sports facility owners every day through my software company, I will still be very involved with the issues facing sports businesses and will have plenty to share about the day-to-day practices of running a sports facility.
I hope you continue to join me on this journey. I’m excited to be able to keep bringing you helpful tips and insider information that will help your sports academy succeed.