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Should I Tell My Partner I’m Selling My Business?

Selling My Business

Selling My BusinessGuess what honey – I’m Selling My Business

When I told my husband that I wanted to leave my business he thought I was ‘going through a phase.’ A few months later when I told him that I resigned as an employee he started to take me serious. Before my dramatic upheaval, everything seemed perfect in our lives. We had a nice big house, a beautiful 2 year old, holidays to the Caribbean and the security of a nice pay cheque and growing business. In fact, the company was so prosperous that my business partner and I had been taking out 10k/month, for over a year, to reduce our shareholder loans. Life was good, but I wasn’t happy.

I’ll save my detailed reasons for wanting to leave for another article, but to sum it up after 8 years I was bored, tired and in need of a lifestyle change. That aside, when I told hubby I quit my job he freaked out. In fact, I think he walked around stunned for 3 months. He couldn’t understand why I would ‘throw away all my efforts just like that.’

Fortunately, my exit was less painful than most – at least regarding the transaction. I wanted to sell the company yet my business partner wanted to keep it. To make a long story short, he purchased some of my shares, I quit the company and the rest is history. The journey from A to B however was a rough ride.

Do I regret telling my husband? No. I suppose I had to tell him. I was the main breadwinner so it would be unfair not to. Furthermore, I didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. I had no idea what the end result was going to be.

On the flip side, if I kept it quiet and after the journey ended, said, ‘Guess what honey – we now have quite a bit of money and I can spend time with you and baby Sienna, but I’m no longer a majority shareholding in my company,’ I’m sure his response would have been very positive.

The amount of business owners I know that have kept the sale secret is substantial and I can see why. And often after a first failed attempt, the amount of secrecy increases. It’s hard enough to prepare for an exit and endure the emotional roller-coaster but to add to it your partners’ fears and worries can often cause insanity. I might seem a bit dramatic but selling a business (or exiting your business) can be heart wrenching. All the time, money, love, dedication – your whole life wrapped up into back and forth negotiations over a sum of money and a way to walk away. And to make matters worse, it’s difficult to think of a future when your present is so tied up in such a large transaction.

So if you’re not sure about when or whether to tell your partner/spouse the business is up for sale, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • Can your partner handle dealing with uncertainty?
  • Will your partner be able to support you rather than add to the pressure?
  • Will your partner be upset if you don’t tell him or her?
  • Can you tell your partner in a way that helps them to feel comfortable with the plans?
  • Will your partner have a serious adverse reaction if the sale falls through?

If you do choose to tell your partner your plans, the one thing I would recommend is to keep quiet on the offer amounts. It’s bad enough if you sell for £3 million when you initially expected £10 million but adding your partners’ disappointment makes things even worse. Furthermore, I’d set the expectation that these things take a course of their own – selling a business can happen fast and you can get the value you feel you deserve or it could take ages or not happen at all.

And a final bit of advice, whether you tell your spouse or not make sure that you have someone in the business community that can act as an independent mentor throughout the process. Either a business ‘white-hair’ that has seen it, done it and has the t-shirt, or a business minded friend that can help you along the journey.

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business. Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”


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5 Tips To Do Before Selling Your Business

To Do Before Selling Your Business

5 Tips To Do Before Selling Your BusinessTo Do Before Selling Your Business

When selling a home there’s an industry term called ‘curb appeal’. When potential buyers are interested in a property, they often do a drive-by first to qualify whether further progress in the process is worthwhile. If the property looks untidy, dirty, in a state of disrepair or tired the potential buyer might deem the appeal to be below the threshold of future interest. If, however, the property looks appealing (from the curb) a viewing is more likely to be requested.

The same goes for a potential buyer interested in a business purchase. The qualifying process is somewhat different, nevertheless curb appeal does have the ability to make or break a sale.

But in relation to selling a business, where is the curb and what is the potential buyer looking at? And what are the tips to do before selling your business?

Let’s first explain the business sale process to demonstrate where curb appeal fits in.

For the process of selling a business, to progress, a seller first needs to express the offer. The offer will include a brief outline of the opportunity, some figures and the nature of the business. At this stage, the business itself will not be disclosed so the buyer needs to decide to move forward if the offer (on paper) looks interesting.

If the buyer expresses an interest, and after signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), they will then get more in-depth details including the name and location of the company for sale within the Memorandum of Information (MOI).

Curb appeal kicks in after receiving the MOI.

Once the potential buyer gets the MOI, one of the first things they will look at is the sellers’ website and online presence. This covers the website, blogs, published papers/books, Twitter page, Facebook account, Linkedin profiles and so on.

The buyer may be looking for an opportunity for a good return on investment or they might want to add on complementary products or services to the current range they offer. The reasons for buying are numerous but despite the reasoning, curb appeal will have an effect.

And how does curb appeal affect the Business Owner?

So, imagine Mr or Mrs Business Owner sitting in the car (office) along the curb looking at a house (your business’ online presence). What are they going to think? What gut feeling will they get when they see your marketing messages, testimonials, communications and overall look and feel? What are they going to think about your ability to handle online complaints?

Are they going to get excited? Will they sit up straight or perhaps lean forward closer to the screen to gain a deeper understanding about your business? Is it possible that they will quickly see the potential and will be eager to take the MOI with them to a local coffee shop and really examine the opportunity? Is it possible that the potential buyer can even envision a future where they share the website link with friends (after the sale) with pride?

You might think that a website is superficial and easy to replace but that’s not the point. Even seasoned property investors have troubles visualising the potential in something with low curb appeal. And frankly, why make it hard for a buyer to clearly see the full opportunity. I’m sure you’ve worked hard at building your business so don’t let something like curb appeal lessen your chances for a successful sale.

That being said, I’m not suggesting that sellers spend loads of cash and lots of time to seriously recreating their online presence. What I am saying, however is that sellers need to appreciate the power of curb appeal and use it to their advantage.

So here are 5 tips to do before selling your business.

Before allowing buyers to peak into your windows, do the following:

  1. Ensure your branding is consistent across every platform your company is involved with. The easiest way to do this is to ask your admin staff to print off the main pages of your website, your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin pages in addition to any other area that has your business profile or details on it. Once you have all the printouts, make sure that they all have the same logo, same tag-line, same profile wording, same imagery and so forth. The aim is to demonstrate that your online presence is consistent. No buyer wants a company that has different logo’s, random profiles and outdated content stretched across the net. You can also do this exercise with your off-line client facing documents.
  2. Update your copy! Many business owners throw up a website or profile, put up a few testimonials and mention relevant information yet neglect to update it. Nothing’s worse than seeing a testimonial dated 2005 or seeing that the last time the company had news or a press release was in 1998. It doesn’t take long to look at the main pages and make sure that the copy reflects recent times. Take a look at all of your online communication points and make sure they’re up to date. If you haven’t tweeted in 6 months, get back onto it. There are several automated systems now available so playing the, ‘I don’t have time’ card won’t work.
  3. Consider refreshing the website with new images. You want to make the business look fresh, exciting, clean and relevant. By simply swapping out old images you can give the site a new look with very little costs. Check out for a wide range of beautiful photographs and other imagery.
  4. Do damage control on any bad reviews or public complaints. No one is perfect and everyone accepts that businesses can make mistakes. Furthermore, most people realise that there are a few chronic complainers out there just to cause pain to business owners. That aside, getting a few complaints isn’t the problem – it’s how you deal with the complaints that can get you into trouble. If someone has given you a bad rating or complained about you on a third party website (regardless as to whether the customer is in the wrong) it’s now an absolute necessity to deal with the complaint (if you haven’t already done so). You don’t have to accept blame but you do need to accept responsibility. If there are any complaints on the Internet about your business, respond to them publicly and professionally and ask to take it ‘off-line’ so that you can remedy the situation. Hopefully once a remedy has been made, you can also ask for the commenter to write another comment espousing how helpful you were.
  5. Be truthful. Make sure that your website is truthful and truly represents who you are (as a business). You don’t want to have information that says you have a staff of 50 when there are only 5 of you. Nor do you want to show images of a white sparkly office building when it’s actually a brown run-down abandon warehouse. When a potential buyer comes to visit and doesn’t see what’s expected they’ll quickly wonder what else is misleading.

Don’t let curb appeal distract would-be potential buyers from buying. Take a few days to assess your online presence, updated it and deal with any potential problem areas.

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business. Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”


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Interview: Bored Business Owner Steps Back Rather Than Sells Out

Bored Business Owner

Interview: Bored Business Owner Steps Back Rather Than Sells Out

Business owners that have become bored or frustrated with their business have a range of solutions. They can:

  • Close down the business (drastic!)
  • Pass it on to other family members
  • Put it up for sale
  • Go on a course to spur up new ideas, new connections
  • Remove themselves from the day to day running
  • Do nothing and become more and more unhappy

After twenty years of owning the successful Green Board Game Company, owner Gary Wyatt felt bored and thought the time had come to sell. Gary explained that he “fell out of love with the original idea.”

When asking Gary how he found the process emotionally he said, “I went to a “free” consultation with a particular business sales consultancy and had follow-up meetings with them.  I was not overly impressed with the consultant allocated to my business.  It seemed that they didn’t care what business I had.  It was all numbers based.  Their approach was to try and create an auction by telling everyone they could find that the business was up for sale. ‘Another brick in the wall’ sprang to mind.”

Gary went on to explain, “Emotionally, I really didn’t like this as I had spent a long time building the business.  It had my personality and love in the products and I wasn’t prepared to sell it in such an impersonal way. I had visions of the Pink Floyd video with mincemeat coming out of the production line.”

As a result, last year Gary decided against selling and instead installed a full time Managing Director. Since the transition Gary has selected the tasks he enjoys, reduced his time at the office and has successfully groomed the MD to push the company forward.  He now spends his time the way he wants and has eradicated the not-so-fun business management tasks. When asked if he’s happy with his decision, Gary comments, “I couldn’t be happier.”

Before finishing the interview, I asked Gary what he would have done differently, and this was his response:

  1. Thought through whether I really wanted to sell the business
  2. Analysed what I would do with my time more thoroughly
  3. Found a more empathetic business sales consultant
  4. Talked to people who had gone through the process
  5. Researched likely purchasers myself

Interview Takeaways

When first considering a sale, there are quite a few things to take in, and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up with one train of thought. If you’re bored, disillusioned or simply tired of managing the business there are alternatives to selling out. Aside from bringing in an MD or management team you could also consider going on a business growth course. Sometimes an injection of new ideas and new connections can recharge your enthusiasm.

Sometimes it’s a matter of paying more attention to what you enjoy and how to get back to that versus what you don’t particularly enjoy. And then take action to redress the balance. I remember times during our business growth spurt when I felt that my passion in the business was being sucked into HR and growing pain challenges and issues.  I became bored and frustrated, thinking I was stuck. I blamed it on necessary management tasks but I realised in time that while growing the business it gave me the opportunity to develop people to work in the business so I could get back to working on the business which I loved doing.

The message is this – if you’re bored or feel frustrated there are solutions! Hopefully this interview has given you some food for thought.

Joanna Miller helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is helping owners understand how to prepare and make the most of their business sale process to maximise their company’s value. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase her book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale

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Life After Selling A Business

Life After Selling A Busienss

Life After Selling A BusinessSelling your business – Define your life after selling a business so you know your aiming for

Business owners choose to sell their business for a variety of reasons. Some want to move away from pain and others are interested in moving towards more pleasure.  One business owner might want to escape personal exhaustion whereas another is eager to seek out a new exciting challenge. Some owners might feel forced to sell for personal reasons (health or relationship issues) and others might think it’s time to cash out before the business peaks.

Regardless as to the particular reason for selling it’s imperative to spend time defining what life after selling a business will be like. In other words, the sale is not the end goal – it’s a milestone towards a new life.

Imagine that you and I are sitting in a coffee shop a few months after your business sold, what would your likely response be to the below questions? Pretend that everything went perfectly and you’re now living your ideal life. With that scenario in mind, answer these questions as if they’ve already happened:

  • What’s your life after selling a business like? How do you spend your time? How do you feel about the activities that have replaced your old life?
  • How’s your health? How do you feel about your health?
  • Who’s in your life – what relationships do you have, what do you do with them and how do you feel about them?
  • How do you feel about yourself? Do you like who you are? Do you like this new lifestyle?
  • Are you enjoying the fruits of your labour? If yes, what are the results of cashing in? (What have you purchased, how has the money impacted your life and how do you feel about it?)

Contrary to what most people believe, life does not progress in chronological order. Life actually starts off with your end result and then your life progresses to meet that end result.  In relation to actually selling your business, it’s important to think about a smooth business sale process in addition to visualising your completion party but that’s not really the end goal. That’s just one step towards the new lifestyle you’re seeking out.

The end goal is your post-sale lifestyle that you hopefully took the time to think about by answering the above questions. The way that life works is that you define what your ideal life is and then you go out into the world, take action (any action) and things, events, people fall into your path to direct you to your predetermined ideal life.

If you haven’t determined the end result, then you’ll most likely continue living and feeling the way you do right now, however the stage props might be different. Instead of having a business around you, you’ll have some other surrounding.

If you’re struggling with this concept, think back to any large success that you’ve achieved. To achieve that specific success (and not something different) you must have defined it. You decided that you wanted X and then set in motion to achieve X. Depending on your beliefs about reality, you went on a smooth or bumpy journey yet eventually arrived at the end result. Selling your business and transitioning into a new life is similar. Decide what you want, feel what it feels like to have it and then go out and take action.

This is the number 1 most important step in selling your business. If you keep doing/thinking what you’ve always been doing/thinking, you’ll get the same results. A fantastic lifestyle change is there for the taking and all you need to do is just claim it.

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”

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Maximise Business Value By Increasing Profits

Maximise Business Value

Increasing your profits before you sell to maximise business value.

Preparing a business to be sold is no small feat – especially when you want to do all you can to maximise business value. During the lead up to a sale, all efforts need to be focused on increasing profits and reducing waste. There are three main ways to grow a business. By fully understanding these profit growing techniques, and implementing them correctly, you’ll be able to instigate an exponential growth curve. Being able to demonstrate an upward curve should cause buyers to be clambering at your gates.

The three techniques to maximise business value through profit increases include increasing:

  • The amount of people buying
  • The average sales order value
  • The frequency of purchase – getting current buyers to buy more often

If you increase these three areas by only 10% you’ll effectively achieve a 33% increase in profits.

For example, let’s pretend you have 1,000 clients with an average sales value of £100 and your customers buy 3 times per year.

1,000 x 100 x 3 = 300,000

By increasing the clients, the average sales value and the frequency of purchase by 10% each you’ll get:

1,100 x 110 x 3.3 = 399,300 (a 33% increase)

That means that you simply need to attract 10% more clients, create a way to increase the sales value by 10% and achieve a 10% increase in the frequency.

Keeping in mind that you’re working on selling the business, now is not time to roll out new products, start massive campaigns or new initiatives. It’s time to working on your business not in it. Small changes can lead to a massive increase in profits. The key is to work smart and keep it simple. Here are some quick-to-implement suggestions on how you can increase each area by 10% or more:

Increase the amount of people buying from you (to maximise business value)

If you want to increase leads quickly you can have them delivered to your inbox within hours. Create a Google pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Creating a campaign isn’t rocket science however most businesses get it wrong and lose money. First, let me explain what it is. PPC is a way for you to buy click-throughs to your website for a very low cost (20p – 50p each) from the Internet. You create a small advert and assign keywords to it.  When a user types in those keywords the advert appears on the search results page.

This is where being smart comes in. Not only do you want the user to click on the advert, but you want them to come to your website and leave their details so that you can then follow-up (and sell to them). They’re not a lead until you have the ability to contact them! The best way to get a user to leave their details is to offer something of high-perceived value that costs little or nothing to you.

Examples include, offering a free report, free sample, free video or free consultation. The best freebies offer to solve the user’s largest problem (in relation to your product or service). So, if you’re a letting agent looking for new landlords, you’d advertise a free booklet on the ‘Top 10 Tips To Maximise Rental Returns.’ If you sell a cost cutting service to businesses, you’d advertise something like, ‘Free Guide On Reducing Business Expenditure By 30%’ and so forth.

The PPC advert promotes the freebie and once the user is on the website, they must enter their contact details to get the freebie. All in all, the whole set up requires a PPC account, a landing page on a website, a form to collect the users details and some sort of freebie. Within a day you can have the whole thing set up and streaming in new leads.

This is precisely the system that I’ve used in the past and my return on investment (ROI) was around the 400% mark. Anyone that tells you that PPC is a waste of money just doesn’t know how to use it correctly.

Increase the average sales value (to ultimately maximise business value)

This is real easy. Studies show that around 40% of people will say yes to an upsell at the point of purchase. The best company to refer to regarding this principle is McDonalds. They were happily selling their burgers and then decided to ask every buyer at point of purchase, ‘Would you like fries with your order?’ And guess what happened? Over 40% said ‘yes’ and McDonalds immediately increased their profits by the millions.

What can you offer to your buyers at the point of purchase? Last week I went online to buy some new bedding. I selected a duvet, cover, bottom sheet, and some pillows. Being satisfied with my selection, I went to check out and right before purchase I was offered a beautiful bundle of fresh white towels for only £14.99. Did I buy them? Yep. And I’m sure lots of other people buy them too. When people are spending money, keep giving them reasons to spend more. You’re not adding any extra work – you’re just including another step within the sales process.

Implementing this one technique can seriously impact your bottom line and improve it.

So, what could you upsell at the point of purchase? And if 40% of your buyers said yes, what would that do to your profits?

Increase the frequency of purchase (to maximise business value)

The best way to increase a frequency of purchase is to make sure you’re in front of the consumer as much as possible. In my businesses I’ve relied heavily on automated emails and newsletters. I would send out educational content adding value to the customer in addition to reminding them to buy something from me. This type of system however is very time consuming to set up.

Knowing that a sale is on the horizon and you want to maximise business value, the quickest way to increase your frequency would be to set up a short automated email sequence reminding the customer of other products or services they might like. You can also schedule into your sales process a telesales call. The best way to do this is to call a customer a few days after purchase as a routine customer service call. While asking them about their purchase, have your caller(s) prepared to sell another item.

And if you don’t have a product or service to offer find someone that does. There’s no harm in selling someone else’s product or service so long as you get a nice cut from the deal.  Brainstorm companies out there that want to sell to your database. Then go out with the intention of setting up a joint venture. This is a very quick technique that can increase profits easily. Doing joint ventures will allow you to leverage the database with no added stock or work on your end.

As I say often – work on the business rather than in it (Read the article ‘Working On Your Business Not In It’) . By simply pulling yourself out from the day to day running of things, you’ll be able to focus on top-level strategic techniques like these three that will put you in prime position for a quick business sale.

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”

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Business Valuation – What Is Your UK Business Worth?

Business ValuationBusiness Valuation Essentials.

Recently, I came across a statistic on an online business sales website stating that 66% of business owners don’t know what their business valuation. Admittedly, I didn’t know how valuable my business was until I took a business growth course. During the ‘money’ section of my studies I was pleasantly surprised to discover my company was worth several millions. Unfortunately for many of my classmates, they discovered just the opposite.

Do you know how much your business is worth? If not, let me walk you through some of the elements that affect your value and finish off with an easy calculation you can do.

What affects your business valuation

Business Model – There are several business models however, to give you a quick example…a company that has a reoccurring revenue model will be more valuable than an outfit that has to continuously pitch for new business. Reoccurring revenue provides a company with an embedded value, or in other words, a strong certainly for future profits. An agency type model, for example, has to rely on winning future work introducing a higher risk (and harder work) for profit growth.

Industry Sector – Some industry sectors are valued higher than others mainly due to their growth potential. Technology businesses created in a way that can scale nationally/globally have the ability to provide huge value and in turn create huge value. On the opposite side of the scale, a local business (such as a used car dealership), will have a capped value simply due to the industry and obvious growth limits.

Age of Business – Older businesses with a track record of growing profits will be valued higher than younger businesses. An older business will be in the position to demonstrate more proof of stability and profitability.

Circumstances of Sale – If you need to sell because of health issues, poor performance or any kind of personal problem your value could be drastically impacted. Buyers love desperate sellers as they use misfortune to their advantage.   The more desperate the seller is, the lower the value may drop.

Tangible Assets – A company that has equipment, buildings and/or stock can be valued by its assets. If you’re sitting on quite a few tangible assets, that alone provides a base figure to start your valuation. Service companies, on the other hand, often have very few tangible assets.

Current Economy – If the economy is suffering and you want to sell a luxury business it’s highly probable that a sale will be difficult. On the other end of the spectrum, parting with a fast food business during a recession could come easy – bad economies cause an increase in fast food consumption.

Product/Service Lifecycle – If your product or service is in demand, your value will go up. If however, you’re declining business your value will suffer.  Think of the difference between tablet devices and CD’s. One is on the upward trend and the other one has been in massive decline over the last several years.

Financial Performance – I’ve saved the most important for last. Financial performance is key. If your historical management information reports and accounts prove exponential growth, by definition, you’re a valuable company. Before selling, you want to do everything possible to ensure that your company is a growth machine. Otherwise, you can still sell, however the value of the business will be less and you’ll have to prove its value in other terms or demonstrate how particular changes will positively impact the growth.

Your Business Valuation and YOU

Before calculating a ballpark valuation for your business, there’s one element that is very important to consider. Your business is more valuable if it can run without you. If you had to take a 6 month sabbatical being completely cut off from your company starting right now, would you still have a company at the end of that duration? Buyers don’t want to buy you because you’re busy running the business – they want to buy a company that runs regardless as to whether you (or any key staff member) are there or not. Keep this in mind as it’s often on of the largest obstacles in quickly exiting a business.

There are loads of other facts that affect a business valuation. It depends on what the buyer wants and their acquisition reasons. Some buyers want a proven return on investment whereas other buyers are looking to expand their market share or simply want an in-road to your customer database. Lot’s to think about – eh? Let’s take a look at calculating the ballpark value of your business.

Value your Business with the Business Multiplier Calculation (Net Profit Multiples – P/E Ratio)

Some industries have multiples associated to them. These multiples are used in conjunction with a company’s’ profit after tax.  Many use a multiple between 1 and 10 whereas some technology companies use a multiple of 25. So, if your profit after tax is £1,000,000 and your industry multiple is 4, your estimated value would be £4,000,000.

You can also create a multiple yourself by considering your yearly return on investment. Let’s say that you consistently get a 20% return per year. 20% is one fifth of 100% therefore providing a multiple of 5. With the above example, your business would then have an estimated value of £5,000,000. Once you have an estimated value you then need to consider the numerous elements that can then affect that number.

Some factors, like having a database of 100,000 customers will increase your value as it’s an asset whereas other factors, such as the business relying heavily on you, will drastically decrease it.

If you are just starting on your journey to selling your business there’s a lot to think about. The thing to keep in mind is that you’re not alone – there’s many of us out there that have successfully and profitably exited our business.

For a deeper understanding of the whole start-to-finish business sale process, please start your journey by reading the FREE Chapter: “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale” 

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”

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Selling Your Business – Working On Your Business Not In It

Working On Your Business Not In It

Working On Your Business Not In ItWorking On Your Business Not In It.

Starting and growing a business in the UK is no small feat. In fact, if most business owners understood the difficulties beforehand, they’d probably never start! We employers go against the grain, carry on despite our family members saying, ‘Are you crazy?’ and we push, shove, and force our way down a bumpy path of growth. Things at first are a massive struggle but over time the profits start to come in and new employees lighten the load.

The whole journey of business creation and growth is amazing. There are times of elation – like landing the first big client and times of woe – like when the economy threatens to smoulder out the fire of success. There are ups and downs. Good ideas and bad. Successes and failures. But we business owners keep on keeping on because we’ve learned that through tenacity and hard work rewards will come.

The unfortunate thing is, however, in all our zest for world (or local) domination we often lose sight as to why we created our business and what we wanted from it. Furthermore, we fail to notice the signs that we’ve changed and want something different or something more.

For over six years I had my head down working, working and working. Even my dreams consisted of management reports, new marketing strategies and ways to crack my latest HR nightmare. I became so caught up in making the business a success that I didn’t even realise how successful it actually was. A sense of balance was long lost and I forgot why I was doing what I was doing.

Like many others out there, I created a successful business however I failed to create a successful life. Instead of working on the business I became an expert at working in the business. The larger we grew, the heavier my load felt. I kept doing what I had always been doing because I didn’t realise any other option. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Fortunately, my business partner enabled me to exit by purchasing my shares. I was too far gone to be salvaged. At the time I had decided that I had to get out and out I went. However, in hindsight I’ve realised quite a few things. We business owners don’t enter a business with our exit in mind. We don’t always carve out a business that supports a lifestyle that makes us happy. We work so hard to get things going that once they’re going we just keep working hard. Knowing what I know now, I can see that I kept doing the things I felt I had to do despite the fact that they made me insane. I didn’t have to carry on working in my business – I could have worked on my business.

Whether you’re fed up like I was and are selling your business or your simply tired of the same old grind, working on your business not in it will enable your journey to change for the better.

To pull yourself out of the day-to-day hum drum there are few quick things you can do to get started. Consider going on a business growth course, hiring a growth consultant/non-executive or join a networking group focused on top level strategy.

If you need a helping hand, send me an email letting me know what you’re after and I’ll give you the details of my recommendations.  Email me at:

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”

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5 Top Tips To Selling Your Business

Selling Your Business5 Tips You Must Know Before Selling Your Business!

Doing something for the first time creates a steep learning curve. Think about the lessons learned when starting to drive, becoming a parent or taking on a new hobby. At first, things were difficult but over time and through practice the curve settled down. You made mistakes but kept practicing and in the long run a level of proficiency was mastered.

Unfortunately, when you sell your business you don’t have the opportunity to allow the curve to settle down. There’s very little room for practice and mistakes can cause devaluation or even break the deal. You either get things right or you don’t and the latter can result in excess costs, time delays and sleepless nights.

Selling your business will most likely be a one-time event rather than a skill you can learn to master unless you set out to become a serial entrepreneur. That being the case, it’s imperative to understand how the sale process works, who the players are, what they’re trying to achieve and how to ensure you can maximise your sale value.

  1. Begin the sales process with the end in mind. Take a few hours away from the business, sit in a peaceful room and visualise what you ultimately want to achieve. If you don’t know where you’re going chances are that you’ll end up somewhere that you don’t like! Imagine the best possible scenario. Think about the amount of cash in your bank, the amount of time you’ll need to stick around post-sale and then really get creative and picture all the things you want to do once the business is sold. Once you’ve tried various scenarios, get a piece of paper and create a mind-map or vision board with words and/or images to encapsulate the end goal. Think about how you’ll feel and pretend that you’ve already achieved a sale – describe what you see, think and feel on paper. Keep this with you at all times. When fears or doubts come up refer to it.
  2. Maximise valuation by being prepared. When selling a house, buyers will look for reasons to negotiate a lower price. If the survey reveals a bad roof, damp or some kind of serious fault the buyer may reduce the offer or worse – walk away. Same goes for your business. Being prepared means taking the time to clean things up, get everything organised and put your best foot forward. To best be prepared don’t enter the sale process blindly – learn what you need to do look as attractive as possible before you place your business up for sale. (If you haven’t done so already, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”
  3. Consider a range of sale options and make a commitment to yourself on what you will accept versus what you won’t. When a buyer takes a serious interest in you they’ll create what is called a ‘Consideration’ that outlines a potential deal. The amount of money you want is one thing to contemplate but that’s only one part of the Consideration.  The deal can include cash right away, deferred cash, cash and options, deferred options, and on and on. Additionally, the offer might require an earn-out. This is where you have stay with the company for a set amount of time and hit specific targets to realise your pay-out.  An acceptable consideration can be planned for – make sure you know what you want and create a strategy on how to increase your chances to get it. For example, if you want to avoid an earn-out, your strategy must be one that eliminates your value to the business before you sell.
  4. Pick your team carefully. Remember this isn’t a journey that allows for practice or making mistakes. The team members needed – Corporate Broker/Financier, Accountant, Consultant, Tax Advisor  – play this game often. Even through they will work on your behalf, they may have their own agenda and objectives. Some will be right for you and others won’t. Research how best to compare services and match them against your end game.  One wrong team member can ruin the whole process – don’t let this happen to you.
  5. Find a friend or mentor you can confide in when times get tough. Despite the fact that you may be eager to exit the business, it’s still likely to be an emotional journey. Life can get a bit bumpy when the professionals treat your business like a mere transaction, deal fever takes charge or a completion falls through. Have someone available that knows what’s going and can be on hand to coach you through the hard times and celebrate your successes.

Selling your business in the UK can be an exciting adventure that results in great success. It can also be a life-sucking nightmare. Don’t enter the process blindly – educate yourself through independent information rather than learning by experience alone.

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”

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Preparing to Sell Your Business – How to Quickly Cut the Costs of Your IT

Preparing to Sell Your Business

Preparing to Sell Your BusinessQuickly cut the costs of your IT while preparing to sell your business.

To maximise your business valuation there are two main objectives – to cut costs and increase profits. Achieving these two objectives will enable your business to be presented in the best light. One limitation however is time. Business owners wanting to sell need to make quality decisions that will impact the figures sooner rather than later.

Creating an IT cost reduction plan can deliver results within days.

In my business, however, I was very close minded about making changes to my IT structure. I had a full time IT manager, a couple servers in a closet, around 40 personal computers (some old and some new) and a variety of software packages including Microsoft Office, Sage ACT!, Sage Accounts, etc. (some legal and some not-so-legal). Every week there was some sort of hardware failure or connectivity issue. And as we grew the cost of upgrading software started to cause nightmares not to mention a financial burden. My IT guy was always busy with hardware issues or software compatibility problems – he definitely had job security.

Even with all these problems…I was afraid of moving anything off-site and had no idea what the ‘cloud’ was. One day I realised that there must be a better way – I did some research, decided on a plan and made some radical cost cutting changes. As a result I also eradicated most, if not all, of my IT issues.

There’s an IT revolution currently going on, but you won’t hear about it from your IT staff because it will make them redundant!

Listed below are a variety of options to consider that will enable you to cut IT costs (and seriously reduce your hassle). Furthermore, keep in mind that when preparing to sell your business, you want to cut costs and increase profits. This is a great way to take a chunk out of your expense report.

  1. Rent your software rather than buy it. Nowadays quite a few software offerings are available on the Internet rather than being hosted on internal company servers. For example, Salesforce (manage your sales pipeline and process) and Basecamp (helps manage projects) are two popular online software offerings. In the future, all software will be out there in the cloud rather than hosted on site but we’re still a few years from that happening. The main issue is that business owners just don’t realise the available options and access to a permanent, good Internet connection needs to be more pervasive.The concern with online software is connection issues – what happens if your Internet connection goes down? What do you do then? Fortunately, issues like that have been addressed and cloud software allow users to have a local copy of the software and your data in addition to using the online version. And if you’re really paranoid (like I was), you could have two types of Internet connections – one coming into the building and a backup mobile/satellite option.Even Microsoft Office has an online offering. For as low as £3.90/user/month you can rent the most updated version of MS Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) in addition to getting Email, collaboration software, web conferencing and even a website. An alternative to Microsoft is Google Apps which have a similar set of applications available. The great thing about online software is that everyone in the business always has the most updated version so there’s no need for licenses or upgrade costs. Furthermore, you don’t have to fiddle around with installations or conflicts because one computer has a different version from another. Also, your PCs and mobile/tablet devices can access the software from any location (if that’s something you desire). And yes…there’s one more benefit – you no longer need to worry about anti-virus software as that’s included too.When preparing to sell your business, you’ll need legal versions of all your software. Furthermore, it’s important to have the most-up-to-date versions of everything running. With that in mind, would it be cost effective to move online with most, if not all, of your software needs?
  2. Move your file storage/backups offsite. The more you store on your local file server, the more storage capacity you will have to add to your backup process and the longer it will take to backup. Due to the threat of fires, risk of accidental deletes, malicious employees or hardware malfunctions the cost of having a melt-down could be massive. Have you ever thought about what you’d do if you lost all your data? These things are often head-in-the-sand issues. You just don’t want to think about them.Considering your intentions now is a great time to move your files and storage to the ‘cloud.’ The cloud is simply a term that indicates space on the Internet that is housed outside of your business – hopefully in area that is backed-up, bomb proof, fire proof and set up to minimise hardware faults. Also – cloud based offerings can provide very quick fixes when things do go wrong.When preparing to sell your business you’ll have to clean up your file structure and make sure that everything is in its perfect place. While doing the clean-up, why not include moving the information off-site too?Regarding cost savings – this is one of those things that is more preventative than anything else. My IT person wasn’t fiddling with the servers often, however our backup system consisted of a nominated person taking a tape home every night. If that person failed to take the tape home, we’d lose at least a days’ worth of work. Not only that, we never actually tested that the data restore process worked!! For my business, that was too risky. We eventually moved all our storage off-site knowing that there are far better people to look after our data assets!
  3. Move all your hardware and software externally. This takes quite a lot of balls to even consider – especially if you’re a traditional brick and mortar business. When I first contemplated moving everything outside of the business walls I felt very uncomfortable. I always liked to see everything and control everything. Well – I took baby steps and in the end realised that a complete outsource of everything IT was heaven. After moving our servers and software to the cloud I no longer needed a £40/k IT Manager anymore. Furthermore, I never had to worry about software or hardware upgrades other than the internal hardware. Internally, I simply had a few spare computers sitting off to the side to swap out if anything every happened.

This IT revolution is similar to the outsourced electricity revolution. Back in the day, companies had their own power source whether it was their own water wheel or mini electricity plant. No business owner would consider outsourcing their electricity needs! The same is happening to the IT industry. Your business is unique because of your products or services not because of your IT infrastructure (unless you’re an IT, data centre or hosted software company!). Stating that, if it’s not part of your core and you can safely outsource it for a lower cost, what’s stopping you?

Throughout the past several years I’ve worked with a couple excellent ‘cloud’ companies who hand-hold business owners through the whole outsourcing process. If you’re interested in outsourcing some or all of your IT, send me an email letting me know your broad requirements and I’ll give you the details of my recommendations.  Email me at:

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”

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Selling Your Business – The 12 Step Sale Process

Selling Your Business Steps

Selling Your Business StepsTwelve Steps to Selling Your Business.

The business sale process is quite straightforward. Provided you’ve prepared for the sale, the journey can be a fun adventure. Listed below are the 12 steps that take over after the preparation stage is complete. These steps also assume that your business sale team is in place. The core team members include a business broker (corporate financier), accountant, corporate solicitor and personal tax/financial advisors. At the end of this process the ideal outcome is to pop the champagne and celebrate a successful completion and business exit.

  1. Create a list of buyers. Your broker will help you brainstorm a large list of potential buyers. To increase the chances for success the larger the list the better. As with any negotiation, competition helps to increase desire and with increased desire comes higher offers.
  2. Create the teaser letter and prepare for issuing. Your broker will create this for you. This is a short letter outlining the broad opportunity. It explains the type of business, top-level figures like profits and revenue in addition to reasons for sale and overall opportunity. At this stage your company won’t be named.
  3. A potential buyer expresses interest. After receipt of the teaser letter, interested parties will get in touch with your broker to express a desire for more information.
  4. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) signed by any interested party. Before your broker tells the interested parties your company name or any more details, a NDA agreement will be signed. This is a legal document that aims to ensure the interested parties keep all materials and information related to the opportunity confidential.
  5. Send the Memorandum of Information (MOI) to any interested parties. The MOI will be written by your broker and is similar to a business plan. It should be around 20 pages long and showcases your business in the best light possible. The document will include your business history, organisational structure, employee bios, shareholdings, customer and markets, sales and marketing, product and service descriptions in addition to financials.
  6. Potential buyer proceeds or drops out. During this step your broker will be contacting all interested parties to determine if they’re interested in proceeding.
  7. Meet the potential buyer face-to-face and give a presentation. This important meeting is often held at your broker’s office or a venue off-site. Generally, the presentation is another version of the MOI spread out into around 10 – 15 slides. Presentations are often targeted to last for a half hour and then open up for discussion.
  8. Indicative offers received. After the presentation stage, your broker will filter through offers. It’s very important to have your personal tax advisor/financial advisor on hand during this stage. Some offers look great but may actually leave you worse off than others.
  9. Shortlist potential buyers. Hopefully you’re flooded with offers and are able to easily shortlist the potential buyers to a few that seem most appropriate for the business. Eventually, you’ll need to choose one and proceed through to completion.  Most buyers will ask for exclusivity at this point as they don’t want to pay the price of due diligence only to lose the sale.
  10. Due diligence is performed. The potential buyers will have teams of people scouring your business to uncover every detail. The process isn’t finished until every stone is unturned. You’ll find yourself filling out spreadsheet questionnaires from one buyers’ department only to be asked the same questions from another team.
  11. Final offer letter(s) are issued. Provided that you are prepared, disclosed any issues upfront and are maintaining forecasted figures your offer shouldn’t be too far from the indicative offers provided in step eight.
  12. Completion. For the final stage you and your team will meet at the buyers’ solicitors office. There’s usually several rooms put aside. One room for signing, one for the buyers’ team and one for your team. There will also be rooms for negotiation and another room for private conversations. If all goes well, the papers are all signed and you finish the day with a celebratory glass of bubbly!

This process can progress smoothly. It can also cause your life to be a living nightmare. The best thing you can do is prepare, prepare, prepare. Find out what you need to do to make sure your business will get the highest valuation and ensure the sale process goes as smoothly as possible. Download your FREE chapter and get started today: “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale – FREE CHAPTER.”

Kim Brown, Co-Founder of Business Wand, helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business.  Her specialty is to help owners cut costs and increase profits prior to sale. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase the book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”