By David Rebbettes, Founder, BCMS
If you’re about to make your biggest business decision yet, BCMS founder Dave Rebbettes has some essential advice
- Never take a business to market with a pricetag – it could be the most expensive mistake you ever make
- Future potential is far more important than past performance
- Selling a company can rejuvenate everyone involved in the business – from the owner, to the staff, and the acquirer.
Whatever your sector, whatever the size of your company, selling your business is very possibly the biggest business decision of your life. This makes it all the more important that owners get the right advice when looking to sell.
The first crucial piece of advice is to take the same approach in selling your company that you would do in selling any other product. Selling a business is a sales and marketing exercise. You need a comprehensive strategy that will identify the most appropriate potential customers: those who are genuinely motivated to buy. BCMS is in constant contact with the M&A marketplace, and typically profiles around 200 potential acquirers for each of our clients, located across the globe. Indeed, 30 per cent of all BCMS company sales now feature an overseas acquirer.
The second is never advertise your business with a pricetag, which will inevitably be based on your company’s past financial performance. You are extremely unlikely to find the best deal if you simply advertise your company’s availability – and tell people what you want for it. You need competition: multiple parties, approached confidentially, who see the value in acquiring you and are prepared to compete with each other for the privilege.
Buyers value companies very differently, and value lies in your company’s future potential. At BCMS, the highest offer we receive is typically two and a half times that of the lowest offer – a huge differential. Take the first and lowest offer, and you could leave an awful lot of cash on the deal-table.
And the third crucial piece of advice? Experience. If you’ve never sold a business before, how do you know where to start? Handled correctly, selling can rejuvenate you, your staff, and the company you have worked so hard to build. A good adviser, with experience of doing deals, will work for you and you alone, and give you choice of acquirers and a choice of options, wherever you want to go from here.
Founded in 1989, BCMS is a leading adviser to sellers of privately owned businesses, with over 500 successful deal completions in the last decade alone. To find out more, visit www.bcmscorporate.com.