Prism’s Top Ten for Maximising Value in Preparation for Exit

An article by Prism’s Peter Watson

1. Get an early understanding of market value
Financial forecasting needs to be realistic. Receiving an independent valuation at an early stage will ensure that you don’t receive an unwelcome surprise late in the day.

2. Be realistic about your exit timescale
As the key driver of the business your motivation and energy are critical to future success. If these are starting to diminish it will have an effect on the value of your business in the future.

3. A tidy business reflects a well-run business
The first look around a business reveals much about the management capability. Get an outside opinion and seek to simplify not complicate.

4. Identify the sizzle
Buyers are only interested in the future – not the past. Which aspects of your business will attract a premium price?

5. It’s all about the customers
For almost all business the customer relationships are key.  You need evidence.

6. Know your numbers
The numbers tell a story whilst the absence of numbers tells another. Uncertainty will be reflected in the price.

7. Locate your skeletons
Don’t scupper the deal in due diligence! Deal with any outstanding issues now.

8. Have an exit plan but…
Perfect planning prevents p*ss poor performance. Business sale is no different. One key issue is continuity – how to accommodate your own exit.

9. …be prepared to carry on
What are the alternatives to sale? Your bargaining position is greatly strengthened when exit is not the only option.

10. Get professional help
Focus your efforts on building a strong business and ensuring the performance during the sale is strong. Let others manage the sale process, you will find it difficult to do both (well).