Business development · 22 January 2020

How to sell your business successfully

Does it surprise you that?50% of business owners will try to sell their business themselves, perhapsto safeguard the work they have poured blood, sweat and tears into By devoting adequate time to the sales process and communicating clear objectives from the get-go, you can ensure they strike upon a deal that ticks the right boxes and is a worthy culmination of your hard graft. If you are thinking of selling your business be sure to read below.

1. The devil’s in the details?

A successful exit strategy should start with taking a long, hard look at the business in its current state. Allocating time and resource to the audit process is key, as sellers must put themselves in the buyer’s shoes: shining a light into all corners of their business, and anticipating potential stumbling blocks.

Owners may occupy one of two extremes, either viewing their business through the rose-tinted spectacles of a proud parent? or applying the hyper-critical gaze of someone who has made a success of identifying and ironing out the cracks. In light of this, bringing in external expertise, be it legal, financial, or strategic, can pay dividends, providing a crucial objective eye.

A review that is one step removed from day-to-day operations can give an honest overview of the business. Highlighting those areas that are working well and which will be key to a sales process as well as pointing out those which may need to be addressed before a buyer starts to look at the business closely. From GDPR compliance strategy to customer contracts on the cusp of being signed, a third party can help provide a balanced view of what is, and, as importantly, what will not be of interest to a buyer.

This also involves total honesty about any weak points. Rather than papering over cracks, owner-managers will want to showcase their business in its best possible state the equivalent of baking fresh bread before people come to view a house that is for sale -? whilst maintaining a perspective of will be important for a buyer: businesses are living, breathing machines, and no-one expects them to be faultless!?

2. Communication is key

employees abroad

At this point, it is important to carefully choose who to keep the loop. A balance between discretion and honesty can be struck by defining a core team to inform, choosing the management level roles where business decisions can be communicated without taking the risk of distracting delivery teams.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Ryan Hawley is a partner and corporate finance specialist at law firm Mills & Reeve.

Entrepreneur