Selling your business can be stressful for even the most seasoned entrepreneur, but adequate preparation is a key aspect in achieving your desired outcome. If you are contemplating selling your business in the future, here are some tips to help you prepare:
- Give yourself adequate time to prepare for the sale before putting the company on the market. It typically takes almost a year or more to prepare, depending on the size of your business. This process should not be rushed into as you may run the risk of undervaluing your company or having other negative implications.
- Prepare a team to help you strategize your goals, objectives, and projected outcomes of the sale. Three key team members you should always have include: an investment banker or a business broker, a certified public accountant, and legal counsel.
- Take an inventory of your company’s tangible and intangible assets. Ensure that all of the intellectual property assets that the company owns has been properly maintained and are in good standing.
- Gather and review all-important documents (i.e. contracts, key financial reports, and tax documents, etc.) and assess any legal and regulatory issues that may arise when the buyer conducts due diligence. Make sure, to the best of your knowledge (actual and constructive), that there are no legal claims pending against your business, including litigation or arbitration.
- Have a private audit performed by an accountant and clean up your financials.
- Try to boost your sales/revenue. This can prove favorable, as it demonstrates to potential buyers that your business is still viable in the current market.
- Consult with a business broker or investment banker and research the valuations of similar businesses in your industry. Discuss key factors that may affect the sale of your business under the current market conditions. Most importantly, obtain an unbiased third-party valuation of your company.
- Prepare a strong Offering Memorandum. An Offering Memorandum is the most essential marketing tool that showcases your business’ key attributes to buyers. This is where you will show buyers how your business is unique. However, just as you showcase the strengths of the business, you must also offer an accurate portrayal of its weaknesses.
- Finally, pre-qualify potential buyers. Develop a list of ideal buyers that would have an interest in your company. Then, narrow the field of potential buyers by determining if they can meet certain pre-closing conditions. Some conditions to consider may be the availability of financing and/or a bona fide business plan that aligns with your post-closing objectives (especially, if you will have an on-going business relationship with the buyer).
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some helpful tips to get you started on the right track. If you are interested to know more, please feel free to contact us at Hebert-Thomas Law, PLLC to see how we can help you prepare your business for sale.