Garton & Harris

How to prepare if you want to sell your business

Business owners across British Columbia are facing challenges with their business. Some are ready to close that chapter, while others are eager to start a new one. Whatever reason you may have for selling a business, you must plan accordingly.

Like any complicated transaction, selling a business takes considerable preparation. In some cases, business owners start planning years before they actually decide to sell. As such, the sooner you complete the following steps, the better.

Get your paperwork in order

Potential buyers of a Canadian business will likely be interested in everything from the business’ financial information, lease agreements, employment agreements and client lists. If you cannot provide this data readily, you could delay or even prevent a sale.

This information is critical to buyers; having it complete and available when you are ready to sell can have a tremendous impact on a sale.

Consult professionals

You likely know your business inside and out, but that does not necessarily mean you understand the financial and legal demands of selling it.

Therefore, consulting outside parties can be critical. Appraisers can help you land on an accurate valuation; tax and financial advisors can assist with presenting and structuring the sale; a lawyer can draw up and review purchase agreements.

Working with third parties can ensure your business is ready for sale while you stay focused on running it.

Prepare your pitch

Paperwork and data are critical. However, selling a business involves more than numbers and statistics. The presentation from the seller can make or break a potential sale. Everything from the appearance of the workspace to the pitch from sellers can influence buyers.

As such, you can prepare by making necessary repairs and maintenance. You might also review your online presence to see what your buyers may find when they look you up. It can also be important to consider how you will discuss your decision to sell and your responses to known challenges.

Selling a business can be complicated in many ways: financially, emotionally and legally. Because of all that goes into this transaction, owners who anticipate selling in the coming months or years would be wise to take these steps sooner rather than later.

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