7 Steps to Selling Your Business at the Highest Price
Selling your business does not happen overnight. It’s a long and tedious process that starts with the decision to sell the business and ends at the closing table. To help prepare business owners for that event we've identified 7 important steps they need to follow early in their planning that could make a huge difference in the selling price of their business.
1- Plan your Business for Sale – Once you decide to sell your business, get a Certified Business Valuation Analyst (CVA) to perform a valuation of your business so you can have a good idea of what your business could sell for. Focus on working on areas of opportunities to boost your short-term performance to increase the value of your business before putting it on the market.
2- Determine the Right Time to Sell – Once you have significantly improved the value of your business, it is time to put your business up for sale. By choosing the right time to sell your business, you are in a good position to negotiate a good price for your business particularly if you are not under pressure to sell immediately.
3- Lessen Your Business Risk – Over-dependence on a few clients is risky for the business. It is crucial to diversify your client base. The same goes for employees. If your business depends on one or two key employees for its operations, it is absolutely vital that either you tie them in the business or you cross-train your employees so no one is more essential than others. Make sure your trademarks as well as your intellectual properties are well protected.
4- Put in Order Your Systems – A potential buyer’s confidence will be greatly re-enforced when he/she knows that your systems are running perfectly and that there will no be any disagreeable surprises.
5- Encourage Competition – The more competition among potential buyers, the more opportunities you have to sell your business at a higher price. It is, therefore, very important to market your business in a very attractive way to potential buyers.
6- Structure the Deal – A structured deal may increase the price the purchaser is willing to pay. For example, you might commit to continuing to manage the business for a year or two, or link the price to future earnings – reducing the purchaser's risk. Being willing to defer part of the purchase payment may also encourage purchasers.
7- Plan for Tax – Making sure the deal is tax-effective for you can have a dramatic impact on the net value you receive.
Achille Ekeu, MBA, CVA
The Washington Valuation Group
Achille is a Certified Valuation Analyst and Member of the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) in the DC-MD Chapter. He is also a Management Consultant Member of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC-USA) in the National Capital Chapter. Achille can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-240-274-9570.