Selling a business isn’t something that can be done on a whim. Well it can, but you’re not likely to get the outcome you desire.
As a seller, you want to fetch the best possible price for your business – and getting it depends on the strength of your business’s operations and its structure.
It takes time to emphasize, boost and prepare these aspects of the business properly – in fact, to do it right takes several years of planning and preparation. And one of the most important documents you need for this process is a business plan that is both actionable and shows progress over time.
An actionable business plan becomes your roadmap – a step-by-step guide of how you intend to achieve the goals set out in the plan. By recording your progress on each activity in the plan, you are creating a track record that outlines all of your successes, both financial and operational. Too often, owners get caught up in their drive to increase revenues and end up overlooking other important aspects that make a business great – developing infrastructure and staff, reducing risk and managing customer satisfaction and retention.
If you intend to sell the business with the management team in tact, tracking the plan’s progress shows the team’s success in implementing and executing the overall strategy while at the same time showing a continuity of operations without you, the owner/operator.
Accurately tracking your progress towards the plan’s goals also shows that you have solidified processes in every aspects of the business. It demonstrates that HR and IT policies are sound, business development and marketing plans are on target and collections are up-to-date.
Your business plan should be re-evaluated every six months or so because you as track your successes, your goals will – and should – change. And, at least twice a year, you should be looking for ways to increase profit margins and decrease expenses – all in an effort to make your business look more attractive to prospective buyers.
After all, just as a homeowner cleans up and puts on a fresh coat of paint before pounding the for sale sign on the lawn, you too want to present your business in the best possible light.