You’ve got a thriving business, but you’re restless. Perhaps you want to capitalise on that success to fund new projects, or simply want a break from the burden of leadership.

You might think the business will sell itself, but the actual process of finding a buyer and sealing the deal is a tough one. This is particularly true as you continue to run the business day-to-day. If you’re pining for a fresh start without the opprobrium of the sales process, we can help.

Together with our partners we can oversee the entire business sales process, from preparation to transaction. Our straightforward advice, single point of contact and unparalleled access to qualified buyers will give you the time to plan for your future.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a specific industry to invest in, we can help with that too. Our partners will help match you with prospective businesses matching your budget and ambition.

Selling a business

While the precise means of selling a business will vary from client to client, the process is broadly similar. The first step in selling a business is to form a dedicated business sales team, consisting of a broker, legal representative and accountant. They will provide a free appraisal, breaking down the sales process as it relates to your company. This will include estimates of value and necessary preparation, as well as some basic questions concerning the reasons for the sale.

Next is the preparation for the sale. This will include the acquisition of relevant information and documentation, the compilation of a marketing brochure, and a precise business valuation. Once complete, we can move on to identifying potential buyers. This is a rigorous process involving detailed screening and NDAs. Basic information will be passed to the buyer, followed by a face-to-face meeting and the provision of more specific details on the purchase.

If all goes well, this will begin the purchasing process. Both parties will negotiate through our intermediary. Once an agreement is reached, all parties will be required to sign off on the deal. Our partners will commence due diligence, compiling and processing all of the documentation.

How long does the sales process take?

The length of time it will take to sell your business largely depends on its sector and size. IT, telecoms, facilities management/commercial cleaning, and accountancy firms all tend to sell within six months. These industries are all characterised by consolidation, and are often bought as a means to expand a retinue of service contracts. Precision engineering businesses are also popular thanks to the demand for their services, and loyalty to suppliers of proven quality.

Between 70 and 80% of businesses managed by our partners sell within 12 months. Of these, around a third sell within six months. Buyers with ready access to substantial cash reserves are given preference, while other characteristics offer pros and cons. Experienced traders offer speed and pragmatism in the sales process, whereas larger institutional firms will often use accountants to conduct independent research, consuming more time.

The process will be made smoother by co-operation on your part. Having management accounts ready and making yourself available to answer questions will not only speed things up, but engender confidence on all sides. Part of this relates to the information provided in the brochure, which will be compiled with your assistance. Conducting your own due diligence in terms of formal documentation will also greatly improve the eventual transaction process.

International sales

While we are predominantly UK based, our reach is global. Together with our partners, we have an extensive knowledge of liaising with foreign businesses and selling a business internationally. Globalisation has led to an increase in international mergers and acquisitions, and the recent business climate and currency fluctuations in the UK have only enhanced this interest.

Our international presence will grant you exposure to a greater number of potential buyers, increasing visibility and competition, and potentially improving the final sale value. The spectre of Brexit which perturbs so many businesses can actually be an asset here. The favourable conversion of the Pound in recent months has made UK M&A’s a better value proposition, leading to an influx of enquiries from various sectors.

Buying a business

When buying a business, you can’t just look in the local classifieds. Many businesses may not advertise their openness to sale at all, requiring significant research and tactful communication. You might also have a vague idea of your ideal acquisition, but not a clear and precise picture.

Together with our partners, we can help establish what you’re looking for, and put you in touch with suitable options. A specialised Acquisition Service taps buyers into our network of contacts, while acquisition mandates can be placed as an open call for investment opportunities.

Having found a business that suits you, our partners will guide you through the negotiations. This end-to-end service takes all potential risks into account, freeing up the time for you to fully assess your options. The result is a streamlined purchasing process with full accountability.

If you are interested in selling your business or buying a business, feel free to get in touch.