Planning to sell your company? You should know that doing so is rarely as simple as putting your company on the market and watching offers roll in. These strategies can increase your odds of success, no matter what your ultimate sales goals include:
- Price your business correctly. As with any other product, price it too low and you'll leave money on the table. Set your sights too high and no one will be interested. The psychology of valuation is a fickle thing, and owners aren’t typically the best at determining the true value of your business. So consider working with a professional valuation expert who can help you identify value drivers and areas for improvement, then determine the right sale price.
- Spruce it up. The buyer wants to see that everything is in exceptional working order. Your facility itself should be attractive and updated. Spend some time updating your records, too, since they lend significant curb appeal. If your financials are a mess, it doesn’t matter how good the external facade looks.
- Know why you’re leaving. Buyers will want to know the reason for your exit, since that may affect their assessment of the health of your business. Be prepared with the answer. It’s better if you’re leaving for reasons having nothing to do with the business, such as your retirement or burnout.
- Work with an advisory team. Even if you’ve run your business all alone, you’ll be a more effective salesperson with a team. Selling a company can be like a full-time job. The right advisors make the undertaking less exhausting, and an M&A advisor can help set expectations and negotiate deal terms to increase the odds of a successfully completed transaction.
- Market your business well. Every business demands a compelling marketing package. That includes not only preliminary information, but a good story and a clear answer to potential due diligence queries.
- Target the right buyers. Don’t wait for buyers to come to you. The most successful businesses know how potential buyers in their industry are. Reach out to them, since they may be the ones who are most interested in buying your company.
- Undertake a professional negotiation process. Negotiations are more than just an afterthought. They’re often the most important part of the deal. Plan your negotiation strategy carefully, and work with a professional advisor. Your advisor can guide you through the negotiation process and lend more professional credibility to negotiations.
- Get it done quickly. The longer a deal takes, the more momentum it loses. Long deals work in the buyer’s favor, causing the business to lose value with time and encouraging sellers to make more and more concessions. Prepare for due diligence well before you put your business on the market, and promptly respond to all requests. Work with your team to develop a negotiation strategy that gets the deal done. Now is not the time to look away from the deal.