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Preparing your business for sale or transition print Print

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If you have decided to put your business on the market, this guide outlines some of the issues you need to consider and will help you prepare your business to maximum advantage.

Plan well in advance

As with many aspects of business life, the more advance planning you can do before you put your business up for sale the better. For example, as the rest of this guide amplifies, to present your business to best advantage you may need to fundamentally change the structure of your business or the way you operate it for a few years before an intended sale.

Create an advisory team

Start by creating an advisory team who will help you put together a plan for your exit strategy. There's no need to shoulder all the burden of the required decisions yourself. For example, your team might comprise:

  • An ANZ Business Specialist (there are bound to be financial and funding issues involved).
  • An accountant (to help with the best tax structure for the sale and help you draw up the financials).
  • A lawyer (to ensure all legal aspects are covered, such as transfer of leases).
  • A business broker or valuation expert.

Consider your ideal exit strategy

Share with your team your ideal exit strategy and what you want out of the sale. For example, you may need to reach a certain financial figure for the sale in order to meet your retirement goals. This information will help your team give you the appropriate advice on how best to achieve your objectives. Recognise from the start that few business sales result in the owner walking away with clean hands. You're unlikely to get exactly what you want, and the buyer(s) will probably have to make some compromises too. For instance, to entice buyers you may have to leave some finance in the business. You might also have to offer some training and remain in the business for a negotiable period until the buyer(s) have found their feet. However, once you accept this possibility, it can be presented as a plus in the sales stage. Many buyers like the thought of having the owner's experience to draw on during a transitional period.

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