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The exit strategy for moving to pastures new: Preparing your business for sale

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So, you’ve been growing your business over a number of years, achieving countless successes along the way and now you feel it’s the right moment to move on. But when it’s time to prepare your business for sale, are you sure what’s required?

Here are the top tips to guide you when planning to put your company on the market.

Give time to prepare

As in most things, it pays to prepare exiting your business well in advance of your intended exit. You will need to at least have several years of good trading results to attract high bids when a have the business for sale.

Get the professionals in

Getting professional advice early on will help set you on the right course. There is a lot of due diligence work in selling a business. An accountant will be able to guide you on the requirements for financial information while a lawyer will advise on your contractual obligations.

Furthermore, an accountant/financial business advisor will be able to assist in identifying potential buyers and advise on what information they will be looking for with the business for sale.

Due diligence

An accountant will be able to advise and assist in putting together a full set of audited accounts that clearly shows a buyer your company’s performance as well as comply with legislation.

On the legal side, make sure contracts, whether customer contracts, supplier contracts and employment contracts are watertight. This means that they will need to be reviewed. If there are any ongoing legal disputes, it’s a good idea to aim to clear these up before putting up the business for sale.

Another important aspect is copyright and patents. If your product depends on legal protection from competition any buyer will make sure that they are effective. There is also the issue of warranties and guarantees. A buyer will want to know if they could be a liability if drawn up in a way that is unfair to the business due to circumstances beyond its control.

Read on the next page for the final four guidelines on how to prepare a business for sale, including ensuring the best possible purchase figure.

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