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Sell Your Business – Data Room Index

Data Room Index

What should a Data Room Index look like?

When considering selling your business, you may hear mention of a Data Room. Since this is something specific to the due diligence process of a business sale or a project bid, your first question may well be “what is a data room”? And following after, you’ll then wonder what a data room index is…

What is a Data Room?

Data is the key to confidence on the part of a potential buyer, being an important factor in the agreed price – and indeed, whether or not a sale goes ahead at all. A data room is often used to help with this aspect of the process.

As a business vendor, you will want to make sure that your potential buyers have access to as much data about your business as they need, in order to make their decision, and to value your business fairly. At the same time, you may well have understandable concerns about the confidentiality of the data. After all, you certainly wouldn’t want commercially sensitive data to be sent around insecurely, with the risk of its being passed on to unauthorised parties.

This is where a data room comes in. The practice of using a data room dates back many years, and has traditionally been a specific room where all of the relevant data is kept for inspection by the bidders. The room is carefully monitored, with the purpose of ensuring that the data is only inspected there, and that it doesn’t leave the room insecurely.

As time has moved on and technology has advanced, the concept of a data room has become increasingly computer-based. If a physical data room is used, it’s likely to contain secure computers owned and controlled by the vendor (or their data room service provider). These computers can be used to view relevant data on-screen, but won’t be linked to the internet and won’t permit copies of files to be made or e-mailed.

In the past few years, though, virtual data rooms have become more popular, as they do away with a lot of the costs and logistical requirements of physical data rooms. A virtual data room is essentially a secure website, carefully controlled with authorised log-ins and data encryption, that allows access to all of the files that would traditionally have been available in the physical data room.

There are several benefits of using a virtual data room, including that authorised users can access it from anywhere with an internet connection, so there’s no longer any need for a dedicated room or physical security. It eliminates the need for bidders and advisors to travel to a particular location, so it reduces costs and allows inspection to be done at a time convenient to the due diligence team. This is especially useful when considering international acquisitions.

Unless your business already operates in the area of secure technology, you will almost certainly want to have a virtual data room set up for you by a specialist provider. They will ensure that only authorised users have access to the data, and that digital rights management restrictions are applied to documents so that they cannot be copied, forwarded or printed without specific permission.

When selecting a provider, ask for assurances that they have dealt with clients in your sector before, and check that they fulfil relevant audit and compliance requirements such as the International Safe Harbor Privacy regulations agreed between the United States and the European Union. You will certainly want them to offer security features such as digital watermarking, 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication login, and customisable security clearance levels for users.

And what about this Data Room Index (or file structure)?

Your virtual data room provider should be able to advise you on a suitable data room index or  file structure for the users to access, but when setting up the files, it’s helpful to consider the whole thing from the bidders’ point of view. You’ll want to ensure that everything they are likely to need is provided in the data room, so if in doubt, ask your own lawyer to get hold of (or create) the kind of checklist that a bidder is likely to use when undertaking due diligence. (You can also purchase our Data Room Pack at our store or visit our freebie’s to see our ‘Data Room Structure Sample’). The exact information to be provided will vary a little from sector to sector, but as an example, you’ll want to include the following in your data room index:

Legal – Certificates of incorporation, memorandum & articles of association, share registers, shareholder transaction listings, minutes of board and shareholder meetings, records of any lawsuits or legal proceedings, etc.

Financial – Statutory accounts, management accounts, asset registers, leases, land and building title deeds, finance policies, authorisation levels, etc.

Regulatory – Licences, certifications, registrations, official inspection records, etc.

Human Resources – Organisation charts, employment policies, salary structures, payroll records, employment contracts, staff turnover reports, etc.

Make sure that the files and folders are set out in a logical, intuitive way, and be sure to include contact details so that bidders can get in touch with your key people to confirm key information.

You will find that you can make life easier for yourself if you prepare for this process in advance. To a large extent, these documents are not unique to the sale process, but constitute the data that any business needs to be well-run, so you can prepare yourself for the data room by keeping good records of all of the above areas of operation. Then, when it comes to the data room process, you and your advisors can work with data room provider to ensure that your bidders have all the data they need – and maximise their chances of making bids that reflect the value of your business.

If you’re considering selling your business, you need all the help you can get, so check out the Sell Your Business Store to get an idea on how we can help you out.

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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What is the top reason for selling a business?

Reason To Sell A Business

Selling a business – here’s the top reason people are doing it

While surfing the Internet, I found the following information. The news comes from America however the UK often has similar trends.

“As noted in a recent article in The Colorado Springs Business Journal, the Market Pulse Quarterly Survey Report from the fourth quarter of 2012 indicated that the retirement of baby boomers was noted as the top reason for selling a business for the first time in history. Moreover, the mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce is expected to cause a 35-percent increase in sales of businesses by the end of 2013. In fact, many of these folks might already have sold had it not been for the recession of the late 2000’s.”

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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Living in the business exit void

Business Exit

Business ExitThe Business Exit Void

Whenever I was asked, ‘what will you do after you sell your business,’ I always responded that I’d start a new business but do it better, quicker and easier. I knew that once I completed my business exit I’d take a 10 day holiday and then start building a new empire.

Goes to show you how much I know myself (or don’t know). After my business exit I dabbled in a bit of this and a bit of that. I went to meetings, considered consultancy, attended a monthly business club, wrote a book on the nature of reality, became a Day Skipper (yachting), started being an at-home parent, set up a website and another and another and soon settled into a void. Nothing seemed to excite me. I would create a business plan or empire and then the following day think, ‘no…I don’t really want to do that.’ My plans to start on a new adventure didn’t seem to materialise.

Luckily I had enough money to coast for a while so finding work wasn’t a short-term necessity. But after several months I wondered if I was lazy – perhaps I didn’t like to work. Perhaps the only reason I did create a successful company was because I was in it for the money. And if that’s the case am I going to have to bumble along until my money runs out and I have nothing to show for all my hard work. (Can you see a crisis coming on?)

I’m sure there are many business owners that exit and know exactly what they’re going to do but this ex-business owner became a lost sheep. I had defined myself so much by my previous job that I didn’t really know who I was, what I wanted or even what I really enjoyed doing. By the time of my exit I was disillusioned with the business world. Part of me wanted to buy a house on Fiji and become a Yoga guru and another part of me wanted to get my mojo back and start something fun and interesting. I didn’t know what I wanted nor did I fully understand my options. I didn’t know what I didn’t know!

Rewind a year previous and I felt stuck, trapped, undervalued, and overworked. Yes – it was my company and yet I felt stifled by it. I wanted to be free! And then after almost a year of negotiations, uncertainty, doubts and sleepless nights my wish for freedom came true. Free at last. Now what?

The reasons to exit and the business exit process can be so consuming that life after the business doesn’t get attention. And perhaps that’s okay. Since my departure I’ve done a lot of soul searching and can honestly say that I now know what it means to follow my heart rather than my head. Rather than doing what I was good at, I took a back seat and let my boat drift around while taking stock on what I liked, didn’t like and where I wanted to go.

It’s taken over a year for me to get my mojo back but this mojo is different. Rather than jump into doing what I’ve always done, I’ve taken my time and changed my entire lifestyle. I’ve gone from being a control freak stressed business owner workaholic to a calm, centred enthusiastic entrepreneur with a portfolio of fun and interesting projects. I’ve learned how to create a life I want to live rather than work endlessly to enjoy a life later.

So whether you are just starting out on your business exit journey or are nearing the end I thought I’d share my living in the void story with you. At least if it happens, you’ll have the comfort that it’s not just you.

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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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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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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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”