No matter when you plan to sell your business—soon or many years down the road—a few steps now can ensure a more successful future transaction.
Identify Short and Long-Term Strategies
To successfully sell your business, you must first identify what success looks like. Some questions to ask include:
- What do you do to remain competitive?
- How does your company create value?
- Why do customers choose you?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Are you executing your strategy?
- Where and how could you grow?
- What are your biggest success barriers?
- Do you have a succession plan?
Your plan must address these and similar issues. You can’t wait until everything is perfect to begin contemplating a transaction. You should, however, strive to get as close as possible to perfection. You must also consider your personal goals. Do you hope to remain with the business you built, or are you eager to move on? These queries can narrow down your options, and help you execute the right M&A strategy.
Seek Advice Early and Often to Ensure Sound Timing
When you choose to go to market is a critically important decision. Industry factors, credit issues, the stock market, and the economy in general can greatly impact the deal you’re able to make. You need a trusted advisor who can assess your company with knowledge and objectivity, then guide you to make intelligent decisions. You should engage a skilled advisor before you put your business on the market. They can help you prepare for the sale, and determine when the right time to go to market is.
You wouldn’t put a dirty, dilapidated house on the market. The same is true for your business. Now’s the time for a good spring cleaning that will make you more profitable now and increase value when it’s time to sell. You must be able to show in objective terms that you can execute your business’s goals. Implement reliable tools that offer real-time, accurate data. This data promotes credibility, adding value and providing momentum that moves a transaction forward. The more data you can easily access, the more speedily you can move through the M&A process.
Build a Trusted Executive Circle
Identify key people in your company who can support you as you prepare for the sale. Keep that circle tight and trusted, but don’t just select people you like. These must be skilled staff who are educated, professional, and ready to help you move forward. They must also be prepared to run the company in your absence. A company that is dependent on a single owner or executive is less valuable because it is inherently riskier.
Even if you don’t plan to sell soon, you need to remain a known force within your sector. Join panels. Go to conferences. Becoming a trusted authority can translate to more trust during the M&A process. It may also attract the attention of buyers when the time is right. If a buyer approaches you, be willing to listen. You don’t have to sell right away, but keeping those relationships open and positive can help build an efficient, effective M&A process.
This might sound like a lot. The reality is that selling is a lot of work. The more you can do now, the more time and money you’ll save in the future. Better still, you’ll create lasting value and streamline your processes, potentially increasing value and efficiency today.
About Sunbelt Atlanta
At Sunbelt Atlanta our team is made up of seasoned professionals with more than 60 years collective experience selling companies. Our backgrounds and industry experience are as varied as the companies we represent. Some come from main-street, some from wall-street. Collectively, we have closed more than 500 transactions and the companies we have sold range in size from $50,000 to $25,000,000 in transaction value and span all industries. One thing our professionals have in common is that they all have first-hand experience initiating, negotiating and managing the deal process. We can bring a main-street tenacity to a middle market transaction and middle-market finesse to a main-street transaction.