Falling at the final hurdle

Adam Bernstein outlines some of the dangers of selling or passing a practice on

When selling up, the first hurdle to cross is timing and a common mistake seen by Samantha Chaney, corporate partner at law firm VWV, is sellers not preparing early or sufficiently enough.

In her view, those looking to sell a business, in the next three years, should: ‘start tying up loose ends that may prevent or affect the sale. This includes making sure all paperwork is in good order. Once the sale is agreed, the buyer will be carrying out a due diligence exercise and will request various documents as evidence that the business is worth what they have offered to pay for it.’

Likewise, Dominic Watson, a consultant at broker Myers La Roche, thinks owners can never begin the exit planning process too early – ‘they frequently get so immersed in the day-to-day running of their enterprises that it can be difficult for them to see the wood for the trees.’ He thinks: ‘The exit planning process should help an owner to stand back and look objectively at their business, their role in it and where it is going.’ But some go wrong because they forget to look at it from a different perspective – that of a buyer.

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