Being Prepared for Surprises During a Business Sale, Part 1

While an ideal business sale will take place after multiple years of prudent planning and organization, the reality is that not all sales follow this playbook. Many are dictated by recent events, whether they’re partner disputes, health concerns, divorce proceedings or many other potential precursors.

At Utah Business Consultants, we’re here to help you sell your business with quality exit planning services regardless of your timeline or previous preparation. In situations where a business owner has to quickly decide to sell and then move forward with the process, and particularly for those who have never been involved in a business sale before, there may be some unexpected elements that pop up. This two-part blog will go over several such events or situations to help you prepare.

Time Required

First and foremost, many business owners drastically underestimate the amount of time they’ll have to put into this process – and the balancing act that will need to be maintained between selling the business and continuing its current operations. Businesses don’t simply cease to operate when they’re in the process of being sold, and if the owner negotiating the sale is also heavily involved in day-to-day operations, this can create a time crunch.

It takes a significant period to compile the information needed for an offering memorandum, plus other documents needed throughout the process. You also have to consider making time to meet with potential buyers and your intermediary, who will help screen prospective buyers and separate legitimate candidates from less realistic ones.

Confidentiality Concerns

Confidentiality is a big part of business sales, and it can be a bit of a challenge both on its own and within the scope of time commitments. For instance, say you’re the owner of a business and attempting to sell, and you’re leaning on various managerial staffers to pick up the daily operations slack as you focus on the sale. At the same time, though, several of your management team members have vital, confidential information that’s needed for the offering memorandum.

These people need to be part of the sale process, but you also can’t allow daily operations to suffer. In addition, you have to ensure these individuals understand the confidentiality rules at play and do not violate them. While all of this is easily enough organized, it can spring up on some owners if they aren’t prepared.

Other Stockholders

Many privately-held companies have both a majority owner and minority stockholders and/or family members who hold business interests. While the controlling owner has the largest say and ultimate control, minority holders also have strong rights and may have to agree to sell, plus to other details like the price and terms of the deal. If you haven’t considered how to deal with other shareholders, now is the time to do so.

For more on elements of the business sale process that often surprise business owners, or to learn about any of our exit planning or business valuation services, speak to the team at Utah Business Consultants today.

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