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Author: Richard Conroy

Want to sell your business? Here’s how

If you want to sell your business, it can be complex to determine where to begin. The sale of a business can be a daunting task that can make someone feel overwhelmed. If selling your business is what you want to do, then this guide can help you plan and get through the sale.

Why do you want to sell your business?

Why have you decided to sell your business? This is a question that it is crucial you have the answer to, because it is one of the first things that any prospective buyer is going to ask you. Many business owners choose to sell because they want to retire, are overworked, bored, or because of illnesses or familial death. Another common reason to sell a business is that there is some sort of dispute with the partnership that currently owns it, and selling is necessary to end the dispute. All of these are easy to explain to a buyer, and they are understandable.

If you want to sell because the business is not profitable, you are going to have a hard time attracting any buyers. You might want to consider spending time working to make your business more profitable before selling it, so you can get more from the sale and have an easier time finding a buyer.

Get your financials organized

When you want to sell your business, one of the first things to do is get all of your financial information organized. If you use accounting software like QuickBooks, spend some time cleaning up your notes and making sure everything is in there. Get all of your financial statements in order, along with your projections and any important metrics related to your industry.

Having books that are incomplete or messy can kill the sale of a business pretty quickly, so take the time to get them all organized beforehand. It might be worthwhile for you to have someone conduct an independent audit of your business’s financials to help make sure your books are in order and to give prospective buyers some peace of mind.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself as you organize this information:

  •       What is the business’s financial position?
  •       Do you have any outstanding liabilities?
  •       What is your relative growth in both net income and gross sales?
  •       What is the relative size of your business?
  •       What is your average number of customers in a month, week, and year?
  •       Does everything align with your current projects? If so, why not?

What is your business worth?

Before you put your business up for sale, you need to get it appraised, so you know how much to ask for. An appraiser will put together a detailed explanation of how much your business is worth. This will help back up your asking price and can give you an idea of what to put as the listing price.

Determine your goals for the sale

When selling a business, there is more to your goals for selling than just to sell. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  •       Do you want to sell the entire company and just walk away with the money after closing? If you do not want to sell the whole company, how much of it do you want to sell?
  •       Are there employees or family members you want to sell to?
  •       Do you want to keep working at the business for a few years after you sell all or some of it?
  •       How important is it to you that your brand keeps existing?

If you have specific goals for your sale, make sure you keep them in mind when you put the business up for sale. There is no need to spend time exploring options for your sale that do not align with your goals for the sale.

Working with a broker

If you plan on selling your business to an employee or a family member, a broken is not necessary. However, selling your business is a time-consuming task, so if you are not selling to someone you know, using a broker is a good idea. They know the industry and can help you get the best deal possible for your business. It also means that you do not have to spend time searching for a buyer while trying to keep your business running. While you may not want to pay the commission for a broker, it can save you a lot of time and headaches to do so. In the end, it can be worthwhile to hire a broker if you need to find a buyer who is not a friend or family member.

How long will it take to sell my business?

It can take between three and 12 months to close a sale on a business. There are many things that can go wrong during that time, so it is important to keep in mind that you are not done until closing.

While you have an active deal being processed, it is important for your business to keep running as it always has. It may seem hard to find the time to keep running the business while selling it since selling a business can be a pretty time-consuming task, but you need to keep getting profits and meeting your projections and goals.

Closing

One closing day is over, and everything has been signed; you have the money and are ready to begin the next phase in your life. You should spend some time planning out exactly what you plan to do with the proceeds from your business’s sale, so you can start working toward that goal once the sale is complete. While you should not put a down payment on a condo to retire to just yet, you can begin looking for the right one so that once the sale is finished, you can buy it and begin the next phase in your life, whether that is retiring or starting a new business. 

How to sell your restoration and mitigation company

Construction companies are notoriously hard to sell due to their dependence on commodity prices and economic cycles. It can be frustrating because there is no clear guidance on how to sell your company or how to raise capital for business in the construction and restoration industries. Case in point, a number of steel fabrication businesses lost money in 2021 when they were forced to honor fixed-price construction contracts despite steel price increases to levels not seen since January 2011 due to COVID restrictions, supply chain issues, and reduced Chinese steel production.

Buyers of businesses look for stable companies that do well in good and bad economic conditions. Restoration from fire and water damage businesses are characterized by events rather than economic cycles and are generally more stable than conventional construction businesses, thus more attractive to both strategic and financial buyers. If you have one of these businesses, we know how to sell your business

The starting point for every sale is financial information. Unless the business owner has reviewed or audited financial statements, we often recommend that they obtain a quality “financial statement” report from a credible regional or national accounting firm. The better recognized the firm is, the more credibility that the financial statements will have. Many of our M&A clients do not prioritize maintaining proper accounting statements, and it often becomes an obstacle to getting the business sold.

Identifying growth potential is a crucial factor for a buyer to consider since buyers will often look to leverage the purchased business with debt, and growth can repay the debt and earn a return. In the remediation and restoration business, there is often an opportunity to expand into contiguous states or even nearby cities that are underserved, especially if the seller has experience expanding their business and is willing to stay with it. We’ll help you sell your business or raise capital as you expand your business into a broader market.

While most remediation and restoration companies typically have diversified revenue streams from both third-party insurance administrators and direct commercial and residential clients, some have a dependence on three or four major TPAs and have few options if those sources dry up.  This is one of the reasons many restoration companies are reducing their dependence on TPAs and seeking a more direct business which will demonstrate the recession-resistant nature of an individual company within the broader industry. You want to exercise caution when looking at your customer composition for purposes other than business expansion.

It is critical for owners to have a plan to attract and retain workers. Many companies have had to limit their growth due to the inability to find qualified workers due to the low unemployment rate and the reluctance of employees to come back to work. The restoration business looks to hire people with certifications or people who have the ability to qualify for the certifications in mold remediation and other areas, so the challenges are often greater than for businesses that hire lower-skilled workers.

These are a few of the areas to focus on if you are interested in selling your restoration and remediation business for full value. Help with selling your business or raising capital is what we do. Give us a call to discuss selling your business or raising capital. We can guide you through the sale process as well as help you prepare to go to the market.

Selling Your Business? Avoid These 4 Mistakes

Have you ever wondered why less than half of all businesses on the market for under $100 M  actually get sold? While it seems like it should be fairly straightforward, such transactions have many factors at play and, therefore, many opportunities for things to go wrong. Based on our 30+ years of experience selling businesses, we’ve narrowed it down to four common mistakes that hold sellers back from success. If you’re asking yourself how to sell your business, keep these potential mistakes front and center.

  1. Unrealistic Expectations

The biggest reason for a failure to close the sale is that the business owners have an unrealistic idea about the value of their business. Let’s face it, you probably have no idea about the best time to sell your business. Many owners base their understanding of value on hearsay and rumors of what other owners claim to have received. The reality is finding buyers with adequate buyer purchase capital in business can be challenging. We have seen countless cases of sellers turning down appropriate offers only to be forced to sell their business for an even lower price a year or two later. An investment banker can guide the client through valuation with specific examples of similar-sized businesses in the same or complementary industries.

  1. Lack of Marketing

Another pitfall is waiting for a buyer to show up rather than hiring an appropriate professional to market the business. When a buyer is the only one biding and starts negotiating with the seller, the seller can figure out pretty quickly that they are the only bidder. The buyer will then offer a reasonable price and then renegotiate a much lower price during due diligence since there is no competition. An M&A marketer knows the questions to ask before selling your business.

  1. Failure to Hire M&A Professionals

Failure to hire skilled merger and acquisition professionals (M&A) can be a deal killer.  Many sellers compromise by hiring an attorney who is not experienced in M&A, who may ultimately recommend a course of action that is not in the seller’s best interest. If a sophisticated buyer is involved and ascertains that the seller’s attorney has limited M&A experience, that buyer will often walk away, fearing the deal will not close without the involvement of seasoned professionals. Knowing how to determine the selling price of your business is a skill few possess. Beechwood Proactively involves the right M&A experts to ensure that our clients have the appropriate guidance to make a closing possible.

  1. Failure to Get Professional Review

Surprises should be avoided at all costs when it comes to selling. The financials of a deal should be reviewed or audited by a CPA firm to assure the buyer that all revenues and expenses are properly accounted for.  Many deals are coming to market with a Quality of Earnings Report by an outside accounting firm to confirm the adjustments to EBITDA.  Any issues that may have a negative impact on the business should be disclosed as early as possible in the process. Anything that the buyer finds in diligence that has not been disclosed will have a negative impact on the valuation and raise doubts in a buyer. This could lead to a revision in the purchase price and potentially become a deal killer.

 

If you’re looking to sell a business, Beechwood Capital Advisors have the insight, experience, and resources to help you do it; from valuation to closing contact us today to find out how we can help you succeed.

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