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Preparing your business for sale

If you are a business owner, you’ve likely found yourself asking:

  1. Am I ready to sell?
  2. How much is my business worth?
  3. How do I prepare my business for a transition?

Each of these questions has likely been met with some uncertainty. The fact is, the decision to sell your business is always complex, as it’s often not only a financial decision, but an emotional one as well. Furthermore, if that decision is haste, and you’re looking to sell in the short-term, you may not be able to realize the full value for your business. It can take up to a few years to properly prepare to sell a business. However, proper preparation will help you attract more qualified buyers and substantiate the company’s value.

If you’re dreaming of that golden retirement, or simply hoping to rake in that extra cash, we recommend you keep the following steps in mind to ensure that you get the most for your business.

1. Get a business valuation

This will give you a realistic idea of what your business is worth from an objective, outside source. By having accurate expectations, you will be able to properly prepare for your retirement or exit plan. It will also help you prepare for future buyer negotiations, and help you understand the value gaps within your business.

2. Prepare to sell your business like you would sell your home

As a home owner, you probably wouldn’t invite a potential buyer inside unless the house was clean and organized. You would also spend some time and money making a few upgrades on the house before putting it up for sale. Similarly, you should make the appropriate changes to your business ahead of time before putting it up for sale. This means getting your books in order, cleaning up your financials, organizing your legal paperwork, etc. This will allow you to make a lasting first impression on your potential buyers and avoid any major headaches at the time of the sale.

3. Consult with a financial advisor

The advisor will go over all of the factors that will boost the valuation of your business and make it more sustainable in order to avoid any major blow-ups during the time of your potential departure. Examples of these factors include:

  • Customer Concentration
  • Strength of Management Team
  • Scale of Business: Revenues/EBITDA
  • Profit and Growth Margins
  • Quality of Financial Reporting and Systems
  • Sustainable Competitive Advantages
  • Market Size and Characteristics
  • Recurring Revenues/Long-term Contracts

The advisor will walk you through the entire process, and help you best position your company to get the most value in the marketplace.

It’s hard to sell a business, and it’s even harder to sell it at your desired price. With the proper preparation and team in place, you’ll be able to take on the marketplace and get that price point you deserve.