Then, Plan Two Years in Advance
24 Months Prior To Sale – Commence having your financial statements audited by a reputable and well-known independent accounting firm in order to insure credibility and respectability from your potential buyers.
18 Months Prior To Sale – Establish a strong management team that can successfully run the business when you are absent and encourage customers and suppliers to rely less and less on dealing with you.
12 Months Prior To Sale – Broaden your business so you are not overly dependent on a few customers and few suppliers as buyers become very concerned about “too many eggs in one basket.”
8 Months Prior To Sale – Flush out all problem areas that may cause the buyers to become apprehensive, i.e. unsettled law suits, EPA problems, outstanding warranties, uncooperative minority stockholders, unsettled lease arrangements, etc.
6 Months Prior To Sale – Line up advisors to assist you in the sale such as an experienced intermediary, transaction oriented lawyers and accountants, etc. Your intermediary will help you develop and implement a plan to market your business effectively and identify logical buyers.
THEN … choose the optimum time to sell your business when the trends are up or strategic buyers are in an acquisitive mode.