1. Develop the management team so the business can operate smoothly without your presence on a daily basis. This is a key issue with smaller businesses.
2. Reduce risk of customer / supplier dependence as far as possible.
3. Try and keep your key people especially in the service sector as buyers are very interested in the staff assets of the business and their retention post-sale. Consider share options or bonuses to incentivise key staff members to stay on after your exit.
4. Consider the timing of major investments in new product development, systems or property. The impact of these may not be immediately visible and might affect the buyer’s offer.
5. Remove less profitable assets or business operations. Address and remedy identified weaknesses that may cause issues or delays during due diligence.
6. Highlight the star performing elements of the business that may be masked in the normal financial reporting.
7. Ensure that your information systems are transparent and up-to-date as this helps to build buyer trust and confidence in the business.
8. Formalise contracts with key staff, customers and suppliers for stability and continuity. Review employee entitlements to fully understand the extent of any liabilities.
9. Ensure all legal documentation and agreements are up to date e.g. lease contracts, licences, property title documents and other statutory records.
10. Ensure any external or internal actions against the business are at a point where the outcome is reasonably certain with the smallest possible risk to the new buyer.