Planning your exit strategy

Planning a strategy to maximise the assets of your business on sale requires patient, advance planning. You should start considering the issues a good five years before you plan to sell.

Most small businesses exit by trade sale, though other options include floating it on a stock exchange such as the Alternative Investment Market.

The Small Business Service advises businesspeople who want to sell to contact Business Transfer Agents who specialise in buying and selling businesses. They are listed in local telephone directories. Some estate agents also deal with the sale and purchase of businesses.

Consultation phase

You should also consult solicitors, accountants and independent financial advisers before selling your business.

Smaller firms are usually reliant on a few key members of staff to run the business successfully - but it is important when selling a business that potential buyers see plenty of valuable, tangible assets that stand out whether your key employees remain or not.

As an example, a service-sector business might rely on a few key employees charging for their time and contacts. Your business might be perceived to not be worth very much without you.

In short if you are planning to sell the company in the foreseeable future, it is beneficial to develop products, services and systems that are not heavily dependent on you as an individual or upon key members of staff.

Do contact us if you would like further help or advice on this subject.

When a business is bought or sold, there are certain regulations that govern the employment rights of the members of staff.