17 May Around the Web: A Week in Summary
A recently published Business.com article entitled “Your Five Year Plan to Build a Business to Sell” explains the steps involved in building a business for the purpose of a sale. Although many owners think that this is just a fantasy, there are actually some early steps that can be taken to help push a business toward a potential sale in the future. While the process can take several years, it truly can pay off in the end for both the seller and buyer.
One of the first and often overlooked steps in this process is to build a business in a market that is not only lucrative now, but will be in the future as well. This is much easier said than done in some instances of course, because many markets and industries are difficult to predict three to five years out, so this step should be taken with care.
The next, and arguably most important, aspect of creating an attractive business is profitability: a business that is profitable and one in which the profit is growing is the most attractive to potential buyers. Bidders want to see a business that is both making money and growing.
Other important aspects of an attractive business include keeping the business “clean” and building a corporate structure that doesn’t depend on the involvement of the owner. Clean businesses are ones that are transparent with well documented processes and transactions, as well as a problem-free workforce. An independent corporate structure is one that is able to function without the current owner as the core of the business. A business that cannot function when the owner is absent is not an attractive option for buyers.
A recent Forbes.com entitled “How To Make Millions Off Your Exit: 7 Entrepreneurs Worth Over $2 Billion Explain” outlines important insights for making an exit, taken directly from entrepreneurs that have started and sold businesses of their own. The list below outlines the entrepreneurs’ advice:
- Sell to Make Your Business Grow
- Prepare in Advance
- Create an Expert Team
- Sell the Potential of Your Business
- Focus on Providing Value
- Seek Advice
- Actively Look for Buyers
While some of these aspects of a successful business sale may seem obvious, many are often overlooked. Another important lesson to take from this: learn from those that have experience making deals!
A recent article from the Times of San Diego entitled “Opinion: Selling Your Business? 3 Key Questions for Your Advisor” identifies a few important steps to ask your investment banker or M&A advisor to ensure they are the right fit for your business and its sale. It is completely normal, and very important, to shop around for the right person to meet your goals in selling your business. Without the right advisor, you as the seller could miss out on upside or even fail to make a sale at all.
The three key questions to ask are:
- Can you relate to my circumstance?
- How long will it take?
- How do you get paid?
Finding the right answers to these questions from the right person will only benefit you as an owner and the business as a whole as it moves through the transaction process. While you may have to speak with a few different advisors to find the right fit, the right advisor is out there willing to help you make the best deal!