Can I Sell My Business On My Own?

There’s a short answer to this question – yes, of course.

The longer answer is yes…but can you ensure the best selling price, the smoothest transition and the avoidance of legal or tax implications?

Prepare Early

Firstly, whether you want to sell your business alone or with the help of a specialist, you should plan your exit in good time.

Creating an exit plan early has several benefits:

  • It helps define your goals for the business and gives you a clear destination to work towards. It will force you to decide what you want the future of your business to be. Perhaps you view it as a legacy for your children to take over, or more of a medium-term investment for profit? Crystallise your thinking into a plan.
  • A defined exit strategy makes your business a more attractive buying prospect. No potential seller wants to inherit problems, so creating a plan that takes care of the exit details can boost your selling power.
  • Your exit plan should ensure that the transfer of ownership will be a relatively smooth process for everyone involved – another attractive quality for a buyer.

Your Selling Team

While it’s certainly not unheard of for business owners to complete the sale process alone, there are specialist skills involved and it’s unlikely you’ll find them all in one individual. In a typical sale, you can expect to require skills in the following areas:

  • Tax

You’ll need an expert in personal and corporate income tax, taxation of trust and estate and international tax if applicable, to help you take advantage of tax savings you may not know about, and of tax deferrals you may be unaware of.

  • Accountancy

If you already have an accountant and you’re satisfied with his or her work, you may not need to hire someone else for your team. However, if you are a major client and you represent a significant portion of that accountant’s revenue, be realistic about the relationship. It’s possible you may need to find more neutral representation.

  • Valuation

A business broker or investment banker will do a thorough valuation of your business to establish its current worth, and then suggest specific actions that you can take to help increase your business’s value by the time you want to sell. You’ll get a much fairer price for your business that way.

Your Selling Team Touchpoint

You may already have the right partnerships in place to cover these specialisms but if not, you need someone who can provide them for you or source and manage these relationships on your behalf, guiding you through the process and working closely with the right experts to eliminate, or certainly mitigate, any risks.

You should also consider what happens after the sale, when business assets will be converted into personal wealth. For this stage you should engage a good Certified Financial Planner who will help you figure out the best way to make this personal wealth work for you.

So that’s the longer answer – if you have access to these skills, you certainly can sell your own business. However, without the right team behind you, you may struggle to get the price you need, avoid inherent risk and manage the process smoothly.

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