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Selling a business in the UK – what you need to know

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Selling a business is a major life decision that requires careful consideration.

Whether you’re looking to retire, head towards a new business venture, or you’re simply ready to cash in on all your hard work, selling a business can be a complicated but ultimately rewarding process. In this article, we outline some of the key things to consider when selling a business in the UK.

What do I need to do before I sell the business?

Before you put your business on the market, there are several things you need to do to prepare. First, you need to assess the value of your business. This will involve analysing your assets, assessing the current market, and taking a realistic view of the future growth potential of the business.

Once you have an accurate valuation, you can prepare a detailed memorandum that provides a comprehensive overview of your business, and how you came to that valuation. This typically includes your financial statements, market analysis, and an overview of your business operations.

When is a good time to sell a business?

The best time to sell a business will depend on a range of factors, including the current market conditions, the performance of your business, and your personal circumstances.

If your business is performing well and you’re able to capitalise on positive current market trends, it may be a good time to sell. However, if your business is struggling, or there’s a short downturn in the market, it may be more challenging to secure a good price.

It’s also important to consider your own personal circumstances, including your age, health, and future goals. If you’re planning to retire, and don’t mind not receiving the full value of your business, then selling may be the right decision regardless of the market conditions.

Where should I market the sale?

There are several different channels you can use to market the sale of your business. You can engage a business broker such as Dexterity Partners, who will have access to a network of potential buyers. You can also advertise the sale of your business online, or in relevant trade publications.

It’s important to consider the confidentiality of the sale when choosing how to market the sale. You don’t want to risk losing customers or employees by announcing the sale too early or too publicly.

How long will it take?

The length of time it takes to sell a business will depend on a number of things, including the size of the business, the market conditions, and the level of interest from potential buyers.

It can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to sell a business. However, if you’re well prepared and have a clear understanding of the value of your business, you may be able to sell it more quickly.

By assessing the value of your business, preparing a detailed memorandum, ensuring legal compliance, and considering the market conditions, you can make a well-informed decision about when and how to sell your business. With the right preparation and marketing strategy, you can secure the best possible price for your business, and move on to the next stage of your journey.

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