You’re ready to sell all or part of your business, full steam ahead to enjoying the fruits of your years of labor in retirement. When you’re ready to sell, here 3 ways to keep your business sale from flopping.
Prepare your business for the stresses of a Buyer’s due diligence. Conduct an internal audit to ensure your books and records are accurate and up to date. An attorney can ensure that your company is active, your property is titled properly, and your corporate books are in order. An accountant can help prepare your financial books. Think of it as preparing a home for sale. Homes with some updates and staging sell at higher prices. Organizing your business ahead of time will stage it to make it look attractive to a potential buyer.
2. Sweat the Details
Once you have a signed Letter of Intent (and preferably before), discuss the details. Make sure that the timetable is not overly aggressive to allow enough time for a smooth closing to happen. Think about things like how Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable should be treated post-closing. What about the transition and synergy it will take for post-closing? This may require a few key players among the buyer and selling company to form a team to ease the transition. The transition team can be instrumental to making the Closing and transition advantageous to both sides. Additionally, careful thought should be put into how the structure of the deal will affect your taxes. Often it is helpful to agree on the tax allocation of a purchase price or consider acting as a consultant for the company for a period of time after closing to lessen your tax burden and help ease the transition.
Thinking ahead to what happens after closing is smart. First, when negotiating the terms, consider what post-closing will look like. Do you want to continue to have some input in the running of the business, in a segment of it, or do you want to step away without looking back? In some situations, staying on as a consultant can help your tax bill and can ease that process of stepping back for you. In other cases, a clean break is best. Post-closing planning can come into play in other areas as well. Often there is a reconciliation 30-60 days post-closing. The accounts are reconciled so that the financials come out accurately. In some cases, the final purchase price is tied to the numbers at reconciliation. A portion of the purchase price can be held in escrow pending these numbers.
There are a lot of factors to selling your business. Once you make the decision to sell, taking these steps can be a factor in whether or not you look back with satisfaction or regret. Selling your business is complex. It took years to build your business. When you decide to sell, take time and plan carefully to get set for success.