Every day the media brings us yet more twists and turns in the Brexit saga and, speaking to business people from all sectors, the cry that comes back is simply.....let's get a decision and move forward!

No business likes uncertainty as it has a negative impact on confidence and also often delays decisions which could help with growth and new opportunities. 

If you are a business owner and you want to sell your company it is worth resolving that you won't fall into the quagmire that has defined the Brexit saga. Selling a business can be a very positive and smooth running exercise - and most importantly if it's handled correctly it will produce the financial result that you want. This is a big decision and, if you are selling and moving to retirement or semi retirement, the amount you receive could be the difference between an awesome future and an average one. 

Many SME owners spend a lifetime building, nurturing and developing their businesses and, while they may have a dream in their head that they will sell their company for multi millions, unless they plan carefully and strategically they could find they are very disappointed and a lot less wealthy than they had hoped for. 

Some of the key issues to consider when you decide to sell:

 

  • Prepare and research. It's vital to have your company information well prepared for any potential buyer. This is not just financial documents that show the story of your company's growth, but also a strong strategic plan for future growth. Buyers are looking for potential and they need to see they can can maximise it with the acquisition of your business.
  • Allocate sufficient time and resources. Preparing for sale, finding potential acquirers, negotiating the sale agreement, dealing with lawyers and accountants and attending meetings can be very time consuming. Unless you have the dedicated time and resources to devote to this exercise you should consider using a business sale expert who will handle all of these areas for you. A good business sale expert will not only help with managing the process they will add great value and, most importantly, ensure you get the maximum amount of money for the sale. 
  • Controlled communications. Once you decided to sell it is important to keep this under wraps so that you do not alert the competition and also ensure your staff and suppliers are not concerned or unsettled by the news. This requires a professional approach to ensure everything is handled discretely and all key audiences are informed at the right time to ensure support and commitment from everyone involved.
  • Be ready to pass on the running of the business. One of the major challenges for acquirers of businesses is the business owner themselves who is often a key player within the company and who has lots of contact with customers and staff. Building a management team that can run and develop your business is a key to allowing you to step away at the appropriate time. This can be quite difficult for some people so again this needs careful management. 
  • Ensure a win win for everyone. As a business owner you want the best price possible for your asset but it is important to ensure that the acquirer gets a good deal too and they are able to build on your success. If you have loyal staff you will want them to be secure under the new owners and you will also want your customers to continue getting great service that enhances your and the new acquirer's reputation. 

There can be a lot of hype around selling a business but if it is handled correctly and managed carefully it can be a really smooth and satisfying process; and hopefully a lot quicker and less torturous than Brexi!

 

Paul Vousden is a business sale expert. He can be contacted at 07973 428139 or by email on paul@corporate-counsel.co.uk