Although you may be feeling the need to dispose of your business because of the current crisis it may not be the best time to sell for the price you want.
Even in better times it is a fact that many businesses that go to market fail to sell – perhaps as many as 80%
Why is those so?
And for those few business owners who do manage to sell their business, why do so many of them end up accepting less than the potential worth of their business?
It boils down to business owners lack of knowledge and preparation in grooming the attractiveness and readiness of their business for sale.
Business attractiveness answers the question, “How attractive is your business from the buyer’s point of view?” Business readiness answers the question “How ready is the business to be sold?” They are not the same thing.
Attractiveness is how the business looks from the outside in. Readiness is what’s inside. Offers to purchase your business are generally made because from the outside it looks attractive, but once the buyer takes a deep look at the business from the inside it often disappoints – and because the business does not meet expectations it’s sale price drops.
Even if you are desperate to sell it may be worth hanging on a little longer and seeking some help to improve the attractiveness and readiness of your business for sale. This time and help will have a crucial influence on your sale price and the likelihood of a sale.
But ideally, you should allow three to five years to implement your exit-transition strategy so that you are able to groom your business for sale on your timeline and at the price you want and need.
Here are 8 things to focus on to make sure your business is attractive and ready to sell:
Growth refers to a company’s top line revenue. Strong growth means your company has a history of consistent growth greater than its competitors, coupled with projected, future revenue growth above the market’s rate.
A key component of business value is the degree to which it can generate recurring, profitable revenue. Contracts or other firm commitments are the best way to guarantee future revenue, but other examples include a long-term lease on a high traffic location or a strong loyalty program.
Your company benefits from a well-diversified customer base. Valuable companies have many different customers including long term customers, new customers, and developing customers and minimizing risk by avoiding putting all your eggs in one basket (or just a few baskets).
FINANCIAL MATTERS IN ORDER
All your financial matters are in order and follow best practices. These include clean audits, readable financial statements, operating/management reports, documented policies and processes, and adequate tax, insurance, banking and risk strategies.
SALES AND MARKETING
High value companies can generate and grow future sales; and produce revenue in a proven and systematic way; not simply based on the efforts of individuals within the business today. This includes having a thorough marketing plan, documented marketing and sales processes that can be replicated and scaled, appropriate sales skills and technology (including CRM), and accurate and timely marketing and sales metrics in place.
Your company can consistently deliver on the sales promises made to the marketplace and to do it in a systematic and process-driven manner.
Company value is increased if it has an individual or leadership team in place to carry on the company’s purpose and vision while helping you achieve your exit objectives. This individual/team should be able to execute a plan to run the company effectively without the need for your constant intervention.
The company has all legal matters in order, documented, and your company follows best practices. There are no claims for or against your company, you have a process to handle potential liability issues, you have contracts with key customers, suppliers, advisors, contractors, and employees, and you have agreements with all investors. All IP should be protected, all company books and minutes in order, regulatory filings complete etc.
Whether current circumstances are dictating that you must dispose of your business over a short period of time, or you are thinking about, one day, selling your business then let’s start a conversation.