Preparing to sell your business

Is it realistic to sell my business?

You can only sell your business if someone is prepared to pay for it. If you can't identify strong reasons - that can be easily substantiated - why your business would make a good acquisition, it's likely to be difficult to find a buyer.

Would my business be attractive to a buyer?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the business healthy? A business in trouble is difficult to sell and potential buyers are likely to wait until they can get assets at a knockdown price - although sometimes financial distress can be a motivating factor to a buyer who can see a turnaround opportunity.
  • Are the basics in place to make the business attractive? Buyers like well-organised businesses with strong management. See streamline your business operations when selling your business.
  • Does the business have a good financial record? Buyers prefer a record of smoothly increasing profits with good growth potential. See show strong financial performance when selling your business.
  • Can you identify potential trade buyers and a good reason why they should want to buy your business? Buying a business can be disruptive and expensive. Potential buyers may prefer to concentrate on their existing operations.
  • Are the existing management team interested in buying the business? You may find that they are the only potential buyer and that they only offer a modest price.

It usually pays to start planning a sale well in advance. This gives you time to groom the business - fixing any issues which could dramatically affect its value and making it as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

You may also want to get a preliminary valuation before you offer it for sale. For more information see value and market your business for sale.