You probably have genuine and practical reasons for wanting to sell your business and that’s good. However, the process of selling your business is mostly complex, rigorous, and time-consuming. This is more so when you are groping about it without the right compass.
A successful merger and acquisition (M&A) should benefit the employees, buyer and of course you the seller as well as enhance the growth and organization of the business. This requires skills, dedication, proficiency and high amount of focus all through the process.
As the executive, you still need to attend to all other executive duties under your supervision without neglecting or losing focus of the M&E at the same time. This can make it more challenging and complex for you to achieve a perfect balance.
For that reason, I have compiled this step by step tips based on experience, to help every executive looking to sell their business to do so seamlessly. Let’s delve into it, shall we?
1. Create definite, clear and concise goal for the sale.
Before you go any further, why do you want to sell your business? Where do you want the business to go from here? Answers to these questions are pivotal to the success this process. If your business is a successful one, then selling it will probably be to your advantage. That’s not to say that you will not be profiting if the business is not buoyant.
The goal will inform the decisions you make, the effort you put into the process and how you handle the entire process. Your financial and strategic goals will also determine the kind of buyers to focus on. If your goal is leaning towards strategic, then you are looking for transitional buyers like Google. They can synergize your business with theirs towards development and growth. If you are selling for financial benefits, then focus on private equity companies like the Blackstone Group and the TPG Capital
Identifying your goal will help sharpen your intents, timing, strategies and other important processes in the M&A.
2. Determine the best value
It is time to do an assessment of your business to determine its market value. You can conduct the evaluation in-house but it is advisable to use an investment bank. This will ensure that the assessment is thorough, professional and devoid of any form of bias.
This assessment is what will help determine the best offer based on what your business is worth. It will also come in handy during negotiation so you won’t have wrong expectations of your asset value.
3. Value enhancement
The value enhancement process is an important step in selling a business. Just as a home owner evaluates and repairs the home before putting it on the market to enhance the value, so also for businesses. Finding and strengthening any weak part of the business will benefit you at the end of the day. It may be to enhance underperforming sectors or to strengthen weak ones. Whether the problem is noticed before or during the assessment stage, the executive needs to device actionable strategies to enhance the overall value of the business. The purpose is to make it as marketable and attractive as possible to potential buyers as per messaging margins and of course, operations.
4. Compile due diligence materials.
This may prove to be the most intricate and time consuming aspect of selling a business. But you must be prepared with every vital information and document in case the buyer asks for them. The data must be gathered across every department, every of the buyers’ anticipated questions answered.
The due diligence materials should include contracts, financial and legal documents as well as, operation documents and agreements. Every buyer will want these documents to be well organized and documented for easy retrieval when the time comes.
5. Identify potential buyers.
This would have been a tedious and time consuming stage but thanks to the internet, it is a whole lot easier. Check out sites like CB Insights, S&P Global Market Intelligence and of course, LinkedIn. They are veritable resources for unearthing potential acquirers.
If you employed investment banks, at this stage, they will present your company to specific prospective buyers anonymously. They will let the interested buyers sign non-disclosure agreements pertaining to sacred company information.
6. Select and qualify buyers
To show genuine interest, interested buyers are supposed to present the seller with indicator of interest (IOI). The IOI will stipulate the structure, valuation and proposed terms. This will be an opportunity for potential bidders to gain valuablel information of the company. It is also at this point that some buyers will take their leave as they may not be qualified to bid.
With the goal of the sale in mind, you compile a list of buyers while considering the IOIs they present. How does their ideals, strategies and financial plans meet with your goals? At this point, it becomes important to reduce the number of bidders and you may have to meet up with them to make better decisions.
7. Deal negotiations
The company’s executive has to make numerous financial and professional considerations in addition to focusing on the price of the purchase. All these are to form part of the negotiation. At this point, you will be left with just a few bidders who will furnish you with Letter of Intent (LOI). This document takes things a notch more serious than the IOI. It will include more specific deal terms and can become a contract guiding the M&A transaction. It will usually contain deal timing, escrow payments, transition strategy and of course, purchase price. The buyer will at this point, have exclusive right to assess the company.
Get more than one transaction scenario ready for the LOI negotiation, based on your initial strategic goal. The negotiation stage is crucial in the process of selling your business so work with the bidder on equitable terms.
8. Conduct thorough due diligence
You must be a part of the due diligence to ensure it is smooth and effective. Buyers will demand more than what’s contained in the deal terms. You must provide an efficient strategy to provide answers to whatever questions and documents the buyers may request.
9. Purchase Agreement.
Following a successful due diligence search, both parties will arrive at a definite decision. At this point, there will only be one buyer standing with whom you will sign a final binding purchase agreement.
Once this agreement is signed, it is the end of the negotiation. It is time to close the deal and hands off so to say. However, it is not the end of the journey yet. To ensure smooth transition, you will need to explain and integrate your employees into the new way of things. Devise efficient means to communicate to the employees what is expected of them and their duties within the integration process.
Your next action will depend on the terms of the final agreement. It may be that you are staying on in the company under a new role or temporarily. Whatever the case, you still have a big role to play in the smooth transition and operations of the business. So the onus is on you to get prepared and help the employees to do same.
Cooperate with the buyer during the transition process. Assist with understanding the business operations, trade secrets, accounting process and of course introduction to the clients.
Selling your business is mostly beneficial, depending on the goal of the M&A. However, the process must be handled expertly to ensure smooth transition with the right outcome. That is why it is pertinent that you get grounded in the intricacies of the selling process. Hopefully, these 10 Steps To Selling Your Businesses Successfully will provide you with the right knowledge for effective transition.Tags: business, business success, Digital marketing, sales