Gerry Surtees Chartered Tax Adviser

How much time do I need ahead of selling a business to get it optimised and sale-ready?
6 weeks? 6 months? 6 years?

If you’re thinking towards the last of these options, you’re along the right lines…

The reality is that it’s what happens in the years leading up to a business sale, not so much the transaction itself, that will to a large extent determine the outcome.

Why is that? There are many reasons but we’ve picked the top three:

The changes you need to make to get an optimal business sale outcome will not happen overnight – they take time to implement.

You need to be able to show any buyer a solid history of strong performance and growth, to get the best sale price (and if your core business has taken a knock recently, you are perfectly positioned to shape this particular curve as your business bounces back…).

To get the best tax outcome, you need to have a sale-ready structure in place at least two years ahead of sale – preferably longer – and the difference between a good sale structure and a bad or ‘default’ one can be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

And of course, if you decide not to sell, you have a better, stronger, more well-run and more profitable business for the current owners.

The bottom line is, if you want to be in a position to sell at any time in the future (and who doesn’t?) the right time to start preparing your business for sale is now.

More advice on selling a business...

You can learn more about how to build your business for sale, including a deep dive into all of the above points, and more, at our exclusive online event, Accelerating Business Value, on Wednesday 5th August. See you there!