How to establish a sale strategy and define the selling requirements for your company
Selling your business is often not an easy decision and the entrepreneur/seller often gets influenced by his/her emotions.
Establishing a sale strategy and defining the selling requirements will give a clear path and put emphasis on the end goal.
Asks yourself and answer honestly the following questions to ensure a smooth process and be certain the decision to sell is the right one.
1. Why are you selling your business?
Are you really willing to sell and move on? Or just overworked and need a holiday?
This needs to be taken into consideration.
The entrepreneur needs to be honest with himself and parties involved in the transaction.
2. Is your business ready to sell?
To understand whether your business is ready to sell, you have to firstly compare your company’s processes and the way things are done to the bests in the market.
Take an unbiased viewpoint about the structure, team and performance of the business and put yourself into potential buyers’ shoes to understand what would be expected.
You want to maximize your chances of selling and therefore keep pushing for new business and new revenue streams, as if you were not putting it out for sale.
The better performance the more the business will be worth.
3. Do you know your real business worth?
A professional business valuation exercise needs to be performed to obtain an objective and unbiased value, which will be used as basis for negotiation between the parties.
4. Are you willing to hire an advisor/advisory team?
The process of selling a business can be long and complex.
Specific steps need to be followed to ensure that the correct information becomes available to potential buyers and that the adequate legal procedures are followed.
The seller may see an advisor (or advisory team) as an extra cost that will lessen potential profits.
However, without these professionals, the entrepreneur may never sell his business, for several reasons.
The advisory team will provide guidance and advices when it comes to the financial (valuation, fees to be paid, negotiations) and legal (agreements, closing) aspects of the deal (from structuring to closing the deal).
5. Are you willing to dedicate time for the sale?
Are you ready to allocate sufficient time over and above the running of the business to actually sell it?
A transfer of ownership does not happen overnight and the entrepreneur must ensure that his personal and professional lives are aligned with this project.
6. Are you looking for a specific type of buyer?
Selling your business means selling something you built from scratch.
The entrepreneurs often puts boundaries as to whom he wants to sell the business to as the potential buyer may not fit his ideas of what the business needs to operate long-term.
Whether the buyer wants to follow the existing strategy or pivot the business and take a different direction, the seller will often want to carefully select the buyer to ensure a smooth transition for the company’s operations and employees.
7. Are you willing to finance the sale?
Seller financing is an unconventional way of funding the acquisition of a business venture.
Just like what it sounds, “Seller financing deals” refer to acquisitions where the buyer cannot afford to pay the whole amount in full and the seller offers an alternative to pay over a period of time or based on set targets.
The seller often also works for the business for a while post sale as part of the deal or stays involved in a way or another until the full amount his settled by the acquirer.
This type of financing contains, however, its fair share of risk as there is an uncertainty regarding the performance of the business post acquisition
In addition to the questions above, the buyer will have several questions in mind which the seller needs to be aware of and keep them in mind when putting his business out for grabs:
- Is your business highly reliant on you?
- Is your management team strong enough to run the business efficiently?
- Does your business have a strong competitive advantage?
- Do your products/services have a hardly replicable unique selling point?
- Is your business in line with its time and ready for the future?
- Does the industry your business operates in have a future?
- Does the business have other shareholders?
- Does the business have a good reputation?
- Is it a capital-intensive business?
- How much money would have to be injected into the business post-acquisition?
- Is it a capital-intensive business?
- Is the company indebted in any way?
This non-exhaustive list of questions was drawn to provide the entrepreneur some food for thought and to create the awareness that several interrogations will be raised by the buyer.
Outlining the selling parameters to align all the parties, derive a strategy and ensure a smooth process is key to successfully sell a business.
BYRD CONSULTING can act as your advisory partner and guide you throughout the process.