When it comes time to sell your small business it can be filled with alot of emotions. It's important you are prepared for your departure from the business. As the owner you have probably worked very hard to build your business to a point where it is today. So its important when removing the 'captains hat' that you have everything ready for the handover.
This is often part of your exit strategy. How you will go from being the current owner who knows all the 'ins and outs' of the business and transferring the ownership to someone 'new'. This process should be the same whether you are currently working 'within' your business or are purely from a management level. If you are working within your business it is vital you spend time completing these steps. It will lead to a smoother handover to the buyer and can increase your sale price.
As the Owner you need to have all of the knowledge and information stored in your mind, on a platform for other to read. It's important your business has well established and documented systems in place. A new owner needs to be able to walk in and see these systems. To know exactly what to do when something happens. After the training period you wont be available. Having well established systems will increase your chances of receiving an optimum price for your business.
Its important you have an easy to use program that the buyer can access to find information. Folders of training manuals - are not the best practice. Consider setting up an intranet using Google Sites. You can upload training videos, PDFs, spreadsheets and more. You can create a step by step procedure for every aspect of your business. Information can be easily found by the search bar. You can give access to multiple members on your team. It could take months to set up all of your systems, but it will be worth it when you receive a top price for your business.
What training will you provide the new buyer? If you have well established systems you should have a number of online videos and procedures you can share with the new buyer. You should be willing to include 1 week of training to introduce the buyer to the business. This will be seen as an attractive advantage to buyers. Its important you create a training program for the new buyer, so you know exactly what to introduce them to and how they will interact with your employees.
Are your employees ready for the change over? Depending on who buys the business, they may be looking to keep on employees or may have their own plans for the business. You should ensure your employees are aware of the change over and their fears are addressed.
Buyers will ask a number of questions about the business and want to know answers. Its important you are prepared with financials, documents, lease agreements, business loans etc. So you can answer their questions.
Whilst it is possible to advertise your business discreetly with stock images, no business name, and an alternate phone number. There are no guarantees that the text wont be recognised and linked to your business. So you need to be prepared if staff or clients recognise your business sale. The more abstract you are in the display of the business that is for sale the less chance of it being recognised.
Its important to know where you're headed after you sell the business. Whether you're investing in another business, retiring, changing careers whatever the reason for the sale is. Its important you are ready for the next phase in your life so you can let go of the business you have worked so hard on over the years.
Best of wishes in your business sale, we hope this helped!