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How to prepare your business for sale

Are you thinking it may be time to move on from your business?

If you’re planning to sell your business, your mind has probably jumped to thoughts of how to manage the sales process and the price. But before listing it for sale, there are important housekeeping tasks to help you:

  • package your business so that it’s attractive to a new buyer
  • make the sales process as smooth as possible
  • achieve the best sale price.

Use the following checklist to help you get ready to sell your business.

Preparing your business for sale checklist

  • Make sure your financial records are up to date so you can readily provide financial information as needed. It’s essential to have financial statements for the past three to five years on hand as potential buyers will want to see them.
     
  • Secure your intellectual property. Check that the trademark for your business name and logo, and any other valuable business assets, are secured so they can be included as part of the sale. Learn the steps you can take to protect your intellectual property.
     
  • Review and update any procedure manuals, training documents or policies which relate to the operation of the business. If you don’t have this kind of information documented, creating these guides will make it easier for potential buyers to see themselves operating the business.
     
  • If you have business premises, check the lease and extend it for a longer period (if possible) so the new owner is not faced with the possibility of having to move locations soon after they take over.
     
  • Spruce up your business assets. If you have a bricks and mortar location give it a spring clean. The same goes for your online assets like your website or social media accounts – make sure they are secure and up to date.
     
  • Review all employment contracts and accrued entitlements. If you have staff with a lot of annual leave owing encourage them to take or book leave to make it easier for the new owner to manage leave liabilities.
     
  • Review your depreciation schedule and listed business assets to remove items that have been written off or are no longer held by the business.
     
  • If your business carries stock, conduct a stocktake to identify opportunities to get rid of unseasonal and out-of-date items. A stocktake can also help identify any assets owned by the business you may want to keep; this is your opportunity to transfer them out of the company (if it’s appropriate to do so).

It also helps to have a clear understanding of due diligence, so you’ll be prepared for what a purchaser may want to know about your business. Having this information readily available should help to speed up the due diligence process and reduce problems/delays in the sale of your business.

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