When planning to sell your business, you need to make sure it is ready to sell, if you want to maximise the sale proceeds. You have probably worked for years to build the business, so take the necessary time to make sure that you prepare the business to be in the best possible shape.
The key issues of getting your business ‘fit for sale’ in my experience are:-
- As an owner, you have to be happy that the level of profitability is as good as you can make it; this is the biggest single issue! The level of profitability (current year and previous year) have the most influence on the eventual price. Would another year of real focus from owner be able to improve the profit?
2. Are you ready for a prospective buyer’s due diligence? Before closing a sale the buyer will want to look, often in great deal, at all aspects of the business and it’s records; this is about the necessary “housekeeping” within the business. For example are customer, supplier, premises and employee contracts up to date. Any flaws a provide an ideal opportunity to allow the buyer to renegotiate the price.
3. Are your accounts up to date? Most buyers of £1m plus turnover business expect to be able to see up to date management accounts. If you don’t have them, a buyer may do them for you – which can give rise to some nasty surprised.
4. Don’t forget the balance sheet! Review all of the balance and clear out any old balances or anomalies. You may need to think about clearing loans or director’s accounts. Also talk to your accountant about the best way to take dividends before the sale.
Time spent planning and executing an exit strategy will never be wasted. Make use of CMC’s 25 years plus experience in this area and ensure you maximise the price you get when you come to sell your business.