Preparing to sell

Think carefully about your reasons for selling, your goals for the future and how you can pull your business into shape before the sale (if it isn't already).

If you are determined to sell, a good strategy is to give yourself plenty of time to prepare your business before you advertise it for sale. You could focus on:

  • showing year-round profitability
  • reducing your costs
  • building a strong management team
  • maintaining high-quality products or services
  • developing a unique product or service
  • expanding your online presence
  • creating a strong customer base to reduce your reliance on 1 or 2 large clients
  • maintaining premises and making sure assets are in good condition
  • signing shorter-term or longer-term leases - whichever makes your business more attractive to buyers
  • using formal, written contracts rather than informal handshake or verbal agreements
  • developing comprehensive business, marketing and succession plans to enable your staff to run the business when you sell it
  • settling any outstanding legal or tax matters (e.g. warranty claims).

Improving these areas should strengthen your business, and make it easier for you to attract serious buyers.

Alternatives to selling

Before you commit to selling it might be worthwhile exploring the alternatives.

You may be considering selling because your business is not performing, or you want to step back from day-to-day operations. In either case, there are alternatives to selling. Talk to your business adviser to see if any of these alternative options suit your business:

Selling assets

If you need to increase your short-term cash flow, you could sell some of your assets instead of selling the whole business outright. Learn more about managing your cash flow.

Refinancing

Your accountant can help you assess if your short-term debts will become more manageable with long-term financing.

Forming a strategic alliance

Your business may become more successful if you form a mutually beneficial relationship with another business.

Amalgamating or merging

Your business could become more competitive if you amalgamated or merged with another business.

Going public

Floating your business on the Australian Stock Exchange may attract enough capital to allow you to continue operating.

Making your business self-reliant

If you want to take a step back from day-to-day operations, or need to take a break due to health or personal reasons, you could hire and train new staff to replace you, while still retaining ownership of the business.

Developing succession strategies

Putting a detailed succession plan in place and training your successor to take over will make it easier for you to reduce the amount of time you spend on your business.

Also consider...