Selling your business is a massive moment. It’s difficult emotionally to let go of a project that you’ve poured your heart and soul into for a long time. Plus, you’ll want to extract as much profit as you can from this sale. It’s a complex situation and often it can be beneficial to look to experienced professionals for help.
Below, we explore what business owners should do when they’re thinking about selling their business and how they can maximise their profits.
There are all sorts of different types of deals and financial packages you can receive when selling your business. As such, it’s important to prepare carefully and pick the right exit strategy for you. Ideally, you’ll be looking to make as much money as possible from the years you have invested in the business.
Especially if it’s taken you years to get the business into the right position to be sold. You can go through your preparation efficiently if you take the perspective of a buyer and identify and assess key risk areas in the business.
Hire the Right Team
The process of selling a business is often the result of many years of hard work, so it is crucial that your hire the right team to assist you and your team.
Ensure that the advisers, accountants and lawyers at your disposal have an ample understanding of your commercial objectives and a successful track record in the types of transactions you are embarking upon.
Try to avoid appointing teams on the cheap as this can lose you more money in the long run – gather references from other clients and evaluate what team is right for you.
Deciding on a Value
You need to set a price for your business that is both realistic and appropriate. Asking for too high a price can intimidate potential buyers, whereas being modest with your value can lead to them being sceptical.
There’s little point in developing your business and improving its value over many years for it to be marketed at an unreasonably low value that fails to address the key drivers of your business.
First impressions are imperative when selling a business and you should identify any potential issues that could reduce the value before they become apparent to buyers – avoid going into the selling process when problems remain outstanding as this can destroy your reputation and years of hard work in an instant.
You’ll also need to carry out the required due diligence for your business and prospective buyers. This refers to gathering all the evidence you need to secure to give buyers the confidence they need to commit to purchasing your business.
If there’s a fear of unwanted surprises emerging when buying your business, the other party might make a lower offer to factor in this threat. And this could even lead to the deal failing.
To avoid this situation, you should gather evidence that demonstrates you have managed your accounts effectively for at least two years prior. This can take time to arrange, but it will make all the difference when it comes to selling your business.
There are tax considerations to explore when you’re selling your business. Indeed, tax can minimise the actual money you take home from a deal. When executing your deal correctly you could take home as much as 90 per cent of the sale; or if overlooked, you might only end up with 60 per cent.
By utilising smart tax reliefs – such as entrepreneurs’ relief, capital gains tax relief and business sale tax planning, you can ensure that you receive as a higher proportion as possible from the deal. Just remember to begin this process in advance to give yourself the best chance of success.
Streamline Business Operations
It’s vital that you set out a well-defined strategy within your business plan from the outset. You will need to demonstrate that you have a robust management team in place and that it can function independently of you.
Appoint departmental managers to improve these processes and you can help to encourage and retain employees through incentive schemes.
Other key considerations include making sure you’re compliant with health and safety regulations, property contracts are dealt with, and whether you have certain ownership of intellectual property.
It is best to tackle these as early as possible so that you are able to set out your exit strategy within the business plan that is shown to potential buyers – this will reduce the likelihood of sudden decisions being made and a drop in value.
Being flexible and communicating effectively shows you are committed to the business and assisting the new owners; agree to spend time helping the buyers acclimatise to the business and ensure that it is left in good hands.
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Protect Intellectual Property
When selling your business, all of your company assets will be assigned to the new owner, which usually consists of intellectual property. In certain situations, this can lead to the new owner exploiting the business and gaining an advantage over competitors.
Intellectual property consists of copyright agreements, patents, trademarks and trade secrets. Make sure during the process of selling your business that intellectual property is discussed.
Being granted exclusive rights can be beneficial for the sale as the business will become more valuable and this can fluctuate as intellectual property is an intangible asset.
Do note, however, that remaining in the same climate can negatively affect your business, so be wise with what you plan to give away.
Preparing yourself and your business for sale is vital. It can give you the best chance of a strong deal. And by following the guide above, you should be set to get the cash you deserve for your investment.