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Professional Guide to Selling your Business

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By preparing your Business for Sale – you will ensure a quicker sale – with less stress, and less chance of problems afterwards.

1. Know why you’re selling your business. Anyone buying a business will want to know why it’s on the market. So let them know why you’ve put your business up for sale.

2. Get your house in order. Is there anything that would put someone off buying your business? If there is, you need to sort it out before your business is advertised for sale.

3. Resolve disputes. Do you have any ongoing complaints or disputes with customers, staff or suppliers? If so, these must be clearly documented or – ideally resolved.

4. What are you selling? Are you selling the legal entity of your business as a share sale? Or are you selling off some or all of its assets in an asset sale?

5. Take financial advice. There are several ways to sell a business, and some will be more tax-efficient than others. Do your research and speak with your accountant.

6. Who will help me sell my business? Most vendors choose a Business Broker to help them sell their business. They’re the experts, but they charge for their expertise. Some will charge you an upfront marketing/listing fee, and a commission on the sale. Ask what costs are involved before committing.

7. Be realistic with your time. A business sale takes effort, so if you’re busy maintaining operations, then leave it to the experts to help you sell your business. A Professional Business Broker will take the hassle off your chest.

8. Carry on as normal. You’re selling your business as a going concern, so keep it going. Maintaining, or even growing revenues, will get you the best price.

9. Know what your business is worth. How do you value your business? There are several methods – so it’s probably best to call in the experts. An experienced Business Broker will advise you on a realistic market value.

10. Get your premises ready to sell your business. Tidy up everything and make sure all equipment, fixtures and fittings are in good working order.

11. Grab a copy of your lease. How many years are left on your lease, how easy is it for the lease to be transferred, and what terms apply when you sell your business?

12. Decide what to do with your building. If you own the property, you could rent it to the new owners. A leasehold sale makes it more affordable to a wider audience too.

13. Know your business rates and running costs? No doubt you know what all of these are, as you’ve been paying them for some time. But go through them again.

14. Identify all your overheads. A buyer will want to know everything, so have all your overheads in a clear, presentable format to share at the appropriate time.

15. Think about your staff. When should you tell your staff that you are selling your business, and what implications does it have on them? Take legal and HR advice on this.

16. Get your paperwork prepared. Do you have your company’s certificate of incorporation? Is your logo trademarked? What about employment contracts?

17. Know your liabilities. Do you have any maintenance contracts or lease agreements on equipment, vehicles or machinery? Are there any outstanding loans to pay?

18. Get your accounts up-to-date. A buyer will want to know the financial performance of your business today, not just what it achieved last year and the year before.

19. Have a least 3 years’ accounts to hand. Demonstrate a strong financial performance over several years and you’ll be able to sell your business for the highest price.

20. Prepare an Information Memorandum. This document will have everything a keen buyer wants to know. And, put together properly, will help you sell your business. (Your Biz2Sell Broker will prepare this for you.)

21. Be confidential. Don’t share everything with everybody, after all some of the information is sensitive. Have a Confidentiality Agreement signed before disclosure. ( Your Biz2Sell Broker will not give out any information on your Business without receiving a Signed Non-Disclosure from any prospective Buyer.) 

22. Be honest. You need to share real facts and figures, so don’t hide anything. It could catch up with you and result in financial and legal ramifications.

At the end of the day, you have worked hard at your business – and deserve to be rewarded for what you have built. Make sure you are prepared when a potential buyer is on your doorstep. If you cannot give him/her the information they need –  they will soon be gone. Remember there are loads of other Businesses for sale!  That potential Buyer you had – but lost, could result in delaying your sale for months!   

” A Prepared Seller will be a happy Seller!”

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About The Author
Greig Fitzell

Founder and C.O.O. of Biz2Sell Business Brokers. Entrepreneur. Business & Entrepreneur Coach and Mentor.

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