Bill is known as “a consummate developer of strategic relationships“. He is an Accredited Business Intermediary, veteran broadcast executive, public relations consultant and historian.
7 Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Selling a Business
There is no denying the fact that for most people, the decision to buy or sell a business is one of the most important professional and financial decisions that they will ever make. Let’s turn our attention to some of the key questions you’ll need to ask.
1. What is really for sale?
You’ll need to determine what is, and is not, for sale. If you own machinery or real estate associated with the business, are those items to be included in the sale?
2. What assets bring in revenue?
One important factor to consider when preparing a business to be sold is what assets are earning money. If you have assets that are not earning money, then it may or may not be prudent to sell those assets.
3. What is proprietary?
Buyers and sellers alike will want to consider what is proprietary. Anything from software and patents to formulations can be extremely valuable. Sellers will want to give substantial thought to how to best frame any proprietary property that they have in the best light. Buyers will want to carefully evaluate proprietary property to try to ascertain an accurate value. Outside experts may be needed to make an accurate assessment.
4. What’s your competitive advantage?
A business’s competitive advantage should be of importance to buyers and sellers. A seller should focus on understanding their competitive advantage, whether it is a certain niche, a superior manufacturing process or product, better marketing or a range of other factors. Properly framing your competitive advantage can help buyers see the full, and even untapped, value of your business.
5. What is your growth potential?
Buyers will want to consider factors such as whether or not the business has the potential to grow. If the business can’t be grown, then buyers should include this fact in their final decision and/or offer.
6. What agreements do you have in place?
Other factors such as employee agreements, non-competes, and the depth of management are all areas of concern for a prospective buyer. Buyers will want to consider if the seller has secured agreements from key employees and how dependent the business is on an owner/manager.
7. What relevant financial information will a buyer want to know?
Understanding how much working capital is needed to run the business and how financial reporting is undertaken are other factors that should not be glossed over.
If you are preparing to sell your business it is worth the time to pause and think about what your business might look like to a buyer. In short, what would you think of your business if you were the buyer and what questions would you ask?
Buying or selling a business is complex. Every single business is different and that means there is no 100% standardized approach and route towards success. A seasoned, experienced and professional business broker or M&A advisor can help guide buyers and sellers alike towards optimal outcomes.