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Eight Things to Consider if You Want to Sell Your Business

Posted on April 15, 2024 by Kelly Rutledge

Selling a business is a significant milestone. Whether you’re moving on to new ventures, retiring, or simply cashing in on your hard work, the process involves more than just finding a buyer and cashing a check. Selling your business is a complex process that requires careful planning, due diligence, and legal consideration. Here are a few key factors to consider when preparing to sell your business:

  1. Preparation

Preparation for selling your business should ideally begin years before you plan to sell. This involves not just cleaning up records and properly documenting financials but also making your business more attractive to potential buyers by ensuring it can operate without you. This might mean delegating tasks, creating systems for operations, and ensuring you have a strong management team in place.

  1. Valuation

Understanding the true value of your business is crucial. This is not just about how much revenue or profit you generate; it involves understanding the market, your position within the industry, and intangible assets like brand value and customer loyalty. Professional business valuations can provide a realistic picture of what your business is worth, helping to set expectations and guide pricing discussions.

  1. Financial and Legal Due Diligence

Before listing your business for sale, conduct thorough financial and legal due diligence. This means ensuring all financial statements are accurate, liabilities are known, and legal documents are in order. Prospective buyers will conduct their own due diligence, so it’s essential to address any potential red flags beforehand. This could involve settling any disputes, ensuring compliance with existing regulations, and cleaning up your books and records.

  1. Confidentiality

When engaging with a potential buyer, it is important to enter into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). NDAs are standard practice and will help to protect sensitive information during the sale process. The leak of a potential sale can cause uncertainty among employees, customers, and suppliers, potentially devaluing the business or derailing the sale.

  1. The Right Buyer

Finding the right buyer is about more than just the initial offer. It’s crucial to consider the buyer’s intentions, their plans for the business, and their ability to secure financing. For some sellers, the buyer’s vision for the company and its employees can be as important as the purchase price.

  1. The Purchase and Sale Agreement

The purchase and sale agreement is the cornerstone document of the transaction. A properly drafted purchase and sale agreement should clearly outline all aspects of the deal, including the purchase price, payment terms, representations and warranties, contingencies, and the responsibilities of both parties, both before and after closing.

  1. Transition Plans

A smooth transition is crucial for the continued success of the business. This might involve you staying on to provide transition assistance in a consultancy role for a period after the sale or even staying on as an employee for a few years. Transition plans can help alleviate the concerns of employees and customers, ensuring that the business maintains its value post-sale.

  1. Tax Implications

The sale of a business can have significant tax implications. Structuring the deal in a tax-efficient manner is crucial to maximizing your proceeds from the sale. It is important to understand costs and benefits associated with assets or stock sales, capital gains taxes, and restructuring options for your company.

Selling a business is a complex and emotional journey. By understanding these critical aspects and seeking the right professional advice, business owners can navigate the sale process more effectively, ensuring a successful transition and securing the legacy of their hard work. If you need assistance or have questions regarding the sale of your business, Lasher’s Corporate & Business Law team is here to help.