You need to plan to get out of your business, just like you need a plan to get into business.
There are 3 ways to leave your business:
Planning to sell is actually more important in some ways and slightly more complicated than starting up business. It requires foresight, strategising and careful implementation.
Your efforts will help get the best return possible for all of those years of hard work!!!
Here are 5 tips to consider when selling your business:
1) Sell at the right time for the right reasons
In most cases you’ll get the best result selling your business when sales are climbing and profits are strong. If you have a history of solid performance it would be a good idea to consider selling before trouble strikes.
On the other hand, if you’ve been through troubled times but things have turned a corner, you may be best to hold onto the business and get things in order to be able to provide at least 1 -2 years of strong performance history before looking to sell. Remember, prospective buyers will not pay for potential.
External factors which may influence the timing of your sale include availability of financing, changes in tax and other relevant laws, industry changes, the general economic climate and interest rate trends. How are they impacting your business?
2) Decide what you’re selling
Determine what the assets of your business are that have value that someone else is willing to pay for. Selling a business often includes assets such as goodwill, trademarks and client lists/history as well as the physical assets.
If you’re looking to sell to an existing business they may consider your client list to be the most valuable part of the transaction and may not even need to take on your assets. On the other hand, a stand-alone buyer may need to take over everything required to make the business run.
If your business is incorporated, you also need to decide if you are going to sell your business as an asset sale (where you sell everything in the corporation but not the incorporated company itself) or a share sale (where you sell everything including your incorporated company).
3) Determine what your business is actually worth
Buyers are interested in profits, not revenue, and cash flow is usually more important than profits when valuing small businesses.
Consider the business’s ability to sell, its readiness and your timing. There are many attributes that can make your business appear more attractive, including:
- Increasing profits
- Consistent income figures
- A strong customer base
- A major contract that spans several years
There are several different business valuation methods. No one approach can be used in isolation; the current market, economic trends and what other similar businesses have sold for also need to be taken into account.
4) Make sure your house is in order
Prepare your business ahead of time, preferably at least a year or two beforehand. The preparation time will allow you to improve your financial records, business structure and customer base to make your business more profitable and appealing to potential buyers.
Even if you decide not to sell straight away, you will personally reap the benefits and ultimately will increase your future selling price = win/win.
5) Get professional advice
Selling your business arguably could be a bigger event than selling your family home, so do yourself a favour and get professional advice along the way.