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Glasgow Business . 39 NO DEAL

“One of the things I say to both parties is ‘how well run does this company look? How slick? And the devil is often in the detail”

reasons for wanting to sell, you are likely to be emotionally invested in the enterprise and the people who helped get you to this point. Balancing these sometimes conflicting priorities, alongside more practical considerations, can be tricky. “It sounds obvious, but many owner/

managers don’t seriously consider what they want to do next,” said Shuna. “Do you want to stop working and, if so, what do you do if a buyer said ‘we’re happy to take some of the pain and release some cash to you, but we want you to keep running things’? “Similarly, you may well want to consider

what kind of plans a potential purchaser would have for your business. How important is it that the business stays local, employing local workers, or could it be moved 50 miles away? I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but knowing how you feel about it will inform your reaction to potential offers.” Tax is also a significant consideration,

particularly for the entrepreneurial seller, and will generally require the expertise of an advisor. Shuna said considering your potential tax position should be one of the earliest considerations, before marketing or negotiations have started. “Where are your shares, are they all

look? How slick?’ And the devil is oſten in the detail – you maybe never quite got your customer to sign that crucial agreement, or are missing key employment contracts. A lot of businesses run perfectly well without having those things in place – as risky as that can be – but a purchaser can sometimes start to wonder what other skeletons might be in the closet if the administration is very poor. Both parties need to look out for potential red flags.” Te future is also important, however, and both Neal and Campbell remind us that there

needs to be a clear upside potential for strong future growth. “A business which successfully conveys a

strong platform for growth will generate a premium price,” observed Cummings.


Particularly for an entrepreneur, selling a business that you’ve potentially spent a good chunk of your career building up can obviously be a huge change – financially, professionally and in terms of your lifestyle. Whatever your

in your name? Are you likely to qualify for entrepreneur’s relief? Have you thought about how to maximise that, and considered potential inheritance tax issues? Tere are so many considerations that you need an advisor team that is aware of the bigger picture.” While all of this is going on, however,

Cummings cautioned against taking your eye off the ball of running a successful business. “A transaction process can be time-

consuming for management, yet keeping the business on track during this process is very important. Ensure there’s adequate resource available to support and keep in mind there will be lots of highs and lows – a transaction process is a rollercoaster journey so be ready to ride it!”

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