Prepare properly for the sale of your business.
A Resource for Women in Business
Now that you are ready to spin off a business unit as a business leader or to leave or transition out of your own business, how do you do it? It is a question that many executives and women business owners ask – but often when it is too late. Whether you are ready to move on to retirement or a new business, a successful exit strategy should start three years before your target exit date.
Many companies are forced to sell without an exit strategy because of burn out or financial issues. When you sell your business without a plan, you run the risk of falling hostage to poor financials and bottom-feeding buyers. The sale of a business should be a planned process to yield a business owner the highest possible price for her company.
I see business owners make the same common mistakes when it comes to planning for the next phase of their businesses. The good news is that with a bit of planning, these "land mines" can be avoided.
- Don’t become emotional and overprice your business.
- Don’t forget to meet with your accountant. Make sure you understand the tax consequences of the sale of your business.
- Don’t go to market without a complete marketing package, including three years of financial statements, for potential buyers to review.
- Don’t share confidential information about your business with buyers unless they have signed a confidentiality agreement and are financially and professionally qualified.
- Don’t let your sales drop after you put your business on the market. No buyer wants to buy a business that is losing money.
- Don’t leave deferred maintenance for a buyer. Curb appeal counts in business sales, too.
- Don’t rely solely on your competitors to be your only potential buyers. Placing the business on the open market will increase your chances for multiple offers and potentially a higher price.
- Don’t wait for an offer to determine if the lease for your space is transferable.
- Don’t give a buyer access to all of your financial, customer and/or employee records until you have agreed in writing on the price and terms of the sale.
- Don’t accept an offer without a substantial "good faith" deposit of 2 to 3 percent of the offering price.
- Never tell your employees or customers that the business is being sold, because it’s not over until you have the check in hand!
Creating and implementing an exit strategy for your business can mean the difference between taking a long vacation and retiring to a little island somewhere after the closing. By developing a solid plan, you can leave your company knowing you created something bigger than yourself and have the financial stability to provide for the next stage of your life.
CEO and Broker of Record for BlueKey Business Brokerage M&A, brings over 20 years of experience leading her team of Associates in sales and acquisitions of small to medium sized companies. BlueKey headquarters are in the San Francisco Bay Area with a second office in Laguna Niguel, CA. Julie serves as VP, California Association of Business Brokers, member, International Association of Business Brokers, Women President’s Organization, and is the founder of Network of Women Business Brokers & Intermediaries. She has been a featured expert in Enterprising Woman, the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine and SBTV.com among others. Julie received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from University of California at Davis in 1987, and currently resides in Northern California with her husband and three children. www.bluekeybma.com.
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