Only one in three of Australia's many family businesses are exit or succession ready and while handing over the reigns may not be near near prospect for yourself, there are steps you can take today to maximise the value you receive on exit. Following are three of my favorite tips for getting your business ready for sale.
Make yourself Redundant
Often a large part of a business success is attributable to the personal goodwill of the working owner. This value attaches to this individual by virtue of long standing personal relationships developed with customers, supplies and staff. Deals may have been done verbally and agreements may be forged by handshakes.
The business owner may also have a high level of 'know how' and industry expertise that has never been documented or transferred to others.
By initiating knowledge transfers to key employees and formalizing agreements, role descriptions, procedures and policies, the owner can de-risk much of the business and become more saleable to a greater number of potential acquirers.
When businesses exchange, there is often an unhealthy focus on the headline sale price. What is ultimately of greater importance is the after tax consideration that will flow to the exiting party. With this in mind, I suggest the owner understands the various entities and structures that are in place. Receiving high end tax advice early can also enable restructures and reorganisations to be undertaken where appropriate to ensure that various business and retirement concessions can be accessed.
Deliver on 'blue sky' opportunities
All too often I hear throw away lines from vendors suggesting that there are many opportunities that remain unexplored and that significant new revenue can be derived by targeting new markets, regions or product lines.
Potential acquirers won't pay for any blue sky achieved as a result of their own endeavors and strategic direction. My advice to owners is simple. Deliver on those strategies that add value to the business. Earnings are more important than revenue. Buyers will pay for results achieved.
Preparing a business for sale takes time and it is never too early to start. With a coordinated approach to achieving the end result, business owners can have greater in the ultimate outcome. For many, they may undertake this process only once. It is my view that it is best to get the right outcomes in the first instance.
Take the stress out of selling your business and contact a professional today.