Ideally, a business exit will be the culmination of a well thought-out succession plan. It's actually remarkable just how many owner-managers reach this vital end-point without a detailed plan of how to realise the value of what they've built.
Some very critical considerations are often overlooked. One of the most common is the failure to plan for succession - the owner is often the central figure, its driving force, and the principal contact for staff, customers and suppliers.
As far in advance as possible, the owner needs to start delegating to potential successors in key managerial posts. The team that then develops could turn out be strong enough to stand as buy-out candidates as an alternative to a trade sale.
The process of selling a business is rarely quick and can be very distracting for management. It is vital not to lose focus on the performance of the business. To prevent it tailing-off during the sale itself, it is a good idea to assign roles to only one or two key people - and to delegate covering functions to others who can ensure the normal day-to-day running of the business.
Additional resource, and in particular strong project management and negotiation skills, are essential. As a strong, experienced adviser, we find that our fees are usually paid for many times over by key terms won during the negotiation process.