Time and again, business owners will say that they don’t want to spend more than they have to when selling their business. Business advisers are seen as a costly, necessary evil, and they will do anything to cut those costs with a ‘spot of DIY’. They should ask themselves:
How often do you sell your business?
My reply is: ‘Once, if you’re lucky – so how come you think you know all the ins and outs?’
A strong team of three professional advisers will smooth the way to a successful sale at best value. They usually add value and more than pay for themselves – provided you have selected the right team.
So, which professional business advisers are essential?
It is important to review current arrangements ensuring that the legal team has spot-on experience in commercial law relating to business sales, and who will respond promptly and correctly to buyer enquiries.
In one recent case, a new legal team did a preliminary due diligence assessment and discovered that the owners had not obtained change of use authorisation to allow manufacturing to take place there.
They also discovered that the deeds recording the sale of original shares to the current owners had been LOST (by another law firm!).
Both issues were resolved before the sale process started – how much value would have been lost if they had not?
Everyone appreciates the need for regular financial reports, but some business owners have higher standards than others. The reports are not always as frequent as they should be, and may contain inaccuracies.
Also there may be certain costs that would not be incurred under new ownership. These need to be isolated and reversed out in arriving at a realistic valuation of the business.
The financial records need to be meticulous so that a buyer’s due diligence searches will have most questions answered on the first trawl.
Again, it is essential that you have a ‘business-savvy’ accounting firm advising you, so that you are best-placed to anticipate and respond promptly to buyer queries or objections.
General management, governance, preparing to sell
Legal and accountancy professionals claim to offer consultancy services but usually focus on their own specialism.
The Directors and Managers need to be prepared in-depth over a longer timescale. The independent business adviser such as CMC Partners will guide the vendor through every step of an unfamiliar, alien process.
The main examples demonstrating the need are as follows:
A prospective buyer wants reassurance that there is management continuity post-exit. He/she will expect key managers and staff to be fully briefed and supportive.
You must ensure that the buyer receives a warm welcome from the ‘Remain’ team, and this needs to be well prepared in terms of ensuring that the right team is in place.
Vendors must be alert to what the buyer is looking for in negotiations. No matter how good you are in selling merchandise or services, selling your own business is very different and you must be fully ‘groomed’ for the challenges to achieve best valuation.
Occasionally, it may be necessary to call in ad hoc specialists; for example, on property, especially if the business owns the premises freehold. Is it more valuable to include the freehold in the sale, or not?
Selling a business is all about confidence
which derives from the vendor knowing what to do and recognising the need for specialist advice from those with experience in corporate transactions. The cost of such services must be carefully negotiated but ultimately the cost should better be regarded as an investment:
To Secure best value when selling your business
The process is inherently simple, provided that the business has been set up in the right way.
CMC Partners over the last 27 years have been involved in many business sales, reaching a total value of over £156 Million to date. We have the experience and the skills to help you.
If you are thinking about selling your business and need the right team, contact us by calling 01844 319286 or complete the form below.