Thinking it’s time to sell your business? When you’re about to sell your business it’s vital to be well prepared to sell your business in prior to putting it on the market.

Preparing to sell your business is not like preparing to sell a house. A business is a complex and ever-changing asset potentially including consumers, management and staff, stock, intellectual property and good will.

Using our top 5 tips to prepare to sell your business will not only assist you in avoiding costly delays but will also enable you to maximise the value subsequent asking price of your business.

  1. Formalise all agreements

If you lease premises, it’s important to review your current leasehold arrangements and determine:

How long is left to run?

  • If your lease has expired and you’re holding over or if there is only a short period left to run, you should consider negotiating a new lease or an extension with your landlord before you sell your business.

What are the assignment conditions?

  • Your landlord could withhold consent to the assignment of lease if these conditions are not satisfied, so it’s important to be aware what they are and what the landlord can ask for before you sell your business.

Do you fully understand your lease?

  • It’s always worth understanding where you are at with your term, options, rent and other obligations so you can summarise these to a potential buyer. (A commercial lawyer can prepare a lease review for you to form part of your due diligence as well as identifying anything unusual or onerous).

Further to this, if possible, ensure that agreements with staff, consumers and suppliers are up to date and relevant.  Being across that status of all agreements and their importance to the business shows good management and provides security to all potential buyers when you sell your business.

2. Use an experienced and expert broker to support you in preparing your business for sale

Assist your innate understanding of the business with an independent and experience expert in selling businesses, such as a broker when it’s time to sell your business. When preparing your business for sale, you want to have the time to focus on running the business as professionally and smoothly as possible.  This is essential when potential buyers are valuing your business. They will also expertly guide you step by step through the selling process, ensuring that your businesses value is maximised.

3.         Decide what you are selling

  • This is a critical component of preparing to sell your business and can cause issues with potential buyers if not clear from the beginning of the selling process.
  • Take appropriate advice from experts and decide upon whether you’re selling the business or simply just shares in the company;
  • If the business is being sold, you are required to prepare a detailed schedule of all the assets that are included in the sale as well as a separate schedule of what is excluded. The included items should be valued so there is no dispute down the line.
  • You must inform the buyer which (if any) of the plant and equipment is subject to hire purchase agreement or equipment lease, etc.
  • If you’re unsure a commercial lawyer can conduct a search for you at the Personal Properties Securities Register.
  • You should be one step ahead in contacting the relevant companies and obtaining discharge certificates or arranging for the transfer of the hire purchase agreements.
  • If you agree to sell something free from encumbrances which later turn out to belong to a third party, you could be liable to the buyer for damages.
  • If you own your business premises you should consider whether to sell these or lease them to the buyer. Leasing can be useful where vendor finance is involved.

4.         Prepare your financials to sell your business

  • You will need to provide your financials to a business valuer in order to prepare a true and accurate valuation of your business in order to prepare to sell your business.
  • You also need to ensure you have at the very least 3 years (preferably audited) profit and loss statements and balance sheets to provide to any potential buyer (subject to execution of a tight confidentiality agreement, of course).

Read about valuations here

5.         Prepare a seller’s pack

All businesses for sale need to conduct a sellers’ due diligence and prepare ‘sellers’ packs’ containing all information and documents relevant to the business to give to prospective buyers. In any event, you must ensure that your business documentation is tidy and complete and available for inspection when necessary when selling your business.

This will give the buyer everything they need up front, so they can hopefully move quickly with the purchase of your business for sale and potentially increase the sale price.

Get in touch with our trusted brokers.

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  • The disclosers are willing to disclose such information to the recipient subject to their acceptance of the following conditions:
    1. The recipient shall treat all information received from the discloser as confidential and shall ensure that all such information remains confidential and shall not use any such information in any way other than for the specific purpose aforesaid. The recipient acknowledges that all conditions subsequent in this disclosure apply to the recipient and any associates of the recipient be they partners, co‐directors, trustees, holders of shares or officersin entity(s) the recipient has interest in.
    2. The obligations of paragraph 1 shall not extend to any such information which is in the public domain, or which hereafter becomes part of the public domain otherwise than as a result of any unauthorised activity or omission of the recipient, or which is already in the possession of the recipient and was not derived from the disclosers.
    3. The recipient shall return all such information received other than that which is submitted orally at the termination of such negotiations entered into as a result of this agreement.
    4. The obligations set forth in paragraph 1, 2 and 3 shall terminate 12 months from the date of this agreement or upon the disclosers and the recipients entering into an agreement whichever event occursfirst.
    5. The recipient shall obtain no rights of any kind to such information other than for the specific purpose stated in this agreement.
    6. The receiving party will not utilise any material made available to improve, construct or change another business, in such a way as to allow that business to compete with the business being discussed.
    7. The recipient understands that the information has been compiled by GMO from details provided by the Vendor. Prospective purchasers should be aware that it is not intended that any projections or this information be treated as a representation, warranty or promise by GMO or its representatives, as to the correctness of the information, or that all relevant information is contained in the information provided.
    8. The recipient acknowledges that they will not act on information provided without first seeking independent financial and legal advice.
    9. The recipient hereby agrees to declare any beneficial interest in any business that could currently be interpreted as being in competition with the subject business.
    10. The recipient agrees to return all documents supplied within 50 days of receipt (and any copies) should they decide not to proceed. The recipient further agrees to destroy any electronic information supplied by the Seller or GMO and to instruct their professional advisors to also destroy any information passed on by the Seller, the recipient or from GMO.
    11. The recipient acknowledges they are precluded from physically visiting the premises of the business or talking to any client, supplier or employee of the business without the permission of the discloser.
    The recipient/s hereby accepts the above conditions as binding on them in respect of the information referred to.
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