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Preparing Your Business for Sale: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Preparing Your Business for Sale: Tips for a Smooth Transition

If you’re considering selling your business, adequately preparing for the sale is crucial to ensure a smooth transition to the new owners.

As the old adage goes, fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail! So, without further ado, here’s what you need to know about preparing your business for a sale.

Manage Employee Transitions

Selling your business obviously impacts your employees, so proactively managing communications and transitions is essential.

Depending on the nature of the sale, not all employees will wish to stay on, but the acquirer will likely express interest in keeping as many processes uninterrupted as possible.

In most cases, contracts are usually transferred to the new owner under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). These regulations protect employees’ rights in the event of a business transfer.

Develop a communications plan to give notice about the sale, address concerns transparently, and cover how transfers will work. This maintains morale and productivity during the transition.

Providing fair severance where needed also manages goodwill and helping employees navigate the changes smoothly ensures business continuity that buyers value.

Reputable financial advisors can offer HR guidance on employee rights, transfers of contracts, pension arrangements, and related obligations – don’t overlook this.

Review and Optimise Financial Records

Undertake a detailed assessment of your company’s finances, including accounts, tax records, debts, assets, insurance policies, and agreements.

Make sure documentation is comprehensive, accurate and organised. Consider having financial statements audited if not already – verified figures give buyers confidence.

Address Any Business Issues

Tackle any existing business problems, from operational inefficiencies to supplier disputes.

This shows buyers that issues are identified and resolvable, reducing the perceived risk that could otherwise negatively impact valuations during sale negotiations.

Here’s more information on what happens to your contracts in a business sale:

  • Transfer of Contracts: Many contracts held by the business can be transferred to the new owner. This process is known as “assignment.” However, the ability to transfer contracts depends on the terms within the contracts themselves. Some contracts may have a clause that prohibits assignment or requires the consent of the other party involved in the contract.
  • Change of Control Clauses: Some contracts, particularly in service industries, may include a change of control clause. This clause may allow the other party to terminate the contract if there is a change in the business ownership.

Develop a Change Management Team

Assemble and train a management team to oversee daily business operations during and after the sale.

Buyers want assurance that a skilled leadership pipeline exists beyond just the owner-operator. A reliable management framework ensures consistency through ownership changes.

Line Up Professional Support

Engage financial, legal and tax advisors early when preparing to sell. They can guide you through due diligence, contract negotiations and employee transfers.

Their expertise protects your interests and often results in higher sale prices. Adequately preparing for your small business sale requires effort but pays off for both buyer and seller.

If you need help selling your business, contact Batt Broadbent. We can help you negotiate legal processes and obtain a smooth, favourable transition.

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