Preparing to sell your business

Is a sale realistic?

You can only sell your business if someone is prepared to pay for it. If you can't identify strong reasons - that can be easily substantiated - why your business would make a good acquisition, it's likely to be difficult to find a buyer.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the business healthy? A business in trouble is difficult to sell and potential buyers are likely to wait until they can get assets at a knockdown price - although sometimes financial distress can be a motivating factor to a buyer who can see a turnaround opportunity.
  • Are the basics in place to make the business attractive? Buyers like well-organised businesses with strong management. For more information, see the page in this guide on how to streamline your business operations.
  • Does the business have a good financial record? Buyers prefer a record of smoothly increasing profits with good growth potential. For more information, see the page in this guide on how to show strong financial performance.
  • Can you identify potential trade buyers and a good reason why they should want to buy your business? Buying a business can be disruptive and expensive. Potential buyers may prefer to concentrate on their existing operations.
  • Are the existing management team interested in buying the business? You may find that they are the only potential buyer and that they only offer a modest price.

It usually pays to start planning a sale well in advance. This gives you time to groom the business - fixing any issues which could dramatically affect its value and making it as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

You may also want to get a preliminary valuation before you offer it for sale. For more information read our guide on how to value and market your business.

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