If you’re among the owner managers who’ve savoured holiday sunshine, luxuriated in the relaxed and stress free feeling that going away brings – and yearn to make this temporary feel good factor permanent – then it could be the right time to consider your exit.
You may be among the millions of bosses worldwide who’ve put their exit plans on hold as a result of the tough global economic climate and your recent break has re-energised you to set the wheels in motion.
As an experienced business strategist and management consultant who enhances the performance and profitability of owner managed and family-run businesses across the UK and the US, I want to stress that this demands meticulous planning and cannot be achieved overnight.
Start off by asking yourself some fundamental questions:
Are You Really Ready?
- Do you have any unfulfilled goals?
- Do you really want to leave the organisation or is your current thinking just a passing phase?
- Do you thrive on the day-to-day challenges of a business or are they causing more stress than they should?
- Is the company no longer solely dependent on you?
- Do you have a business management consultant giving you good business advice?
- Are you clear about your “walk away price”?
Is the Business Ready?
When selling your home, you would give it a lick of paint or fix those DIY niggles that have been hanging around. When you’re selling a business, you need to prepare in the same way to understand how businesses are valued and maximise this up to the point of sale:
- Has the business been growing sales and generating profits over the past four years?
- What new opportunities are opening up for the business?
- Do you have a strong management team with a clear vision of how to take the business forward?
- What is the unique selling point for the business?
- Do you have a good quality customer base, with the business not being overly reliant on one customer, and a track record of repeat orders?
- Is the workforce a stable and reliable team with well invested plant and equipment?
- Are all contracts and company policies in place and up to date?
- Do you have a list of any intellectual property owned by the company – patents, trademarks, etc.?
What Have You Not Considered Yet?
- Have you spoken to anyone who has sold their business and asked them, “If you had your time again selling your business what would you do differently and why?”
- What level of understanding do you have of corporate finance and the structuring of deals?
- What commercial negotiation skills do you have? These are different from sales negotiation skills.
- Are you prepared to spend time and energy acquiring and honing these skills?
- Which professional advisers have done the most recent deals in your market?
- Do you want to be an active or passive participant and are your professional advisers happy for you to perform that role?
Do you have any other suggestions for consideration? Have you sold your business and how did it go? Share your experiences with a comment below or send a tweet to @richardwhatif.
For more information, and help to make the most important deal ever, drop me an e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org.