Selling Your Business At Retirement

Learn how to be prepared to sell your business when your retirement is around the corner.

Did you know:

Annually, over 80,000 solvent businesses owned by those age 60+ are wound up in the UK when they could have, with the right guidance and expert advice, been sold on

If you are a business owner thinking about your upcoming retirement then you should start planning how you are going to sell your business now.  

For that very reason, we've put together this helpful guide that will help you prepare for selling your business once you retire.

1. The importance of planning ahead

First of all:

It is prudent to maximise your business capabilities as much as possible before embarking on finding the right buyer.  

The key is to plan early.

Selling a business for the right amount and to the most suitable buyer can take time. 

two people in meeting room discussing

There is plenty of competition in the market and it is paramount to ensure your business is an attractive prospect to potential buyers – remember it is never too early to begin planning for your sale. 

grey-haired man looking at colleagues at table

2. Have your team ready

You should ensure you have a trusted team of specialists in place.

This should include a solicitor an accountant and your business agent. 

Take time to understand each step of the process, take an interest in the negotiations take advantage of the regular updates that you will receive from your agent. 

Remember: if in doubt, ask! 

One area that is often not taken into consideration until later on in the process is taxation.

Speak to your accountant to understand the tax implications of your business sale and exactly how much money you could walk away with.

3. Removing yourself from the business

It is important to be able to demonstrate to potential buyers that the business will run just as smoothly without you at the helm.

Therefore it is a good idea to ensure you have a good manager in place.

If you have a business partner you must both be in complete agreement with your selling strategy.

Remove any weak links - think carefully about your managers to ascertain their capabilities and effects on the business.

older man going through paperwork with woman

many hands placed on top of each other

4. Keep focussed on the business

Keeping your eye on the ball with your business as you approach your sale and retirement is essential to ensuring you complete your deal promptly for the best possible selling price.

But why is that?

It's actually very simple:

Taking your eye off the ball can affect staff morale, customer retention, finances and as a result the value of your company.

One step that can show your professionalism and make your business more attractive to would be buyer is to create a growth strategy showing where you see the business going over a 5 and even 10 year period.

Set out clear goals and how you view the pathway to achieving these goals.

A buyer will want to know what the potential is, especially if they are new to your market.

For example:

You will need to show where your clientele is coming from, where the high street or area you are situated is heading.

Reassure potential buyers that you comply with legislation such as health & safety. 

If you are aware of things that need to be addressed, resolve them prior to sale to avoid any unnecessary delays and leave the best possible impression.

5. Think about what you’re going to do next

Once you have successfully sold your business you can concentrate on exploring new opportunities.

Whether you dream of leisure activities or taking up new challenges, the sale of your business should give you the opportunity to determine your future.

As you’re approaching your retirement, think about how you want to sell your business.

blue ocean with a red sailing boat

Planning early and speaking to a business agent will give you the best opportunity to maximise the value of your business that will provide the largest possible retirement fund.

And those are some of the ways you can begin preparing the sale of your business once you're getting closer to retiring.

With the steps laid out in this guide, you can approach retirement with a foolproof plan and a much higher success rate when it comes to selling on your business.

If you're looking to sell view our selling a business page or see more of our guides, insights and news articles.

Or sign up for our newsletter below and receive new guides directly in your inbox.