How to prepare your small business for sale

How to sell a business

Whether you’re planning to pounce on a new commercial opportunity or taking the chance to retire and relax after years of hard work, you need to take time to prepare your business for sale if you want to attract the best buyers. So make sure you leave enough time to get your business in great shape, prepare for action and you’ll give yourself the very best chance of success.

1. Make an effort

If you can put some serious energy into your business to improve its prospects, it could be well worth your time and effort. Well-managed, profitable businesses are always in demand so if you can push profits up, get your paperwork ship-shape and streamline procedures, you’ll be quids in when you come to sell. Try to pin down your supply chain as far as possible, confirming contracts and tightening up on payment procedures. Anything that demonstrates your business is in great shape with the potential to grow further will be music to the ears of any buyer.

2. Take the buyer’s view

Your buyer will be more inclined to pay serious attention to your proposition if you can show you run an efficient operation. Take a close look at procedures and see if there are any areas that would benefit from your attention. Detail your revenue streams and explore any opportunities for cutting expenses – now is the time to be on top of your figures and to make sure you’re paying invoices and being paid on time. Remember that buyers will be more inclined to make a good offer if they can see regular recurring revenue or forward customer contracts.

3. First impressions count

When you’ve worked in your business day-in, day-out for a period of years, it’s easy to overlook things that might put your prospective purchasers off. It may be physical factors, such as shabby premises or dated signage; but it may equally be how your business fares online. Enlist the help of people whose opinions you trust and examine every area of your operation as if you were viewing it for the first time. A new carpet in reception, a lick of paint to the building’s exterior or a refresh of your company’s website could make all the difference when you come to list your business for sale.

4. Leave nothing to chance

Do your homework and don’t be afraid to make changes if you believe it will boost profits or improve the appeal of your business. If you want the highest price and the most expedient sale, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and do what’s necessary. It’s foolish to risk leaving money on the table for want of a bit of spit and polish – a few months’ hard work early on could earn you many times the effort in a higher sale price. The temptation will be to go carry on as usual or even to start winding down in anticipation of a sale but if you can go the extra mile, you’ll go into the final furlong with the confidence to negotiate the best deal possible.

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