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What is the process for selling a business?

Handing over the keys to a business can be a stressful process for company owners.

Building a business can be an incredibly rewarding process, but often it will reach a point where individuals cannot continue to own and operate their company. In this situation, many business owners will either implement a succession plan to hand the business over to another individual, or will sell the business.

For those who choose the latter, it can be a difficult process navigating the different requirements that come with this process. To help, here are three of the main steps that go into selling a business.

Get your business into a sales-worthy state

If you want to get the best possible price for your company, it will require a lot of planning and forethought, sometimes taking as long as two years to get right. 

Often, this means reducing your costs in the run up to selling, while also trying to improve revenue. Maximising the financial situation of your company will ensure your business is also in a position where it can achieve the best possible price when you do sell.

Decide what you are going to sell

Some items, specifically intellectual property like registered trade marks, can be retained after your business has been sold, giving you the opportunity to retain possession of certain parts of your business.

You will also need to make the same considerations when it comes to property – assuming you hold a freehold title – as well as any assets that form part of the business, such as computers and other valuable equipment.

Meet any legal requirements

There are a number of legal requirements that come with selling a business which will need to be considered during this process. For example, individuals will need to ensure any licences held by the business can be transferred to the new owners.

To help navigate the process of selling a business, individuals need to have the right advice, especially when it comes to legal requirements. Contacting a commercial lawyer is therefore an essential part for anyone in this situation.