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Five Steps to Prepare to Sell a Business

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

By Angie Brown

Although the pandemic’s impact has varied across industries and regions, there’s no question that it has altered the economic landscape. As a result, many owners are now contemplating the sale of their businesses. If you have been thinking about selling your business, here are five steps to help you proceed with confidence.

Step 1 – Establish your divestiture goals.

To set a clear path forward, begin by identifying your needs. Clarify why you are selling; consider the role you want to play in the business during transition and what a successful transaction means to you. If possible, plan your exit well ahead of time so you can maximize the selling price while minimizing business disruption. It’s also important to start any pre-transaction work, such as revisiting your corporate structure to minimize the tax implications of the sale.

On the other hand, if you need to move quickly, be realistic about the trade-offs you may need to make. For example, are you willing to accept a lower price to exit quickly?

Step 2 – Understand the value of your business.

Do you know what your business is worth? If not, now might be the time to engage in a pricing analysis to determine a range of value that a buyer may be prepared to pay in the current environment. Know the key trends in your industry. Are there eager buyers that want to branch out into your market? Is your industry experiencing consolidation? Are there strategic buyers that will pay a premium because they can recover rapidly and gain market share?

Step 3 – Create an attractive go-to-market package.

A polished and professional package shows buyers that you mean business, demonstrating your confidence in the future of your enterprise and signalling that you have taken the time to plan. A strong package typically includes certain key components:

a blind teaser — a confidential one-pager that contains just enough information to pique a potential buyer’s interest in learning more about the opportunity

a confidential information memorandum (CIM) — a more detailed information package on the opportunity

a process instruction letter — a document that outlines key matters in the mandate, such as what is important to you, where to direct queries, and the timelines within which to respond and/or submit an offer

While all this information is based on facts, the way you compile and present it can make a big difference to the process.

Step 4 – Provide as up-to-date information as possible.

It’s unlikely that your performance this year is directly comparable to your prior results, so be upfront and honest about that by sharing results that are as close to the current date as possible. Show interested buyers that you have a plan to weather the storm and are focused not just on surviving but on thriving in our new economic reality.

Step 5 – Be prepared to broaden your reach.

Keep an open mind and consider how to get as many potential buyers as possible interested in your business. If you cast a wide yet targeted net, you are more likely to find a buyer that is interested in engaging in the process and can actually close the deal.

You’ve invested so much into growing your business. Doesn’t it make sense to make the same investment in its sale? If you’d like to learn more about how to navigate from initial planning to a successful close, contact Angie Brown.


Angie Brown

Angie Brown (CPA, CA, CIA) is a leading business advisor with Grant Thornton LLP in St. John’s. She is an agile professional with over a decade of accounting and corporate finance experience. Angie creates value for her clients through business planning, financial modelling, buying and selling businesses, feasibility analysis and cash flow management.

Whether you’re just getting started, expanding a current opportunity or selling your business interest, Angie and her team have the expertise to help you navigate through all levels of change.

Contact Angie Brown at or +1 709 778 8841.

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