When you reach the point where you are ready to sell your business, the last thing you would want is to be delayed due to disorganization. Completing the sale of your business can take time, very common to take over a year, so you want to make sure you have all the steps in place ahead of time to make the transaction go smoothly.
Here are some basic steps you should take:
• Get a business valuation – you need a realistic view of what your business is worth from an objective source.
• Gather legible, reliable financial records from the last 3 years – including P&L Statements, Balance Sheets, Tax Returns and Cash Flow Statements.
• Have a good business plan– it will show the buyer where the business has been, its current state, and where it’s going.
• Know your reason for selling – a buyer is going to want a good explanation of why, so be prepared.
• Have proof of intellectual property – have documents showing your trademarks and registrations.
• Keep things stable – don’t launch new products or start new ventures that can add uncertainty.
• Have a written marketing plan – a buyer will want to know what plans are in place to market the business.
• Talk to your lawyer – he will help you get organized and make sure you are represented fairly in the sale
• Be truthful – don’t just tell people what they want to hear, tell them the truth about your business and don’t hide anything. Doing otherwise will come back to haunt you later.
• Show that your business will last after you leave it – good business and marketing plans are key to showing the continuity of your business. Also having thorough operations manuals will help a buyer feel more at ease.
Be sure to cover all your bases when you decide to sell your business as it is potentially one of the most important decisions you can make.