Two key elements in any sale process are to present your business in the best possible light and to avoid surprises for your potential buyers – being thorough in preparing your business for sale will help with both and is an essential element in maximising your value.

  • Start now - it’s never too early to start preparing a business for sale. Most issues in any business, given sufficient time, can be resolved and you want to avoid having to resolve matters under the scrutiny of a buyer or be forced to compromise on a solution to enable a sale to conclude.
  • Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes – you know your business better than anyone, what would you be concerned about if you were a buyer? Look critically at all aspects of your business and work out where there are weaknesses that can be improved and also what are the unique aspects of your business that can be promoted to a buyer.
  • Documention and records – do an audit of all your key documents. Do you have copies of all key contracts? Are these the final copies, are they signed, have there been any amendments? Do you know where all your original property documents are held? If these are spread across a number of duifferent holders, it will be beneficial to gather these together in once place.
  • People – it’s important to think about people from two angles (i) are you happy that you have the right people in the right positions? Is there a need to recruit anyone ahead of a sale in order to fill any gaps in your management team? (ii) who will you include in your ‘inner circle’ to assist with the sales process? You will need a team of people to help finalise a sale but you also need to get the balance right between this and letting too many people know about a process, which can lead to uncertainty within the business.
  • Experience – speak to others that have gone through a sales process. Picking up hints, tips and recommendations from those that have undergone a sales process will be invaluable.
  • Advisers – select good advisers. You will work closely with your advisers, so choose people you trust and you think you can get on. We would of course be happy to help!

Read our Q&A - How can you grow your business through mergers and acquisitions?

This article was first published in Yorkshire Dealmakers Guide, produced by Insider Magazine.