If you are getting ready to put your business up for sale, you probably know that buyers will be bringing you questions – lots of them. In order to prep yourself for what may seem like an endless stream of questions, there are a few you should be asking yourself before buyers do.
What are you going to do if the business doesn’t sell?
If you are completely burned out and at the end of your rope (and this desperate exhaustion is what is forcing you to list) then this desperation will likely come across to buyers and will leave you in a weaker state when the time comes to negotiate. Someone who is ready to close the doors and is trying to sell as a last ditch effort to get something out of the business they hate is probably going to have a hard time making it the average of 9 to 12 months it takes to get from listing to closing. If you feel burned out, you need to try pretending you aren’t. By focusing on the strength and growth of the business, even if you don’t want to be there anymore, you will be putting yourself and your business in a far stronger position before you enter the business market.
What skeletons are you going to try and keep in the closet?
All businesses have their less than favorable parts. The big mistake owners make when getting ready to list is instead of facing these skeletons and issues head on, they try to devise clever solutions to hide them instead. Due diligence is a rigorous process, and anything you try to hide from buyers will eventually come out – and most likely kill your deal. If you are really ready to sell, you should be ready, willing and able to fix any skeletons before they tank a deal down the road.
If you could go back to day one, what would you do differently?
We know that starting over is impossible, but by asking yourself this question you are creating the answer to buyer’s questions about how they as new owners can grow the business. This insight also shows buyers that although you didn’t always have the means available to do everything you wanted to with your business, you had the best interests of the business at heart and always had your eye on growth in the future. If, when asking yourself this question, you come up with ideas that would benefit the business today, you should go ahead and implement those changes. Any improvement in the bottom line between now and the closing table could mean more money in your pocket when you sell.
By asking yourself some of the difficult questions you may get from buyers before you list, you are setting yourself up with good answers you can give without any hesitation. You will also be forced to face those issues you may be able to ignore on a normal day but will be faced with when buyers find them. Fixing those issues will better prepare your business for the biggest return on your investment when you sell.
Are you thinking about selling, but aren’t sure you are ready? Do you want some suggestions on how you can fix issues before you list? Please feel free to leave any comments or questions here, and we would be happy to help.
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907