How to get your business ready for sale

March 20, 2013|Ann Hanna

The sale of your business could be the largest, most significant business transaction of your lifetime, so it makes sense to plan the transition carefully. There are a variety of actions you can take to make your business more appealing to a buyer. Below is a checklist of some important strategies.

It is important to remember that none of the ideas below are “window dressing.” Each item genuinely makes your business more valuable. The best approach for a successful business transition is to provide an open, honest value offering.

There are issues that need to be addressed over the long term, because they take time to execute. Other plans can be accomplished within a short period of time (less than 6 months). Both are important to making your business “buyer–ready.”

Long-term tasks (3-5 years (or more) prior to sale):

  • Show positive growth rates in sales and earnings
  • Develop strong EBTIDA margins (greater than 10%)
  • Develop recurring revenue streams
  • Find a unique product, service, or niche if you don’t already have one
  • Diversify your customer base
  • Produce a well-developed brand, reputation, and supporting culture
  • Empower your managers; eliminate excess dependence on key people (including yourself)
  • Resolve all disputes and litigation
  • Get patents and trademarks on products where applicable

Short-term tasks (6-12 months prior to sale):

  • Verify all your contracts have assignment clauses
  • Update your marketing materials and website
  • Organize accounting and tax records and make sure all your documentation is in good order
  • Gather and review all contracts and obligations of the corporation
  • Clean up your facility – make it orderly
  • Remove personal/unnecessary assets from entity
  • Distribute excess cash from company
  • Update minute books and records
  • Clean up and release old and out of date liens on assets
  • Research personal guarantees of shareholders and terminate, if possible

Not sure how to get started? Our Schenck M&A team can provide guidance on each of the strategies above. Our directors have years of experience helping business owners prepare their business for sale, and accomplish successful transactions.

We also understand that along with the business transaction, the sale has a personal financial and emotional impact. View the article “Preparing Yourself for the Sale of Your Business” for more about how to manage this experience.

Let’s talk, to make sure that your transition will allow you to meet both your personal and professional goals. Contact Ann Hanna, Managing Director of Schenck M&A Solutions, at 888-556-5580.


Ann Hanna, MBA, is a Managing Director of Schenck M&A Solutions. With more than twenty years of business management experience, Ann has led the sale and acquisition of many small and medium sized businesses, as well as multiple new corporate start-ups. She is also a licensed investment banker and real estate broker.

Securities offered through Burch & Company, Inc., member FINRA / SiPC. Burch & Company and Schenck M&A Solutions are not affiliated entities. Ann Hanna of Schenck M&A Solutions is a registered investment banking representative with Burch & Company.