When it comes time to sell your business, enlisting the aid of professionals is usually advisable.  Even the most fiercely independent “I can do everything” business owner will achieve a better overall result by seeking assistance in this important transaction.

Blog: Selling your small business? Here's your A-Team

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After all, unless your business involves selling businesses, it is unlikely that you will have experience of selling more than a few businesses in your lifetime.

So, the key players who may need to be consulted will include (alphabetically) –

Accountant – Unless you are just selling the assets of your business (as opposed to the whole business), a potential purchaser will want to review the profitability of the business.  Merely providing the tax return results will rarely be showing your business in its best light.

Legitimate transactions of the business which are not relevant to the pure operation of the business from the purchaser’s viewpoint need to be adjusted to provide a valid picture of the business.

Of course, your accountant can also advise you on how to minimise the effects of GST and capital gains tax which means you keep more of the proceeds in your pocket.

Business Broker – Just as real estate agents will help you sell a property, business brokers can help sell your business.  They can assist with preparing the physical aspects of the business as well as the actual marketing of the business, qualifying leads to identify genuine potential buyers and negotiating with potential buyers.

These days, there are opportunities to sell your business online and this may be a cheap option but you will need to deal with all the responses (tyre-kickers and genuine prospects).

HR Consultant – Managing your team’s reaction is also important.  Often team members have the relationship with your suppliers and customers, so retaining their involvement in the business is an important deliverable for you.  Keeping them informed at the appropriate time will assist.

Solicitor – Obviously having an appropriate sale contract will be an important part of the sale process and your solicitor will be a valuable advisor in this regard.  Making sure that your intentions are adequately documented will help avoid problems later.

But there may be other contracts that need to be reviewed at this time to consider whether there are any implications for you or the purchaser.  Employment contracts as well as contracts with suppliers or customers may contain non-transfer clauses or clauses that allow cancellation with 30 day notice.  While a purchaser may not be diligent enough to consider these aspects, being prepared for that discussion will help.

The successful sale of a business is the result of a team effort.  Trying to cut corners is often a shortcut to a less satisfactory outcome.