How to Sell a Business

Selling a Business Guide Image

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.  

The importance of planning ahead

Firstly, it is prudent to maximise on your business capabilities as much as possible before embarking on finding the right buyer.  The key is to plan early as selling a business for the right amount and to the most suitable buyer can take time.  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. 

Have your team ready

You should ensure you have a trusted team of specialists in place such as a solicitor and an accountant as well as your business transfer agent.  Be aware of every step of the process so you are fully aware of all negotiations and you are a part of everything that is going on. 

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.

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 and to do this you should plan to carry out a review assessment on all your managers to ascertain their capabilities and effects on the business.

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 that you complete your deal promptly and maximise your selling price. 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.  As an example, you will need to show where your clientele is coming from, where the high street or area you are situated is seen to be heading in the future as well as showing your potential buyers what your health and safety strategy is if this is relevant to your industry.  If there is anything you know needs examining prior to a business sale, find a solution to issues so they do not hinder any deals.

Think about what you’re going to do next

Of course, once you have successfully sold your business you can concentrate on exploring new opportunities.  Whether you dream of leisure related activities or taking up new challenges, the sale of your business will hopefully give you the flexibility of working if you want to and enjoying recreation as well as a well-earned period of relaxation!

As you’re approaching your retirement from your own business, take serious thought to how you want to sell your business. Planning early and speaking to a business transfer agents will give you the best opportunity to maximise the value of your business that will provide the largest possible retirement fund.

If you're looking to sell view our selling a business page or see more of our how to sell a business guides.