Advance preparation for the sale of your business can make all the difference

David Fuller: Eight steps to preparing your business for saleI frequently get asked by business owners to tell them how much their business is worth.

Often, I have to break the news that, unless they make some changes, their business doesn’t have a huge amount of value on the open market.

While many people are interested in buying a business, buyer prospects are finicky when it comes down to actually pulling the trigger. They want to ensure that their investment in your business will lead to a profitable return. Creating a valuable business that you can potentially sell one day requires careful planning and execution.

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Here are some steps to help you on your journey:

  1. Ensure that you have a profitable business model that has consistent returns. Nothing spooks buyers like financial statements that are irregular with a bottom line that is inconsistent.
  2. Build a strong team: Surround yourself with a skilled and motivated team. Hire individuals who possess the necessary expertise and share your passion for the business. A competent team is essential for long-term success and adds value to your business.
  3. Focus on customer satisfaction: Prioritize customer satisfaction and build strong relationships with your customers. Provide exceptional value in the products or services you supply to address their needs, and go above and beyond to exceed their expectations. Buyers want a business that has a range of customers who buy a variety of products and services.
  4. Develop efficient operations: Streamline your operations to maximize efficiency and minimize costs. Automate processes where possible, optimize your supply chain and continuously seek ways to improve productivity. Efficient operations with documented systems make your business more attractive to potential buyers.
  5. Build a strong brand presence and reputation. A strong brand not only attracts customers but also adds significant value to your business when it comes time to sell.
  6. Focus on financial stability: Maintain a healthy financial position by monitoring your cash flow, managing expenses, and ensuring profitability. Keep accurate financial records and have a system in place to track key metrics and indicators of your business’s financial health. A financially stable business is more appealing to potential buyers.
  7. Diversify your customer base: Avoid over-reliance on a single customer or market segment. Diversify your customer base to reduce risk and increase the attractiveness of your business. This can be achieved by expanding into new markets, targeting different customer segments, or offering additional products or services.
  8. Continuously innovate and adapt: Stay ahead of the curve by embracing innovation and adapting to changing market dynamics. Monitor industry trends, invest in research and development, and be open to incorporating new technologies and strategies into your business. An innovative and adaptable business is more likely to attract buyers looking for growth potential.

Preparing in advance for the sale of your business can make all the difference. If your business is not saleable right now, it can be in a year or two or three with focus and determination. Unfortunately, preparing a business to sell is hard work, but that work will pay off for you as you sail off into the sunset with money in your pocket and someone else taking care of your customers.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and a partner with Pivotleader Inc.

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