Considering selling your business?

The sale of your business can be an opportunity to fully realise the value of your lifetime’s investment. A chance to redress the balance and reap some of the rewards for the sleepless nights, long working days, missed family occasions and the many other sacrifices you’ve undoubtedly made on this roller-coaster journey called entrepreneurship.

Navigating the Sale Process

The sale of a business can be unchartered terrain and the key question is how do you make it an attractive proposition whilst optimising shareholder value? Some careful planning and structuring can help and working with Armstrong Watson’s corporate finance and tax teams can make the difference between ultimately completing a successful sale and your business languishing on a business for sale listing.

Be wary of the ‘too good to be true’ offers

There are several very slick sales-orientated organisations in the market place that are over promising and under delivering to business owners. Often these organisations are keen to tie you down to upfront fees without any real understanding of your business or the likely synergies that your business will have with strategic purchasers.

Here at Armstrong Watson we take the time to understand your business and agree a carefully targeted marketing strategy designed to maximise value and help ensure a successful completion. We will work with you every step of the way.  

We work closely with a few strategic legal partners, all of whom have a strong track record of delivering high quality, proactive legal advice with quick and efficient turnaround times. Choosing the right legal partner is crucial to ensure that the sale process is delivered as effectively as possible as the right lawyers will head off issues early and aim to deliver the transaction as cost effectively as possible. It also makes the whole process more efficient when your advisers are aligned and used to working together. As part of the Armstrong Watson service we will seek to give you cost certainty by introducing one of our chosen legal partners early in the process to flush out any legal issues so that you are not faced with any surprises down the line.   

Planning is Critical

The selling of a business is often emotional, time consuming and can be stressful but having the reassurance of working in partnership with you, we are committed to helping you navigate through the complexities of the process. By surrounding yourself with experts you trust that have your best interests at heart, will mean you have a much better chance of realising the highest value for your business.

Early planning and seeking the advice of specialists can improve the efficiency of the sale process, make your business as attractive a proposition as possible and, ultimately, lead to a more valuable return on your investment.

Preparation is key and as strange as it might seem, often the best time to sell your business is when you don’t need to. Time constraints and a lack of preparation can suppress value.

A reliable and strong management team that can support the business without the need for you to be involved on a daily basis will make your business more attractive and it also affords you greater flexibility in the sales process. A robust management team will add value and also provide you with the option of selling the business to them.

When preparing to sell, you should try to analyse your business through the eyes of a purchaser. What are your strengths (e.g. great product, great service) and what are your weaknesses (e.g. over reliance on certain customers)? It’s all about adding value and ensuring that your business is ‘skeleton free’.

In conjunction with one of our legal partners, we can conduct a pre-sale review of all your processes and paperwork to ensure they’re in good order. For example:

  • We can review key contracts for ‘change of control’ clauses.
  • We can help ensure that any intellectual property is protected – for example, if you’ve used consultants, they may actually own the IP unless there is a specific assignment clause. Finding domain names registered in the wrong company or in the name of a former employee can be costly mistakes.
  • We can help you ensure the necessary documentation is in place for all aspects of the business, be it sales orders, purchase invoices, lease documents or any other agreements.
  • If the company owns property, we can help you think of possible options for the property, such as a possible sale and lease back arrangement between you and the company.

It is also important for you to take specialist tax advice on the proposed structure of any sale to maximise your net proceeds after any applicable taxes. You may, for example, qualify for entrepreneur’s relief on the proceeds of the sale. This currently reduces the capital gains tax rate down to 10% although this will only apply on proceeds up to a lifetime limit of £10m.

By working with Armstrong Watson, you can leverage on our experience to guide you through the process. We will help ensure your business realises its true value.

If you would like any advice in relation to your business or selling a business, get in touch with Chris Wright by email or call 07824 552817.

Contact Chris

If you like this article and would like to subscribe to INSPIRED, our FREE monthly newsletter, then please click SUBSCRIBE.

Subscribe