Deciding to sell a business is probably the most important decision an owner will make.
For most people, it is about more than just realising the financial gains from years of hard work. Finding a good home for the business where the company and its employees can continue to flourish is a key consideration for many owners.
Whilst every deal is different and needs to be handled in its own unique way, there are common mistakes that should be avoided by everyone.
Poor or no preparation
The earlier you start your preparations the easier it is to fix things in advance. Working with advisors a few years in advance will help you to not only maximise interest in the business and the value of the offers received, but also reduce the risks of price chips or a deal failing to complete.
No exit plan
Leaving things to chance or reacting to a cold approach for your business is less likely to result in you achieving the optimal exit. A good exit plan will consider how the business is likely to be valued and what factors may make it more attractive. It’s also an opportunity to review the quality of your succession plans and how key staff have been factored into these, and if you don’t want to work post-deal how you can take steps to secure this with the buyer.
Make sure current performance is maintained during the process
Selling a business is both time consuming and immensely distracting. It is therefore very common for current trading to suffer. A sales process is about building confidence in the company and its future forecasts, so it is vital to try to avoid taking your eye off the ball and letting this happen. A good corporate finance advisor will take ownership of the sale process allowing you to focus on running the business.
Find a great advisor not a sales agent with a slick marketing machine
Selling a company is an intense and often complex process and there is a huge amount of skill in ensuring a deal completes. It is vital you find someone who has the skills to delicately manage the numerous negotiations and commercial points which will arise throughout the process. You want to work with someone who is not only skilled and experienced at identifying and extracting the highest offers for your company but who also cares about the process as much as you do and who you know you can have frank and honest conversations with.