August 31, 2023< Back To News
Thinking of selling or transitioning your business? Start preparing with this readiness checklist.
– by John Mosher CFP®, CHFC®, CLU®, AEP®, CEPA®
You’ve put your heart and soul into building and running your business. But there comes a time for every business owner, when the voice in your head starts to say “I’ve done this long enough. Maybe, it’s time to sell.”
This thought can be immediately followed by the overwhelming feeling of knowing all the steps required to successfully sell or transition your business. Well, fear not. We’ve put the major steps in one place for you with this readiness checklist to help you prepare for the sale or transition of your business.
1. Financial Preparation:
Financial Statements: Prepare accurate and up-to-date financial statements, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
Tax Records: Organize tax returns and related documents for the past several years.
Audits and Reviews: Consider conducting financial audits or reviews to enhance credibility.
Valuation: Determine the value of your business through various methods, such as asset-based valuation, market-based valuation, and income-based valuation.
2. Operational Preparation:
Document Processes: Create detailed documentation of operational processes, workflows, and procedures to aid in the transition for the new owner.
Inventory and Assets: Compile an inventory list and assess the condition of assets and equipment being sold with the business.
Contracts and Agreements: Review all contracts, leases, agreements, and partnerships to ensure they’re transferable and favorable.
3. Legal and Regulatory Preparation:
Legal Counsel: Consult with legal professionals experienced in business sales to navigate legal complexities.
Ownership Structure: Verify that ownership and business structure are well-documented and legally sound.
Intellectual Property: Ensure trademarks, patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property assets are properly protected and transferable.
4. Customer and Vendor Relations:
Client Contracts: Review client contracts and agreements to assess transferability and potential impacts on relationships.
Vendor Contracts: Address any vendor or supplier contracts that might affect the new owner’s operations.
Customer Communication: Develop a plan for informing customers about the ownership transition and addressing potential concerns.
5. Marketing and Presentation:
Branding and Marketing Materials: Update marketing materials, website, and branding to present a favorable image to potential buyers.
Business Profile: Create a compelling business profile highlighting key strengths, financials, and growth potential for prospective buyers.
6. Due Diligence Preparation:
Data Room: Create a secure digital data room containing all necessary documents for due diligence by potential buyers.
Answers to Questions: Anticipate common questions from potential buyers and prepare detailed, accurate answers.
7. Financial and Legal Advisors:
Financial Advisor: Engage a financial advisor to guide you through the valuation process and financial aspects of the sale.
Legal Advisor: Work with an attorney experienced in business sales to ensure legal compliance and protect your interests.
8. Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure:
Confidentiality Agreements: Require potential buyers to sign non-disclosure agreements before sharing sensitive business information.
Employee Awareness: Inform key employees about the potential sale on a need-to-know basis to prevent unnecessary panic.
9. Transition Planning:
Transition Strategy: Outline a transition plan that ensures a smooth handover of operations, knowledge, and relationships.
Employee Considerations: Address how employees will be informed and if there will be any changes in staff post-sale.
10. Negotiation and Closing:
Negotiation Strategy: Develop a clear negotiation strategy and priorities for the terms of the sale.
Letter of Intent: Draft a letter of intent outlining the buyer’s initial offer and key terms of the deal.
Purchase Agreement: Collaborate with legal professionals to create a comprehensive purchase agreement that covers all terms and conditions.
11. Post-Sale Planning:
Transitional Support: Offer transitional support to the new owner, which may include training, mentoring, or ongoing consultation.
Financial Planning: Plan how you will manage the proceeds from the sale, including potential tax implications.
Selling a business can be complex, so tailor this checklist to your specific situation and seek professional guidance to ensure a successful transaction. If you’re ready to see what your business is worth, we can help you at Unique Wealth.
JOHN MOSHER CFP®, CHFC®, CLU®, AEP®, CEPA®
Partner and Vice President, Business and Estate Strategies
John and his wife Leann have known each other since they were ten years old. They have built their lives in this area and are proud of their two children, Mady and Jack. Giving back to the community is a core value for John.
He serves on the board of Copperhead Charities, which donates millions of dollars raised from the annual Valspar PGA tournament at Innisbrook. In his free time, he loves fishing, boating, golfing and enjoying Florida’s laid back lifestyle.
John has dedicated his entire career to helping families and business owners with their unique planning needs. John is an expert in estate and business planning, specializing in working with high-net worth clients. John’s knowledge is accomplished with a casual and comfortable approach to life. He can meet you in a suit in South Tampa, join you for a round of golf, or meet you out on the water fishing.