Selling a Business

A confidential and efficient service is key for our clients

Pre-Sale

Before a business sale, the Owner should focus on improving profitability and in putting the key staff and systems in place as buyers often like to see organizations that are turn-key.

Equally important is a conversation with your accountant to understand the tax issues that will come up and how to implement the most advantageous structure.  Such issues as the use of your lifetime capital gains tax exemption and the criteria the company must meet for the exemption.

The Process we follow to Sell a Business.

Step 1 – Price the Business

The starting point is a realistic valuation of the business. Our valuation is based on the financial performance of the company and current market conditions.  

Step 2 – Market the Business

We actively market businesses in a confidential and controlled manner.  We explain the business to an interested buyer in a comprehensive and thorough way.

Marketing a business requires thought and planning.  We approach individual, strategic and financial buyers, private equity groups and other intermediaries looking to buy businesses for their clients.  We screen the buyers to avoid wasting time working with unqualified buyers and try to quickly establish that a buyer meets an appropriate level of expertise and has the financial ability to proceed.  

Confidentiality, for our clients, is one of the most important elements that must be considered during the sale process.  The wrong information leaks at any time can harm the business, either competitively or at the relationship level with employees, suppliers and customers. Once the sale process has begun, control of information related to, or that could be perceived as indicative of a sale must be carefully controlled.

Step 3 – Negotiate Terms

Awareness of financing options, tax, legal and employee issues and creative solutions to them are crucial. We often help negotiate the terms of a deal which all parties and their advisors will work towards. Being aware of and overcoming the obstacles to find an agreeable deal is a key role we play. Issues related to employees, working capital, holdbacks, earn-outs, non-competition, training and transition must all be clearly dealt with and managed.

Step 4 – Close the Deal

We help manage the due-diligence process to conclude the transaction. From our experience we know what information a buyer will likely request to validate the legal and financial condition of a company.  We work with our clients to compile this data. Due-diligence involves the increased presence of advisors who introduce new perspectives and the need to maintain momentum is crucial at this stage and is a key role we play in the process.

Developing an exit plan for a business owner and then selling the company is a hands-on, time intensive project requiring a great deal of communication, collaboration and interaction – as a result it is much better to work with a broker that you feel fully understands your business and will represent it and you well.  

Whatever stage your business is at a meeting with an advisor with experience and expertise can provide an owner with valuable insight.

Feel free to call us at 604.786.2046.