It’s not uncommon for clients to approach us when they’re in the midst of counting down to the sale of their business. Often though, that countdown involves too much wishful thinking about how great life will be after they sell their business, and not enough practical steps achieve a successful and timely business sale result.
Because of this, we’ve prepared our own countdown packed with practical steps that you should take to move from dreaming about the sale of your business to achieving lift-off.
Ready for lift-off? T-minus…
10. Speak with your accountant: The starting point for every successful business sale is to speak with your accountant. Typically, your accountant will have a good understanding of your business – how it operates, and what its strengths and weaknesses are. They can often provide good over-arching guidance on the potential sale of your business and will be a good sounding board throughout the sales process, hence the ideal starting point for completing a sale of your business is to speak with your accountant.
9. Speak with your financial advisor: Particularly if you are planning on retiring following the sale of your business, you should have early discussions with your financial advisor in preparation for a sale. This is vital to ensure that following a sale you will be financially comfortable and have the financial means to undertake your post-sale plans.
8. Arrange for an independent pre-sale review and valuation: It’s vital to know the likely sale price of your business prior to going to the market. Further, its important to ensure your business is in tip-top shape to ensure a great sale outcome. An independent pre-sale review and valuation achieves both of these aims, and is a vital step in the countdown. At Groves & Partners, we have significant experience in undertaking independent pre-sale business reviews and valuations, and hence we can assist you with this step.
7. Tidy up your business so that it’s ready for sale: Following on from advice received as part of the independent pre-sale review and valuation, there may be steps that you can take to improve your business and its value. Now is the time to implement those actions, to ensure the sale price and terms you receive upon sale are as good as they can be.
6. Speak to your lawyer: Too often, business sellers neglect speaking with their legal counsel until later on in the sales process. In our experience, the earlier you speak with your lawyer, the better prepared you will be. Hence we recommend having a meeting with your lawyer before going to the market to seek out preliminary advice regarding the sale, and also to assist your lawyer with getting prepared for their role as part of completing the transaction.
5. Prepare a list of target business buyers: Who will buy your business? Before going to the market, it’s vital to work with your broker or transaction advisor to put together a list of target buyers who you believe will be interested in potentially buying your business. After all, you will not be able to complete the sale of your business without a buyer. As part of this, conduct some research on all buyers to understand their financial capacity and the advantages available to them from acquiring your business, such that you’re best placed to present your business to each buyer in a good light.
4. Prepare sale documents: Together with your broker and sale advisor, you will need to prepare sale documents, including an information memorandum, to enable the business to be presented to potential buyers.
3. Approach your target buyers and seek out offers: Now it’s time to get a deal done, and for that to happen, you need to approach potential buyers. As part of this, your broker should confidentially approach your target buyers, seek out initial interest, negotiate for confidentiality deeds to be executed, issue targets with information regarding your business, and begin the process of negotiating offers.
2. Negotiate a transaction: At this point, hopefully you have a few offers on the table. From here you and your broker will need to finalise the negotiation of terms so that a sale can be completed.
1. Complete the sale: You’ve received a final offer. Now it’s time to close the deal. As part of this, you, together with your lawyer and broker will work with the buyer to finalise a sale contract which finalises the deal. Once you have executed, stand-by for the cheque…
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Groves & Partners are expert business transaction advisors and valuers, with significant experience in acting as brokers on the sale of medium sized companies, and in providing pre-sale advice to business owners.