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Selling Up Made Simple

If you own a commercial cleaning company and are thinking of selling but don’t know where to begin then help is at hand. Ross Bennett, an experienced Business Broker at Axis Partnership, who specialise in the sale of commercial cleaning companies throughout the UK, shares his advice and tips on getting your business ready for sale.

Deciding to sell your business can be diffi cult and stressful but it doesn’t need to be – the key is preparation. There are a few key questions that you need to ask yourself before you begin the process of selling your business:

• Do I have a strong management team and infrastructure in place?

• Do I have written evidence of contractual, ongoing work with clients so I can demonstrate that my business is sustainable?

• Do I have multiple revenue streams? Being reliant on a few key clients is not going to make your businesses attractive to buyers, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have multiple revenue streams so if one dries up the business is not affected as much.

• Do I have strong profi t margins and evidence of keeping overheads down?

If you can answer yes to all of these then you are ready to go – buyers need the confi dence that you have built something that is sustainable, that has a good reputation, and most importantly, they know has a strong future.

So your business is ready to sell but what now? You need to make a decision about how you want to sell it. Do you have the time, commitment and know how to market it and sell it yourself or are you going to get someone to do it for you? In the same

way that you would get an estate agent to sell your house your may want to seek help from an expert who can support you through the process of selling you business.

If you are concentrating on the sale of the business and not driving the ship forward, keeping the profi ts where they are or even improving them, who is? The sale process could take up to 18 months in some sectors, which is why it is benefi cial having an independent advisor on the sale 24/7. They can guide you through the tricky legalities, help you avoid time wasters and use their knowledge and contacts to get you the right buyer who will pay the right price for your business.

Lastly, whether you decide to go it alone or seek the support of a seasoned professional, here are three top tips for anyone thinking of selling their business:

Firstly, when we sell our homes we work hard to ensure it is presented in the best possible light. We fi x the leaky tap, tidy away the junk and ensure it is spick and span – we do this because we want to get the best price for it we can. Selling your business is the same – put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and ask yourself if it is a business you would want to buy and why.

Secondly, be prepared, you don’t want to lose a buyer because you haven’t got your documentation organised

55 Deciding to sell your

business can be difficult and stressful but it doesn’t need to be – the key is preparation.

and available. As a starting point you will need: Profi t and loss statements for the last 3 years, balance sheets from the last 3 years, tax returns from the last 3 years, list of equipment, lease agreements, insurance policies, employee agreements, customer contracts, equipments leases and bank statements.

Finally, seek the advice of experts and take advantage of the relationships they have built with professionals in the business community who can help you, like solicitors, fi nance companies and accountants.

Photo credit Mitie Group plc Foter CC BY-NC-ND

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