So what makes a business salable? Let us look at what you are selling:
First, you are selling the tangible assets of your business such as equipment, vehicles, tools, trademarks, intellectual property, etc. Second, you are selling intangible assets such as its reputation, clientele, position in the marketplace, etc. Do any of these things have value? Will it be enough to meet your goals?
The most important thing employee buyers will be looking for is leadership. Can the business continue to run without you? The second thing they will be looking for is its ability to make money. Will they continue to get paid if they buy it from you? Is it profitable? How profitable? Will it continue to be? If the answers are less than stellar, you have a decision to make. Do you try to improve before the sale or do you just sell as-is and accept that the price will be lower?
Almost every sale involves some kind of seller financing. That means that you are not going to get paid for a while. The sale of a business is often a major upset. There is always a risk that the newly sold business will be less profitable immediately following the sale. There is a chance that you may not get paid. Therefore, it is always safer to fix any problems before the sale than after. Fixing problems does not happen overnight, so it is important to make this decision early on and get started doing it.
Many business owners put a great deal of effort into increasing sales and that is great. That is how you generate revenue, but that means very little if the cost of generating that revenue is out of control. With that realization, many business owners then go on a cost cutting rampage and are surprised when the profits aren't materializing. Cost cutting can be a double edged sword. If quality suffers as a result, your reputation might suffer and that can be really difficult to fix.
A better approach is to decide what products or services and what customers are most profitable and then focus on just those. Eliminate anything that is questionable. Once you have decided on the products and customers, you need to adjust your marketing efforts to more precisely hone in on the most valuable customers.
Some buyers, employee buyers definitely, will need outside financing and whoever is going to put up the money is going to want to see some evidence that your efforts are paying off. They are going to want at least three years of financial statements, so you can not wait till the last minute to get started. Lenders are lenders no matter who you sell to and they all have the same requirements.
Certainly, you can sell your business on your own, but getting some help is almost always required. Somehow, the professionals begin to run the show for you. This book gives you enough information so that you can remain firmly in control of what is going to happen.