Plan to sell your business – even if you don’t want to

Would your house be ready for sale and your first open inspection is right now, today? Mine certainly would not be. However, regular maintenance and up keep would make the preparation easier and decidedly much quicker.

Having your business ready for sale is a similar process. The unexpected can happen at any time. Something that may require the urgent sale of your business could be a sudden debilitating illness of the owner. A financial or family crisis, not necessarily related directly to the business.

Having your business ready for sale would not only reduce the impact of such trauma, but increase the value, possible sale price and certainly give you peace of mind.

From my own experience, I have a few broad tips for: getting your business ready for sale. Let’s begin with the practical:

  • Have an updated and regularly reviewed business plan.
  • Incorporated in your business plan, a marketing plan that is reviewed and updated regularly – at least quarterly.
  • Have a monthly budget and cash flow in place.
  • Measure your performance against your monthly budget and cash flow each month.
  • Have a policy and procedures manual – updated regularly.
  • Have a risk assessment process in place and review it regularly.

. There are many more practical areas you can look at, but the above is a good start.

Now let’s take a look at the personal, people area of preparing your business for sale.

  • Do you have a business mentor to guide and help you through the process of preparation?
  • Are you preparing your business in such a way, so that you, the owner, become redundant? I could not have sold my last business if I had not made myself redundant. The prospective buyer needs to know that the business can survive and grow without you. The need to do everything yourself is generally based on a fear of giving up control .The opposite is nearer the truth. The more your try to control or micromanage everything, the bigger chance of losing the ultimate control.
  • Replicate yourself – preferably not in one single person. Train others to do the tasks you can do – maybe they will even do it better.
  • Whom have you made overall responsible (apart from yourself)? Who has the relevant authority? Remember you cannot give someone responsibility without giving them equal authority.
  • Have you created a culture in your business and amongst your team that reflects your standards (given you are a business owner, I would expect them to be high standards) of customer service, quality, team work, respect, trust and pride in the product or service you deliver.
  • Does your team know what is expected of them? Has each team member personal KPI’s that are monitored, encouraged and rewarded?
  • How do you involve your team in decisions? budgets? And planning?
  • Do you have a succession plan? – is it accepted and understood?

 

Having these and other features in your business, would not only ensure a smooth and successful sale (at any time), but more importantly, it would maximize growth and profitability, make your work really enjoyable and give you the opportunity for a balanced life style.