The Most Important Elements for a Positive Selling Experience & Outcome
As mentioned previously, I have had the pleasure of participating in many transactions over the years and have witnessed good deals and bad. My hope is you find my experiences to be insightful and valuable as you contemplate selling your company. There are many things to think through when deciding if the time is right to sell your business. There are a multitude of considerations once you have made that fateful decision. Previous posts have provided you with “best practices” based on real transactions. This final post will summarize the most important elements in a high-level view for you to follow to experience a positive selling experience and outcome.
How Much is Your Business Worth?
Start by determining the value of your business – how much is it worth? This can be accomplished through a professional business valuation or by using industry-specific formulas and methods. The most common method in the VAR channel is the Market-Based Method; this method determines the payout over time based on shares of revenue generated to the seller’s customer base by the buyer’s company. This method is the most advantageous from a tax standpoint to the seller and is the easiest to understand and administer.
It is very important to spend the requisite time and effort needed to prepare your financials, and other relevant customer and business information. This includes income statements, balance sheets, tax returns, detailed customer lists, and any other documents or information that will be requested by potential buyers.
Identifying Potential Buyers and Marketing Your Business
Next, identify potential buyers and market your business. This includes creating a professional marketing package, listing your business for sale in online platforms, contacting your publisher representatives who have exposure to buyers in your market (read more in post #4), and then reaching out to potential buyers.
Once your business is “on the market” it is important to identify and carefully qualify potential buyers to ensure that they have the financial capability and experience to successfully acquire and operate your business (Read more in post #2).
It then becomes a matter of negotiating the sale which includes discussing the terms, such as the purchase amount, terms of payment, and any contingencies.
A separate topic from the sale transaction, but included in the pre-sale discussion, is determining your role in the buyer’s company should you choose to continue to work in the business. This is also the time that roles are determined for any employees of your company joining the buyer (Read more in post #3).
Closing The Deal
After all of that is agreed to it becomes a matter of closing the deal. This includes finalizing the sale and transferring ownership of the business to the buyer. An important element of this part of the journey is the development of a comprehensive integration plan for both customers and any employees that are joining the buyer’s company. It is vitally important that the engagement with acquired customers and the seller’s employees is executed with professionalism and sincerity and care to make the transition a positive experience for customers, employees, and the buyer. This plan must focus on reducing the risk of losing acquired customers and acquired employees to competitors. The value of the acquisition transaction will be greatly reduced for all parties if churn and turnover occur.
Selling a business can be a complex process and it is advisable to consult with a lawyer and/or a financial advisor throughout the process.
Deciding to sell your business is a deeply personal decision. This is a life decision and do not take it lightly. Many owners have worked extremely hard and made significant sacrifices. Most would do it all over given a second chance. This is the time to reap the rewards for all that hard work. I hope you have found this series helpful, and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
If you have any immediate needs or want to schedule a meeting to discuss your specific business, please don’t hesitate to email me today.