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

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Clarify your negotiation position

Make sure you’re clear on what figure you’re aiming for and stick to it.

Make your business independent of you

It is essential that your business can operate well without you. This means recruiting and training staff so that they have the skill and expertise to continue to run and grow the business.

Time will need to be taken to bed-in new staff as well as introduce them to customers. It is also essential to plan for succession with the new CEO firmly in command before offering the business for sale.

Work hard to cut a good figure

In the long run-up to selling your business, you want to make the figures look good, which means cutting cost while boosting revenue. Look at ways you can cut costs of services and it is a good idea to regularly review IT and telecoms, utilities, reprographic and similar services.

Another is underutilised assets. Can they be sold off or earn the company revenue For example, what about sub-letting underutilised floorspace And with the opportunities of tech and the sharing economy, it is even possible to hire out your boardroom or other rooms and even equipment per hour.

Buyers also like to see increasing revenue figures. This means working hard to keep the company growing and resisting the temptation to slacken off because you’re selling.

Can you diversify your customer base

Buyers of a business are making an investment and ideally they like to see a broad customer base and not over reliance on just few customers as this increases risk. It is advisable to try and spread your customer base, but this can be difficult for some types of business.

Rupert Cattell is the founder of OwnerSellers

Image: Shutterstock

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