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The most common roadblocks when selling your business

So you've decided to sell your business. Congrats on building something worth selling! But between valuing your company, finding buyers, negotiating terms, and closing the deal, selling a business is trickier than it looks. Before jumping in, know the most common roadblocks that trip up entrepreneurs and how to avoid them. With the right expectations and strategies, you can steer through the complexity of an acquisition and successfully cash out on the business you've grown. This article will walk you through the selling process, arming you with actionable insights to overcome hurdles at every turn. Get ready to maximize your business' value and pave the way for a smooth sale.


Developing a comprehensive exit planning strategy


To maximize your business’ value, you need a solid exit plan. This means determining your priorities, timelines, and deal structures upfront. Do you want to transition leadership to a new owner quickly or stay involved for a few years? Are you looking to sell completely or keep a minority stake?

Answering these questions will guide how you position and market the company. It may also impact tax implications and how you negotiate a sale. Speaking of which, do thorough research to understand industry benchmarks for valuation. This way you can set a competitive asking price, backed by financials and growth projections.

You should also assemble an advisory team to help navigate the process. A business broker can market the company and source potential buyers. An M&A lawyer handles the legal paperwork. And an accountant evaluates the financial impact of different deal structures to optimize tax advantages.

With the right plan and support in place, you’ll avoid common roadblocks like unrealistic expectations, messy transactions, and leaving money on the table. Selling a business is complicated, but approaching it strategically and objectively can lead to the most favorable outcome. Now shift your mindset from founder to facilitator and get ready to start a new chapter!


Making strategic EBITDA adjustments for accurate valuation


The numbers don’t lie, so making strategic adjustments to your EBITDA can mean the difference between a great offer and a mediocre one. As an entrepreneur, you know the ins and outs of your business better than anyone. So take the time to comb through your financials and make adjustments that reflect the true earning potential.

Did you take an expensive one-time R&D hit this year that won’t be recurring? Add it back. Are there discretionary expenses like a company retreat or new office furniture that a buyer likely won’t incur? Add those back too. On the flip side, don’t add back personal expenses or perks that a buyer won’t continue. Your goal is to show what the business can realistically earn under new ownership.

Making EBITDA adjustments is an art and a science, so consider working with an advisor who can give guidance specific to your industry and business model. With the right adjustments, you’ll go to market with a valuation that’s attractive to buyers and supported by the numbers. Then you can feel confident you’re getting the maximum value for all your hard work in building the business.


Don't limit yourself. The right buyer can be unexpected


When selling your business, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus on the type of buyer you assume is the perfect fit. But limiting yourself to a specific industry or company size could mean missing out on the best offer. Cast a wide net and consider all options.

That startup you never thought would be interested might see huge potential and value in acquiring your company. Private equity firms looking to diversify their portfolios could view your business as an exciting new addition. Companies outside your sector may want to expand into your industry and see purchasing your established company as a quick way in.

Rather than make assumptions, thoroughly evaluate every interested party. Look beyond surface impressions to determine who will value your business the most and has the means to properly support its future growth. The right buyer, with the right offer, vision and resources could come from an entirely unexpected place. An open mind is key.

Staying flexible, considering all prospects and focusing on the strengths each brings to the table will help you get the best deal and find a buyer motivated to take your company to the next level. Preconceived notions of the “perfect” acquirer could lead you to pass over the opportunity that represents the ideal fit. When selling your business, the only thing limiting your options should be your imagination.


Selecting the right advisors to guide you


Finding the right advisors to guide you through selling your business is crucial. These professionals have been through the process many times before and can help steer you away from common pitfalls.

Legal counsel is essential to review paperwork and ensure a fair deal. Hire an attorney with experience in M&A transactions to examine the purchase agreement and negotiate on your behalf. They can also advise you on tax implications and structure the deal for maximum benefit.

An investment banker or business broker will help determine a reasonable asking price and market your company to potential buyers. They have a rolodex of contacts and know the best way to position your business to garner optimal interest. Let them handle the time-consuming task of screening buyers so you can focus on running your company.

An accountant can analyze your financial records to present your business in the best light. They are also instrumental in preparing relevant documents like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax returns that buyers will scrutinize closely during due diligence.

Surrounding yourself with a skilled team of advisors mitigates risk and increases your chances of success. Though their fees may seem high, they are a small price to pay to realize the maximum value for your business. With the right guidance, you'll navigate obstacles and close the deal on your terms.


Don't keep secrets. Transparency is key


When selling your business, honesty is truly the best policy. Keeping secrets or avoiding full disclosure can derail a deal and damage your credibility.

Buyers will inevitably discover the truth, and then question what else you might be hiding.

As difficult as it may be, come clean about any issues upfront. This includes disclosing financial or legal troubles, loss of major clients or contracts, or other threats to sustainability. Address problems head-on and have a plan to resolve them. Your transparency and proposed solutions can actually make you a more attractive seller, demonstrating your integrity and ability to confront challenges.

The due diligence process will require opening your books and records anyway. So be upfront, even about sensitive matters. Have paperwork and documentation ready to support your claims. And get everything in order so there are no surprises during final negotiations.

Full transparency is the best way to build trust and get the maximum value for your business. While the truth may be hard to share, honesty and integrity will serve you well through the selling process. Keeping secrets will only create roadblocks, whereas open communication can overcome them.


Still need help? Contact Pacifica Advisors


Selling your business is a complex endeavor with many potential pitfalls. But with proper planning, realistic expectations, expert guidance, and perseverance, you can overcome the common roadblocks and achieve a successful exit on your terms. Trust the process, lean on your advisors, and keep your eyes on the prize of realizing your company's full value.

Still need help? Contact us at Pacifica Advisors to schedule a free advisory session and get personalized assistance tailored to your needs. With the right strategy and mindset, you'll be crossing the finish line before you know it. This is a defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey - embrace the challenge and come out on top. The rewards will make all those late nights and early mornings worth it.

 

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