One of the most common mistakes that business owners make when selling their businesses is a lack of preparation. Many business owners start making preparations for the sale on the day they make the initial decision to sell their business.
To obtain the best value for any business, it is wise to plan ahead. Business owners planning to sell their businesses in the near future can benefit from the following hints:
Seek Out Professional Advice
Assemble a team of competent advisors in order to effectively navigate the complex process of selling your business. Aspects such as planning for taxes, deciding on value, marketing efforts, negotiating, and closing the deal will acquire knowledge and expertise. Avoid trying to fill all those roles and seek out assistance.
Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for the sale. Seek out advice early and start making other preparations as early as possible.
Consider Your Role after the Sale
This aspect of the decision may be a moot point, especially for business owners planning to retire. However, there are circumstances where a business owner may be needed to help new owners become accustomed to running the business. Make sure all the specific details are drawn out prior to selling in order to avoid a lack of clarity or direction after the sale.
Consider the Structure of Your Business
In some cases a sole proprietorship should be terminated prior to sale. It’s fairly easy to initiate the proceedings to form an LLC or corporation, should such a structure be needed or desired. A successful sole proprietorship could turn into a profitable corporation and a wonderful nest egg if proper planning is executed by the business owner.
Get Your Business Organized
Locate and collect relevant documents and financial records long before losing time. Scrambling for documents at the last minute is never fun and could cost business owners a huge chunk of cash in the long run. A well run business is an asset, so it’s vital that all documents, records, and annual filings are located and kept up to date.
Keep the Process Confidential
An upcoming sale can scare away important clients. Changes in ownership are threatening for all concerned, employees, and customers alike. Don’t allow competitors to use this precarious position as an opportunity to destroy the business. Consider the appropriate time to reveal this information, preferably at a least vulnerable moment possible.
Be Honest about Your Company’s Value
Maintain realistic expectations about the company’s value. It’s vital to be prepared and to understand how potential buyers evaluate a business. Know the company’s most attractive features and capitalize on them. A steady stream of revenue, high profile clients, lucrative real estate assets, and valuable intellectual property are all important factors in determining a business’s value.
Sell for the Right Reasons
Selling a business for the right reasons is important. Making a decision to sell impulsively in response to a minor setback or frustrating situation, is the wrong reason to sell. Business owners should honestly evaluate reasons for selling. Waking up and discovering that there is no more joy involved in running the business is a valid reason for selling. Making an effort to grow the company in a way that isn’t realistic for its current staff and resources is also another valid reason for selling.
Selling a business is a serious endeavor for any business owner. Business owners must complete a great deal of research, obtain relevant and timely advice, and make every effort to preserve the value of the business throughout the sale. Selling a business can be arduous for business owners who’ve placed a great deal of personal time and money into their businesses. It’s important for business owners to attempt to remain impartial during the selling process or find a business broker to aid them in their efforts.