Selling your business is likely to be the single most important financial decision you’ll ever make, so it’s essential that you prepare far in advance. To start that process, consider the following key actions to take and things to consider before placing your business on the market.
Think About Legalities
When it comes to selling a business, legal issues should be at the forefront of your thoughts. After all, selling your business does involve the creation and execution of a complex and detailed legal agreement. There are times in life when it is possible to cut corners but hiring a lawyer or law firm when planning to sell your business is not one of those times. You should also settle all litigation, environmental issues, and other issues in advance that could potentially derail a sale.
Deal with Serious Buyers
Working with an experienced merger and acquisition advisor is an essential part of the selling process. An M&A advisor will help you weed out “window shoppers” as well as prospective buyers who are not a good fit for your business. Any serious buyer should be willing to submit a Letter of Intent. The potential buyer and seller should be on the same page as far as price and terms, as well as what assets and liabilities are to be assumed.
Is your business exit ready?
If you’re planning to exit your company in the near future, you may find EastWind’s Exit Strategy Playbook helpful in developing your own exit strategy, making your company more sellable.
Be Flexible on Price
You should be prepared to accept a lower price than you ideally want. There are many reasons business owners don’t receive their preferred price for their business, ranging from a lack of management depth and a lack of geographical distribution to a dependence on a limited number of clients. Reliance on a small number of customers and/or clients can give potential buyers pause, as it could raise concerns regarding the stability of your business. Addressing these issues years before placing your business on the market can help you best achieve the price point you desire. This is yet another reason to work with an M&A advisor in advance.
Improving Your Chances for Success
There are other steps you can take to achieve the price you desire for your business. Increasing the visibility and profile of your business is always a sensible move. Consider attending trade shows, try boosting your online profile by stepping up your social media game, and explore creating a coherent public relations program.
Finally, selling a business is often a waiting game. You have to be psychologically prepared to wait a considerable period of time before your business is sold because few businesses sell quickly.
Preparation, patience, and good organization will dramatically increase your chances of selling your business and achieving an appropriate price. The sooner you begin organizing your business and working with experienced professionals, the greater your chances of success will be.
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