Preparing to sell your business can be both exciting and scary. Considering that many business owners have worked hard to build, grow and maintain their businesses, it can feel very uncertain handing off years of hard work. For others, it can be freeing. But, I think we can all agree that if you try to sell a business without a proper plan in place things can get very chaotic, very quickly!

Here are a few tips we believe will make the process go a bit more smoothly!

Focus on your BEST products and services. It’s really easy to get to a place where your business is trying to do and sell everything…or the wrong thing. This is something worth paying attention to, especially when you’re looking to sell in the near future. Your business will be more successful in selling its products and services if they are high quality. You can only make these things high quality by giving the proper time, attention and focus to things that you and your team are skilled in. Focus on the things your business has a knack for and stop doing those things that your business is not the best in the world at doing. What are the products or services do you offer that your customers RAVE about? Focus on those things.

Be sure to have the RIGHT people doing the RIGHT work. When your business has the right people in the right positions, your business can be transitioned to a new owner very quickly. Often buyers see this as a turn-key business, meaning that all the new owner will need to do is complete the paperwork for the buy and take the key to the office door and open it.

Tighten up your financial processes to assure that you’re increasing in profitability. In order to entice a buyer, it is necessary that your financials are up to date and demonstrate that all bills (including taxes) have been paid on time and that there has been strong growth for at least the past five years. A new buyer wants evidence that the business will continue to turn a profit well into the future.

Hire a professional to help you in the process. We highly recommend that any Western Washington based business that is grossing at least a million a year seek out support from Peter Busacca of Washington BBI well in advance of the planned sell date. Peter can help assess the health of the business and document its salability. He also can help package, confidentially promote and sell the business at the same time that he helps the business owners and key staff prepare to successfully transition for the sale and new ownership.

Working with the right consultant helps assure that the business will continue to flourish well beyond the sell date and of course this benefits the business’ customers/clients, employees and their families, the community where the business is based as well as the prior owner and new owner and their families — a true WIN for all.