In our last blog, we emphasized the importance of addressing the first three, key objectives in exiting a business:
- How much?
- To whom?
Now that you have those three big areas addressed, what are some of the housekeeping tasks as well as more in-depth preparation you should be doing to exit your company and accomplish these three objectives?
- Having clean, organized financials is important in supporting a valuation and thus getting the price you covet.
- Are financials audited or if not, will they survive the scrutiny of third party buyers?
- Are your forecasts credible?
- Do you have a plan to stabilize or increase cash flow?
- Much like selling a home, it is important to present your company in the best possible light.
- Are your facilities clean, neat and freshly painted?
- Are your computer systems up to date?
- Are all the company’s processes formalized and efficient?
- Find ways to lessen your responsibilities and shift them to key employees; as well as incentivize these employees to stay with the company. This will make your business much more valuable to future owners.
- Could you go on vacation for three months and your company would not only survive but still grow?
- Do your employees have up to date non-compete agreements?
- Have you installed employee incentive plans to motivate them to stay?
- Having a diversified client base is attractive to potential buyers because it shows the company’s revenue is coming from multiple sources. Also, this revenue being recurring is much more attractive than transactional revenue.
- How reliant is your business on one or a small number of customers?
- Are there any key customer contracts coming up for renewal?
- Are there any opportunities to change a key client’s revenue from project-based to recurring?
A successful business exit requires early preparation and planning. Without it your business, employees, family and financial future can all suffer significantly.