Preparing your business for sale can be a lengthy process, and one which requires a lot of consideration if you are to get the best possible price for it. Whilst timing can be everything, there are other things you can do to maximise its market price.
Even if your business is in financial trouble, it’s important to do what you can so that you stand the best possible chance of making a good sale. There are lots of professionals who can help you prepare, but here are a few helpful tips to get the ball rolling before you begin your new chapter.
Know what you are trying to achieve
When preparing your business for sale, it’s important to know your reasons for doing so. Do you have personal reasons for wanting to sell up, or is it a necessity? Whether your main objective is to sell as quickly as possible or for the highest bid, having a good idea of your objectives will give any professionals you have employed a clearer understanding of how they can help.
Being able to talk about why you are selling and what you want to achieve from the sale is also important to potential buyers. For example, if you are still hoping to have a continued involvement in the business, a potential buyer might want you to define your expectations before they proceed.
On the other hand, if your business needs new investment in order for it to survive or grow, you need to have your facts and figures in order so that you can guide the process effectively and secure the most appropriate buyer.
Give your business a spruce
As you would if you were selling your house, ensuring your business is operating at its best, giving your work space a face lift and generally making sure everything is running effectively is advisable when preparing your business for sale.
This is especially important if you are wanting to maximise your profits. While sprucing up the business might cost you, speculating to accumulate has its advantages. Ironing out any issues before it is put up for sale will prevent potential buyers from having too much leverage to negotiate.
Whether it’s minor aesthetic improvements to the office or more logistical updates to your systems to make them more effective, taking the time to paint your business in the best light possible will help create a good first impression once you put it up for sale.
Know your business’s value
Once you have identified what you want to achieve from the sale, it’s time to value your business. This can be based on a number of factors, but the valuation can often reflect the reason behind putting your business up for sale in the first place. If time is of the essence and you need a speedy exit strategy, you might want to consider how much you would be prepared to accept for the business in order to make a quick sale.
It’s also important to view the business objectively. If you have owned the business for many years, it might be that you have invested emotional value in the company that outsiders might not be able to see in the same way. Trying to gauge an idea of how an unknown potential buyer might objectively value your business is a good place to start. Additionally, doing some research into sales of similar businesses in your industry may help give you a good guide not only as to their value but how long it took them to sell.
In addition to this, be sure to obtain a professional valuation from a specialist. They will want to know and understand your aims and objectives for the sale before they can assess its value in the market.
Ensure your accounts are in order
To ensure potential buyers have confidence in your business, make sure your finances are in order and your business accounts are looking healthy. Have the relevant and accurate financial documentation to hand, as both the professionals you enlist to help with the sale and potential buyers will inevitably want to see them. Expect to provide at least three year’s worth of information such as company reports, asset valuations, turnover and profit figures.
If you are hoping to sell the business due to financial difficulties, you might be worried that the business will be hard to sell at all. While some buyers may be hoping to get their hands on assets at a much lower price than they’d otherwise be worth, a struggling business can be attractive to ambitious investors who see an opportunity for a complete overhaul.
On the run up to the sale
When deciding to put your business up for sale, it’s easy to get bogged down in all the preparation, especially if you’re after a quick sale. Don’t forget that in the meantime you still need to keep the business ticking over. It’s important not to take your eye off the ball and give prospective buyers a reason to put in lower offers than you were expecting.
Running frequent health checks on your business, making improvements where necessary and keeping the accounts in order as you would usually are all still necessary when preparing to sell.