When selling your business you will want to get the best possible price.
You have put blood, sweat and tears into building this baby, along with the experience of countless sleepless nights. It is only right therefore that you will want to be rewarded. The thing is though, the market, your potential purchaser Does Not Care.
Any potential purchase will want the best possible deal despite the long hours you have put in over the years.
It's harsh, and a bitter pill to swallow, still the quicker you accept this fact, the quicker you can start to do what you can to increase the value of your business with things that are important to a purchaser so you can walk away from the sale a much happier person.
Get Out of the Way - Empower Your Team
How many hours a week do you currently work in your business?
If you are like most business owners I know the number of hours you dedicate to the business are extreme. Everyone has left the building and you are still there holding the baby, whether it be doing your books at night, or working when one of your employees has called in sick.
Now why would someone want to buy into that kind of situation? You are right, they don't.
From today, the more you can let go of and delegate to your team the better. Start with 10 minute tasks and start passing them over to the team. Ideally, nominate who is going to be "you" from now on and start handing the reigns over as quickly as possible.
A true entrepreneur and investor will not want to be in the business day in day out, instead they will want to be keeping an eye on it, managing the people and creating the best strategic direction to add value to the business so they can then on-sell it.
The more that is written down about how you run the business and what has created your past success the better. No-one wants to be flying blind when purchasing a new business.
The basic rule for systemising is "Systemise the routine, humanise the exception." Anything that can't be systemised needs to be run by people. A system means that things are done consistently, regardless of the team member..
Remember: Systems run your business - People run your systems - You lead your people.
When figuring out where to start systemising, ask yourself; what are you doing on a regular basis that someone else could be doing if it were systemised?
Don't overcomplicate things. Try to use lots of photos and videos, this will make the systems much easier to follow, and finally document your system in a policies and procedures or operations manual in an easy to access format.
Marketing Plan - Show the Blue Sky
Many business owners started off with a big vision for their business and have grown tired along the way. While they may not have implemented all that they have wanted to it is still good to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the market, the customer and what IS possible for a motivated new purchaser to achieve.
It could be as simple a list of possible projects or more detailed such as a yearly calendar with proposed changes and marketing campaigns mapped out for the new owner.
Paint the vision, show the blue sky and you may just get a little more for your efforts come sale time.
You know how if you need something on a whim you just put your hand into the till, or put it on the company credit card? Is your mortgage being paid for out of the business?
It's not the biggies that matter so much, your accountant can fix that - it's the small incidental stuff that is hard to keep track of and then convince someone at a later date that the profit is much better than it appears on the books.
If you are not drawing a wage, start now, even if it is only small and then try to leave as much profit as you can into the business. Quite simply, a potential purchaser will want to see where the money is!