Another advantage of having a structured exit plan is that you will have all the information you need to present to buyers in early negotiations and more importantly during due diligence.
One of the common misconceptions about selling a business is that the time-consuming and challenging part is generating and dealing with buyer inquiries. The reality is that this is quite straightforward, it is taking the buyer from offer to settlement that is the tricky part.
If you do not have all of your documents ready to go your deal will slow and potentially stall once you have a serious buyer. Its important to remember that your buyer is probably looking at multiple businesses so it’s important to be able to progress the deal quickly when you have an offer that you are happy with.
Some of the key documents that you will need to check and have to hand during the sale process are:
- Lease and lease disclosure statement.
- Current financials, Accountant prepared EOFY figures.
- Workings of any addbacks to demonstrate the adjusted profit.
- BAS and Tax Returns.
- POS Reports.
- Staff Schedule.
- An inventory of fixtures and fittings.
If you are selling on your own its important that you work through all the documents above to make sure that you fully understand them and that you can answer any questions quickly and accurately. This process will also help you to make sure that you see and understand the value of your business.
If you are selling through a broker then make sure that before they give you an estimate of value they have requested and reviewed these documents as a minimum.
If you ask your accountant for a valuation or estimate, please remember that accountants typically do not have a deep knowledge of the current local market. In many accountant valuations, the lease has also not been reviewed, it’s impossible to give an accurate valuation figure without reading the lease.
When you speak with your accountant make sure that you also ask them to go through your balance sheet with you, this will show exactly what liabilities you will have to pay out when you sell.
Pay particular attention to loans and equipment finance as these can be an issue further down the track.
When you tell your solicitor about your plans to sell it’s a good idea to ask them to review your lease again to ensure there is nothing there that may be an issue for a buyer. Changes or variations to leases can take time so its good to check for issues sooner rather than later.
As discussed in a previous post, a thorough exit plan will also ensure you go to market at the correct price. The days of adding a bit on or testing the market are behind us. Buyers are so switched on and have access to so much information that they often know the value of businesses more so than sellers.
Because most buyers are looking at multiple businesses and because there are so many businesses similar to yours on the market you need to be priced right from the word go. The first 4-6 weeks on the market are crucial, listing at a price that is too high and then having to adjust can damage your chances of selling and encourage lower offers.
In many ways selling your business is like running a kitchen, it is all about the preparation. If you put together a plan and get everything ready before you go to market you will find your sale much easier.
In summary, avoid rushing to get the business listed until you are confident that you have everything you will need to move your buyer through the process quickly and without losing the sale’s momentum.
I hope that you have found this useful, as always please feel ree to reach out if you have any questions at all.