What is the best exit strategy for a business?

All business should have an exit strategy in mind. When you start your business, you should have had an end goal in mind. How do you plan to eventually exit your business? What is a business exit plan?

You may plan to liquidate the business. This will entail closing the business and selling off the assets. This is a relatively simple exit strategy, but you will only make money on the assets that you are able to sell and you must pay off creditors from any monies generated. There will also be tax implications to consider with regards to the proceeds of the asset sales.

You may decide that you want to sell the business to someone you know. This may be an employee, friend or family member for example. This is normally structured as a longer term buying process to ensure smooth transition of ownership and running of the business. If selling to family members, this can lead to disagreements and you may not get the full amount of the businesses worth.

Selling a business on the open market is a good option if your business is in a good financial position. Goodwill can be incorporated into your business value. This option can however be a long and tedious process.

You could consider selling to another business such as a competitor or smaller business who is looking at growth through acquisition. This option may get you a better price because of the perceived value from the acquiring firm. However you need to ensure that the cultures and values of the two businesses are aligned. Also what plan will the buying firm have for your existing staff?

What is the best way to sell my business?

Preparation is everything. Once you have your exit strategy you need to ensure you are properly prepared to exit or sell the business. Are you planning to sell, if so, does the business run without you? Your business will not be very attractive to a potential buyer if it cannot run with you. There are so many things to think about and lots of preparation to do from preparing up to date accounts, reviewing leases and contracts, increase management responsibilities, consider tax implications. Selling a business can be complex so always best to get expert advice from the outset. A corporate finance specialist has all the expertise needed to help and support you throughout the entire sale process.

We have the benefit of having accountancy, corporate finance and wealth management expertise all under one roof so from valuing your business, preparing due diligence, finding you a buyer and making sure that your profits from the sale are handled in the most cost efficient way to reduce your tax liabilities, you can rest assured that not stone will be left unturned.

How much should I sell my business for?

This is a questions that we regularly get asked. So how do you work out the value of your business? First thing we would say is that you need to be realistic. A business owner has an emotional tie to a business and can sometimes think it is worth more than it is in reality. Your business value with usually be attained by looking at your tangible assets, and your intangible assets (perceived value). A common approach is a multiple of your net profits. The sector in which you operate can also change the value of your business quite dramatically. Another driving factor of the value of your business is whether you are going to sell your business as a going concern and who you are planning to sell it to.

Guide to selling your business

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Selling a business

When should I sell my business?

This can be a complex decision and can require planning two or three years in advance. Even if you do have a plan of ‘when to sell your business’, it may not actually be the ‘best time to sell’. There are a number of factors that could point to ‘the right time’ to sell your business. Selling your business when you are on a high, profits are up and business is really strong can be one of the best times to sell and could reap you’re the best rewards. This can have its pitfalls to as you may have reached a peak and things may start to slow down whilst you are marketing your business. Be prepared and don’t take your foot off the gas just because you are selling. It may be that you are no longer an asset to the business. This could be the perfect time. The business does not need you anymore, it has matured and spread its wings. Now could be the perfect time to let it fly. You may have fallen out of love with your business. If this is the case, now could be a good time before your business starts to suffer. You may also just fall lucky and the perfect opportunity to sell may present itself. Make sure your business is ready to sell though. As we said before, preparation is everything.

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If you are considering selling your business or want to discuss planning an exit strategy, do get in touch and one of our specialist adviser will be in touch.

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