Selling your business can be a complex and emotional decision. It can be hard to let go, especially if you’ve put so much time and effort into building your venture from scratch. However, whether you’re ready to retire or need a change, it might be time to move and consider selling your business.

When it comes to selling your business, preparation is vital.

You want to ensure that you attract the right buyers, maximize the return on your investment, and get the best value for your hard work.

To achieve this goal, here are a few tips to help you prepare your business for a sale. These tips will get your business in the best shape possible for a successful sale, so you get the best deal possible.

Six tips to get your business ready for a sale

Clean up your Financials

When preparing your business for a sale, cleaning up and updating your financials is essential. The state and complexity of your financials will dictate how long this process will take. You will want to ensure an accurate record of all income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

A clean set of financials can provide potential buyers with an accurate view of the business and quickly help them see the real value that you have created.

Make sure all the numbers are up to date so potential buyers can get an accurate picture of the business’s financial health. It is also essential to make sure your financials are accurate:

  • Do your financial statements provide a complete multi-year view of the business?
  • Are your bank and payroll reconciliations pristine?
  • Can you clear out any of the accounts receivables and payable balances?
  • Do the operating assets and accounts make sense in a standalone business?
  • Are there any personal transactions flowing through the company?

Figure out your objectives.

The sale of a business can be a material transaction in your financial life. For many business owners, a large portion of their net worth is in their business.

Business owners need to consider what they will do with the proceeds of the sale. While it might be great to walk away with a large cheque at the end of the sale, the sale can also come with a large tax bill if all the potential tax consequences are not considered. 

Based on your current tax situation and plan for proceeds, your tax and financial advisors can guide you on the potential tax implications of a sale. They could even propose a more tax-efficient structure for sale.

Considerations:

  • How do you plan to spend the proceeds?
  • Will this sale trigger a tax bill?
  • Is a better way to structure the deal to reduce the tax bill?

Consider your business structure.

Is the structure of your business suitable for a standalone sale?

Are you looking to sell any land and buildings as part of the sale?

Are there standalone lines of business that will sell better on their own?

You need to undertake myriad considerations before you sell your business. An experienced advisor can help you decide which business structure is best for the sale of your business.

Independent Valuation

When preparing to sell your business, it is crucial to understand the actual market value of the company and determine a fair price.

An independent valuation can help set realistic expectations for you, the seller and potential buyers. The valuation should provide an accurate picture of the value of your business based on its current financial position, prospects and industry trends.

A professional third-party appraiser will assess the business’s assets, liabilities, and financial performance to determine the business’s fair market value. They will also consider factors such as industry trends, market conditions, and potential risks associated with the sale.

With an independent valuation, you can confidently negotiate with buyers for a good deal for your business.

In addition, if you know how much you can expect to sell your business, you can plan for the proceeds or structure the deal to optimize your tax situation.

Prepare for Due Diligence

Due diligence is an integral part of the sale process. This process can be tedious and cumbersome. While you might know the ins and outs of your business, potential buyers will want to dig in and ensure they are getting a good deal.

Be ready to share your financial statements, customer contracts, intellectual property records, legal documents, employee agreements, and other necessary business documents. You should also be prepared to discuss the current state of the industry and prospects for the business.

Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes and consider what documents they need to make an informed decision.

Having all the necessary documents ready to share will make the due diligence process go more smoothly. It will also demonstrate transparency and help potential buyers trust that you are selling a good business at a fair price.

When you are prepared for due diligence, you can proceed confidently with the sale of your business.

Team up with professionals

The sale of a business can quickly become complex with all its moving parts. It is essential to consult your advisory team to ensure that you understand the financial and legal implications of selling a business.

Financial advisors and accountants can help you analyze the tax implications of a sale. Your attorney can help you review and prepare documents, such as purchase agreements and disclosure documents. Your broker or an investment banker can bring potential buyers to the table and assist with negotiations.

A team of experienced professionals will ensure that all aspects are covered and you get the best return on your investment.

Are you getting ready to sell your business?

Selling a business is a significant undertaking that should not be taken lightly. It is essential to weigh all considerations before making any decisions. By understanding the process, having an independent valuation in hand and teaming up with experienced professionals, you can confidently navigate the sale of your business.

Your advisory team can work together to help you maximize the value of your business and get the best deal structured in a way optimized for your finances.

Contact Ford Keast LLP in London, Ontario, for all your business divestiture needs.

At Ford Keast LLP, our business experts work with businesses of all sizes to advise on financial transactions. We can help you with all aspects of the sale, including identification and assessment of potential buyers, business valuation services and overall strategic transaction advice. To learn more about how Ford Keast LLP can provide you with the best financial expertise, contact us online or by telephone at 519-679-9330.

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