0333 3440 778 - info@hhcbs.co.uk

The Decision to sell a business

The decision to sell a business might be the biggest financial decision you will ever have to make. It is important to decide why you want to sell and what selling your business will allow you to do in the futuer. If you can clearly set out what your objectives are you can enter the process with certainty of what you wish to accomplish and also find an understanding of what your selling price needs to be to make it sensible to sell.

Handover Period

Most buyers will require the vendor to remain with the business for a short period of time after the sale.  The period may depend on whether the deal structure involves deferred consideration, ,an earn out or ‘all cash’. 

Preserving Business Legacy

Business Legacy can be incredibly important to many business owners.

For many owners their business is the culmination of their life’s work they want to know that their legacy is protected post sale by ensuring the operation remains located in the same buildings and that the staff are retained and rewarded.

Terms such as a commitment to continue manufacturing in a certain area can help preserve your businesses legacy.

We understand the emotional journey of selling a business through first hand experience of starting, growing and selling successful businesses of our own. 

Barry Parsons Managing Partner has personally raised over £30m of business debt and equity for his own ventures and would be delighted to talk to you regarding the sale of your business.

If you would like a free consultation with Barry please contact us: 0333 3440 778 | info@hhcbs.co.uk

You can arrange a time for us to call you at your convenience here.

There are a number of deal structures available to an owner-manager wishing to sell.

The deal types available to you:

MBO/Management Buy-Out
The acquisition of the business by the existing management.

The management team is often the best buyer as they know the business and are usually the best people to take the business strategy forward. If the business is under performing due to poor management an MBI( a buy in by an external candidate)  or trade sale may be preferable.

MBI/Management Buy-In

The acquisition of whole or part of the business by an outside management candidate or team

An outside management team is either found or communicates their interest in acquiring the business. If you are interested in selling and an MBO is not preferable a buyer must be found. The services of a business broker to identify and discreetly approach potential buyers can greatly increase your chances of a successful sale.


A deal is structured with an initial payment and with a further payment only upon the completion of set performance indicators. The business owner normally continues to work with the buyer through a prescribed transition period.

VIMBO/Vendor initiated Management Buy-Out
A management buy-out initiated by the vendors.

BIMBO - management buy-in management buy-out
Combination of outside managers and current employees buying the business. Earn-out.

The Shareholders agree to cash out a shareholder (or shareholders), often by borrowing against the value of the business.

Trade sale/Sale to another company or individuals
The business is sold to another company such as a rival in it’s sector.

AIM -flotation of a company on the Alternative Investment Market
The business owner floats all or a portion of their shares on the Alternative Investment Market.

Selling a business checklist

Consider your reasons for a sale.

What will a sale allow you to achieve in your personal life?

Choose the right help

If your business turnover is greater then £500k and you do not have past experience of selling businesses utilising the skills of a business transfer agent or a business broker will greatly increase the chances of a successful sale.

Understand the process

If you understand the process you can better identify the areas where you need help and will allow you to better present the business to potential buyers. Guide to the process of selling a business

Outline your business sale goals

Not only is this important to set goals for your self but it helps define what you expect a business broker to achieve ask; How will you achieve the best possible selling price?

Decide on a realistic business valuation

A business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Therefore you should decide what figure will make it sensible for you to sell your business. Be realistic with projections and build a strong case to backup all your forecasts.

Ask your self what are these estimates based on and how can I best portray the earning power of this business.

Explore your options

Take a look at the different deal types available to you perhaps your management team could buy out the business, if this is not a possibility the best course of action might be to use an intermediary company to approach the competition confidentially to ascertain if there would be an interest in consolidation.

Keep your eye on the ball

Using professional help to manage the sale can allow you to keep your business running smoothly. Selling a business is a time consuming process it is critical you keep the business performing throughout so as not to impair the sale value.

Keep calm and carry on!

Most owners underestimate how much of an emotional roller coaster selling a business can be. Your business is likely the culmination of your life’s work and taking criticism about it will be part of the negotiations.

Don’t take criticism of the business personally the buyer will be looking out for their best interests. It is important to reassure the buyer and sell them the business stay positive and see the big picture. If a buyer has an issue the best option is usually to take good note of what they are saying and come back to them later with a strong response. This will stop you getting bogged down in the nitty gritty.

Know when to call it a day

Sometimes an agreement cannot be reached, nobody is in the best state to make important business decisions at 3'oclock in the morning. Sometimes the best thing to be done is to call it a day and come back to the table fresh headed. If an offer is below the realistic value you have set yourself and a buyer will not negotiate sometimes the only thing to do is to walk away. In this difficult situation having the strength to walk away can also demonstrate your confidence in the businesses value.

Take your time

A fast sale probably isn’t a sale for the best selling price, finding the right buyer for your business will often take time and even with a ready buyer selling a business with a deal value of £1-20m will take at least 3 or 4 months to conclude.

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