In all cases, when it comes to selling your business, preparation is the key to maximizing value and reducing risk. Initiating the sale of a business is a major decision. Organizing the process as to preparation, marketing, negotiation and closing is crucial.
Preparation begins with an evaluation. Securing an independent, objective analysis will prepare you with the right foundation from which to begin the process. An evaluation goes beyond estimation of a value. Instead, an evaluation considers the operation of your business as to the staff, product or service, capital requirements, existing contracts and competition. This analysis will provide insight as to what issues need to be addressed in order to prepare for a sale.
Providing financial, legal and administrative documents is part of the sales process. Organizing those documents before the sales effort begins is crucial. Protecting that information is best handled with Non-Disclosure Agreements and a digital based file room. There will be an initial amount of due diligence conducted by the potential buyers prior to their issuing a letter of intent. If an offer is accepted, one of the contingencies will be a successful and more detailed due diligence process by the buyer.
Your attorney and accountant should be fully engaged in each phase of the sales effort. Organizing that team on the front end is a must. The discussion of to sell or not sell, who are potential buyers, what will I do after the sale and how much will I retain dollar wise from the transaction are all issues to be discussed prior to launch. Preparation is needed in order to yield success.
Negotiation is part of the process. Negotiating on your own is rarely the best choice. It is too easy to let emotions drive the process. That could mean accepting an offer too low or rejecting reasonable offers that may not meet personal hopes. Letters of Intent will be requested from potential buyers in order to understand the parameters of their offer. Being able to work through the details is best done through your representative, without as much personal emotion attached to the experience.
Be prepared to be frustrated. Operating a business and attempting to sell is a challenge. Keeping the sales process confidential is important as you consider retaining employees and customers. It may take a year to find the right buyer so realize on the front end that the preparation to sell, marketing and finally closing will take some time and effort. Getting busy or distracted during the process can either delay or eliminate the possibility of a sale.
Remaining with the company for a time of transition may be important to the buyer. Knowing how long and under what terms you would agree to remain requires some thought. Think about your transition as the association with your business comes to an end.
Price CPAs is experienced in the evaluation of businesses and supporting clients in the process of selling. If you have a business you are considering selling, call us to learn more about how we can be of service to you in evaluating, valuing, and selling your business. You can reach us through our website (www.pricecpas.com) or call Alan Webb at 615-385-0686.