If you own your own business, chances are you have thought about selling it one day. You may dream of retiring or perhaps you want to explore a new venture. Maybe life circumstances have changed and you need to sell for personal reasons. Regardless of the reason for wanting to sell, the challenge for many, is that their business may not really be ready for sale.

Are you the business?
Often the business owner is the business. Without the owner’s unique skill or experience, the business itself would not be sustainable. This is the case with business owners who actually perform the service that generates the revenue and describes many small businesses and solopreneurs. How do you sell a business that wouldn’t exist without you?

Do you have systems in place?
Another scenario that is frequent in the business community occurs when a business is operating without any official systems or  plans in place that would allow a new owner to step in and perform the day to day operations and continue to experience the success of the past owner. How do you market a business that doesn’t have a clear structure in place for a new owner to replicate?

Would your business make a good Franchise?
Perhaps your business has the makings of becoming a franchise that you sell in multiple locations. The franchise model is not for every business but has proven successful for many businesses and definitely favors certain industries / products / services. Franchising a business with the intent to sell multiple licences requires many of the steps involved in preparing a traditional business for sale. If your business can be converted into a system of sound processes that are easily replicable perhaps franchising is the choice for you.

If selling your business is something that has occurred to you recently or is in the back of your mind as a future possibility, then why not plan for it now? It is generally accepted in business that selling any company (regardless of which model you fall into) requires careful preparation to ensure the best possible sale price in the least amount of time.

Get prepared
Preparing your business for sale takes time and planning. A generally acknowledged notion is that the practices involved in preparing your business for sale are also sound business practices that should be put into place regardless of whether you sell. You never know when the opportunity or need might arise to sell your business. Being prepared well in advance puts you in a favorable position and increases the ease of the process when it happens.

There are ample businesses for sale and buyers are looking for businesses with minimal challenges and plenty of potential. A business that someone can just walk into and hit the ground running has a higher likelihood of selling than a business that is disorganized with no clear plan or systems in place.

Preparing your business properly provides you with the opportunity to put your best assets forward and secure an advantage over the numerous other businesses for sale.

Below are some crucial pieces that buyers want to see and should be developed before listing your business:

Financial
• Up to date and clean financial statements
• Cash Flow analysis
• Revenue projections
• Monthly profit reports

Operations
• Business Plan with growth strategy
• Documented systems and procedures
• Job descriptions complete with roles and responsibilities
• Succession and Staffing plan
• Training manuals
• Site and inventory clean-up / preparation

Marketing
• Marketing plan
• Branded marketing collateral
• Professional buyer’s information package

If you are considering selling your business, take the time to properly create these pieces yourself or enlist the help of a professional business development consultant to ensure that your business is presented in the best possible light.

Get the best price and decrease your selling time by taking the time to prepare your business prior to listing it.