When the time comes to sell your business, you can make things easier (and more profitable) for yourself by taking care of a few different things before you even go to market. Here are our top tips for positioning your company for acquisition.
Take yourself out of the equation
Small business owners and owners/operators typically undertake a large portion of the day-to-day operations of the company themselves. If you are one of these types of owners, then the value of your business is intrinsically tied to you – meaning that if you want to sell up and step away, you will likely
receive offers much lower than you expect.
You can remedy this situation by installing a manager to conduct the key tasks (ordering stock, marketing, accounting, etc) and therefore increase the perceived value of the business.
Audit the business
Even if you do not succeed in selling the business at this point in time, an internal audit can still be a good move. The aim here is to scrutinize and critique every aspect of the business – from how your shop front/website looks to how you report your finances and everything in between. In addition, you are looking to identify opportunities to improve the business, remove redundancies, and streamline processes – finding these opportunities and capitalizing on them will make your company more attractive to buyers.
Shore up your foundations
As part of your internal business audit, you should also look at contracts. This includes property leases, supplier agreements, and employment terms – what you want to achieve here is a strengthening of the overall foundations of the company. If your business occupies an important piece of real estate and the contract is coming to an end, or you rely heavily on two or three suppliers who have agreements expiring soon, then your potential buyer will be reluctant to purchase (and will definitely offer less than you want).
Renew your contracts in advance of any buy-side due diligence, and the company will be much better positioned.
Plan for the future
Another tip that will benefit you even if you retain the business – plan for the future. Build a two, three, and five-year business plan for the company, emphasizing growth and financial forecasting, and both you and your potential buyer will be able to clearly see the path forward. This will be attractive to buyers and can add value.