Ocean Village Innovation Centre
T: 02380 381956
Selling your business is a huge undertaking, possibly the largest financial transaction you will undertake. Bigger than selling your house, and you wouldn’t put that on the market without sorting out the decorating, the damp and the boundary dispute, would you?
It’s important to prepare properly to get the best outcome. To guide you we have developed our three stage process, Plan It; Build It; Bank It.
We will help you do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and give you guidance on how you can mitigate the weaknesses and capitalise on the strengths.
We will also help you see your business through the eyes of your target market. Keep in mind that the acquisition of a business is a big commitment in time and money both for you and the purchaser and it’s not a commitment that a purchaser enter into lightly. The more closely your business meets a purchaser’s criteria, the more likely they are to bite.
You will need to think about the future. What are you going to do with your time, and how much involvement do you want in the business going forwards. In turn this will drive your plans for the management structure ie is there a management in place that can run the business without your full time involvement.
Think about the business with the sale in mind. For example, will investments you make now improve your shareholder value in the short term?
We can also advise on financial and commercial issues, such as profitability, cash flow, balance sheet structure, terms of trade including contract terms with customers, and your banking and other finance arrangements.
Once we have a plan, then we can work with you to implement it, and where appropriate introduce complementary advisers for example, to help with tax planning, marketing and development of the management team to help you deliver the best business sale you can.
We normally agree to keep a watching brief in the Build It phase.
Once you have taken the decision to put the company on the market we will agree with you the best marketing approach. That discussion will include the level of confidentiality you wish to maintain, which in turn will dictate the way in which potentially interested parties are approached (incidentally, as a matter of course we never distribute sales memoranda without your prior approval or a Non-Disclosure Agreement).
We would normally advocate a happy medium, focussing on interested parties that you are aware of and those that come out of our research. We find that this gives us and you a degree of control over who has access to information about your business while enabling us to open negotiations with the parties who are most likely to offer for your business.
We supplement your knowledge of the market with our own research. We have been selling companies for over 25 years and have a global network of prospective purchasers.
Our skill really tells in the course of negotiations. We know that our job is to understand the commercial implications of the negotiations, discuss those with you and advise on how to proceed, bearing in mind that there is always a balance between achieving the optimal value and the need to move the deal on within a reasonable timescale.
We aim, if we can, to suggest alternative approaches which will give both parties (some of) what they want from the deal, while maintaining momentum.
One of our greatest skills, though, is to understand your business and what that means for the price being paid. For example, in a recent deal we were aware that the company was going through a purple patch of profitability while negotiations were continuing. We managed to negotiate an adjustment to the price that reflected the net asset position on completion that has given the shareholders over £1 million more than they were expecting.
We work in a virtual team with the lawyers. We help direct and have commercial input into any legal issues. Often legal points have a commercial solution. It is our job to help find that for you. We always aim to be direct and to understand the options in working around problems and find the most cost effective way through them.
But our main role in the Bank it stage of the process is to drive the whole process and give you have as much time and mental space as you need to run the business while all this is going on.