Business Sale


The decision to buy or sell a business is likely the most important decision you will ever make. You will receive advice from all sides including family, friends and business colleagues. It can be stressful, distracting and in some cases discouraging. This however does not have to be the case. Working through a SELLER CHECKLIST can overcome these issues and deliver the peace of mind and the successful outcome you desire. These steps include:

Step 1.0:   Have a Good Reason to Sell Your Business

It may sound self-evident but the fact of the matter is many owners make the decision when…

  • The business is in trouble (Marketing , Sales, Cash Flow, Financing, Staff Issues)
  • Market share is falling and the business model is in question
  • Competition don’t consider you competition
  • The Partnership is not working (Conflicts on strategy, process, funding, role & responsibilities)
  • The economy is less favourable for the business

…and not when the business is flourishing. There are many other solutions other than sale – when the business is not doing well. Business Coaching is one.

Step 2.0:   Surround Yourself with Competent Professionals

Deciding to surround yourself with professionals to navigate the challenges to be faced – is the most important first step you will take. Depending on your business you will likely need some or all of the following professionals during the process.

  • Business Appraisers, Equipment Appraisers
  • Real Estate Appraiser, Environmental Engineer
  • Lawyers, Accountants, Bankers, Mortgagors
  • Business and Life Insurance Professionals
  • Business Intermediary (Business Broker)
  • Business Analyst and Structuring Professional
  • Investment and Wealth Managers
  • Business Coach 

SUCCESS ELEMENTS understands the challenge and the need to coordinate the many professionals that will be involved. The question then becomes do you want to do this yourself or engage an experienced party, a single point of contact, to do it on your behalf. We have the experience and the process to help on this front.

Step 3.0:   Enhance Value Before You Sell

Key to enhancing value is ensuring that your business house is in order, as first impressions are forever. Having it in order will shorten both the sale time and Due Diligence. Items to consider include:

  • Re-cast Your Financials – as if you were a public company (transparency)
  • Complete an independent Business Valuation
  • Clean-up the Balance Sheet – protracted liabilities and legal actions
  • Reduce /eliminate discretionary Owner expenses
  • Prove the value of intangibles (brand, alliances, exclusive agreements, licenses, patents and loyal customer base)
  • Substantiate your Market Share and why it is sustainable
  • Forecast using your industry ratios, benchmarks and trends
  • Install Best Practices across key functional areas
  • Complete a Real Estate Valuation (if property is involved)
  • Complete a Phase 1.0 Environmental & Phase 2.0 (if required)
  • Physical housekeeping (Paint, carpet, lighting, etc.)
  • Ensure Meeting Minutes are in order

Step 4.0:   Optimize Sale Proceeds

In addition to the above, the items below should be on a Seller’s radar to ensure optimum Sale Proceeds.

  • Assess tax advantages of an Asset vs. Share sale
  • Review of Ownership Structure (Optimizing Capital Gains exemption options)
  • Organization Structure (review redundant and / or surplus positions)
  • Estate and Tax Planning Assistance
  • Consider a financing part of the sale (VTB)
  • Assess allocation of Sale Proceeds (Assets, non-compete, deferred payments, etc.)

Step 5.0:   Mitigate Risks

Key tools to use in reducing risk and safe guarding asset value include:

  • Signed Confidentiality Agreements (For all accessing the Data Room)
  • A Data Room (Online & secure for all financial and operational documents)
  • Proper levels of Property & Liability Insurance
  • Consideration given to terminating / Acquiring Partner’s interest
  • A pre-determined position on a market based Non-Compete
  • Assess risk in Asset vs. Share sales

Step 6.0:   Taking Your Company to Market

By now you have selected a Business Intermediary (Business Broker). Hopefully that selection has included a proven and documented process to sell your business with milestones to be completed / achieved along the way. Key elements of the process include:

  • The Marketing Package (Comprehensive, accurate and compelling)
  • Identified Target Markets (Industry, Private Equity Groups and Individuals)
  • Target Market Database assembly or in-hand
  • Proven Marketing Process against a relevant Buyer database
  • “No Asking Price” Strategy …to deflect curiosity of NON-BUYING competitors
  • Executed Confidentiality Agreements

Step 7.0:   Be Patient

As illustrated above, selling a business is more complex than selling a property. That’s the case for both the Seller and the Buyer. As a consequence having a fair modicum of patience is a requirement. Keeping as close as possible to the checklist will get you through the process in great shape and hopefully richer for the experience.

SUCCESS ELEMENTS is a Business Coach but with a significant PLUS. We have over 45 years of entrepreneurial and corporate business experience, we’ve been there, sold businesses and understand the challenges. Equally important our business network includes leading professionals you can review and consider as part of your inner circle above.

For more information on how SUCCESS ELEMENTS can help you coordinate the sale of your business, CONTACT US.