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LL

Your #10 tip raises an interesting point. I think people often sell businesses with a focus only on the money and then later look back with regret after six months playing golf.

So my tip would be: work out why you are selling and let that drive the structure. It may be that a partial exit is better for you than a sale would be.

GP

Couldn't agree more LL.

It's surprising how often we work with a vendor and find that half way through the sales process he/she totally changes his mind about what he wants from the exit.

The sale is often as much about achieving a fundamental life change as it is about money.

Dan Carter-S

Couple of obvious ones:

1. Get your books in order. Ideally you should have three years of audited accounts ready to show the buyers.

2. Get your premises in order. Sounds very obvious I know, but when I was an i-banker I was often amazed by the terrible firm impression given by dirty workshops, offices with 20 year old lighting and carpets, no signage on buildings, etc.

Dan Carter-S

Sorry, meant to say "first impression" !!

OH&S consultant in Seattle

Dan,
Similar point to your one on workshop appearances: I think that the sale of a business is a useful time to reconsider whether your OH&S practices would stand up to outside scrutiny.

I often visit factories and, even in this more OH&S conscience time, am often not given ear plugs, saftey vests, etc. And sure enough, on the shop floor the saftey practices are as poor as the place is dirty.

GP

A lawyer friend sent me a text with a useful tip:

assume that potential buyers will want to read your board minutes from the past 12 months . . . write them accordingly.

FB

Make sure that employment contracts are in place for all important members of the management team

nkalakatha

The most important one for me is to ensure that the accounts are in order - both statutory and management accounts. It is worth making an investment in a decent accounting firm to ensure that the accounts are in as good condition as they can be before buyers pitch up.

Nothing more embarrassing for a seller to find that their earnings are much lower than they had thought because there is a stock write-off, an uncollectable debt, or whatever hiding in the books.

Florida Business Brokers

Very good post with some excellent advice. Business owners should be running their businesses with an expectation of building a business to sell.

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