Tony Foster MNAEA, MICBA Associate Director at Webbers Commercial has
been selling businesses in the area for over 35 years and he shares
some useful tips on the best way to plan for your business sale.
In his many years of handling business sales of all kinds from a Family
Adventure Theme Park in Somerset to a Tea Room on Exmoor and everything
in between. Here are some useful tips on preparing for your business
1. Kerb Appeal
As with houses the first impression is always the best, If it is a
general store you are selling make sure the shelves are well stocked and
the shop window well illuminated and clean. Likewise if it is a Hotel
or Guest House why not redecorate the outside and tidy the garden and
Car Park before buyers arrive.
2. The very important matter of trading accounts
When your valuer arrives present him with an up to date copy of the last
three years adjusted profit an loss sheets, take out any individual
expenses or excessive wages so the figures are presented in the best
light. Have projected figures available as well as monthly activity so
buyers are well informed. These matters are now crucial for arranging
Ensure your business is up to date complying with all government
legislation such as licences, food hygiene and fire regulations.
4. Preparing for the sale
Your Agent will recommend matters such as Asbestos Audits, Energy
Performance Certificate. Work with your Agent in preparing the sales
particulars, define a marketing budget and advertising plan, carefully
consider how you wish to market the property. For example are you
prepared for your customers and staff to find out about the sale or do
you want a discreet sale.
5. How to sell
Decide with your agent a method of sale, private treaty, tender or
auction. Your agent will give best advice to achieve the best price.
6. Do you want a board
The Agents For Sale board sells 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is a
clear signal on the location of the property for passing footfall and
traffic, as well as an identification for viewers. This often works even
for going concern sales.
7. Stock At Valuation
Have an accurate estimate of the extra Stock At Valuation the buyer needs to pay.
Are any items of fixtures, fittings and equipment on rental or lease
purchase agreements. Prepare a full inventory of trade fixtures,
fittings and equipment which will be attached to the sales contract.
9 Advise your Solicitor
Best to be well prepared in advance. Ask your solicitor to open a file
as soon as you place the business on the market so that they are ready
to produce a sales contract and answer any pre-contract enquiries.
10. Speak to your accountant
It is always best to seek you accountant's advice regarding matters such as Capital Gains Tax as soon as possible.
11. Be ready at the viewing
Be prepared to answer questions about opening hours, staff levels, Gross
and Net Profit, the seasonality of the business, promotion and
advertising. If you are in the hospitality business you may well be
asked about occupancy rates, advance bookings, future advertising and
the like. Present the property well, keep all lights on, heating up and a
warm fire in the hearth.
12. Your Business Web site
This is often viewed well before the buyer visits the property. Ensure your on-line presence is up to date and fresh.
13. Be Informed
Keep in touch with your selling agent. They will provide you with
invaluable feedback on viewings and once a sale is agreed will carefully
monitor the transaction keeping all parties in touch.
14. Best time to sell
We are often asked this question and the truth is that businesses sell
throughout the year. However with tourist related businesses most buyers
are seeking to take over early or late in the year. Added to this
property always looks best in Spring and early Summer.
15. Leasehold sales
Have all lease documents available. If deemed appropriate advise your
Landlord. Ensure all rents are up to date. Be prepared to pay for the
16. Keep accurate records
Matters such as licensing, fire regulations, building regulations, any
relevant planning permissions, all these facts should be at your
fingertips ready to be passed on to your buyer.
have been established for over 40 years and have sold hundreds of
businesses in the region. They specialise in all aspects of Commercial
Property and business sales. Call Tony on 01271347888