I saw an article by Built to Sell author John Warrillow on Inc.com entitled, “Selling Your Business for Parts“. I liked that title. It has cache. You may think that selling your business for parts couldn’t possibly have cache because that means that you failed. Well, the last time I checked, we all fail. The only real way to learn is to fail. When you learn how to walk you constantly fall down. You don’t stay on the ground and crawl for the rest of your life. You get back up. As we mature into adulthood we often forget that and end up associating a lot of psychic pain with so-called failure. Failure is really only a learning experience. The real failure occurs if you don’t learn something from that experience and decide to never try again. Practice makes perfect. In the tech sector they say, “Fail quickly.” Failure is expected…but so is learning from that and eventually obtaining great success.
With that said, selling your business for parts acknowledges that your business as a whole didn’t make it but you probably created some value in that business. By considering, “I can sell some parts of my former business.”, you force yourself to think about what has value and why. This leads you down the road of what Microsoft called a post-mortem. What still works? Why? What didn’t work? Why? By breaking what you had down into the business’ components, you get a better, more realistic view of your business, your capabilities and skills, and your weaknesses. Perhaps the business components that are sellable align with your strengths. Whatever your post-mortem analysis, looking at the business you founded but are now leaving, from a component perspective can help you realize that a lot of good came out of the business…and that you may actually be able to reap financial benefits now for those valuable parts.