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Value Creation Blog

Selling Your Business - Make Sure You Use A Checklist

Posted by Josh Patrick

checklist resized 600Complicated projects usually require several different specialists.  My favorite example of this is when a business owner decides to sell their business.  To make sure you have a good outcome you will need at least the following group to help:

  • An intermediary (business broker) to manage the transaction.
  • An attorney to make sure all of the legal niceties are in place.
  • An accountant to help with allocations and tax issues.
  • A financial advisor to help with proceeds from the business sale.

With at least four different people involved with helping you manage your sale there is a pretty good chance that something will fall through the cracks. 

This is where a checklist comes in.  A checklist will help you do two things:

First, it will help make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.  Complicated activities such as selling your business have many, many steps.  Each of them if forgotten can be costly.  You don’t want to have huge legal bills or even the chance of having to sue the seller or having the seller sue you.  If you have a checklist, the chance of having something be missed becomes much smaller.

Second, a checklist that covers all of the steps in the transaction forces your specialists to speak with each other.  A real risk when selling a business is that everyone works in a silo.  Your intermediary focuses on putting together an offering memorandum and finding a buyer.  The attorney focuses on making sure your paperwork is correct.  In many cases neither will talk with each other.  If they do, it’s when something has gone wrong.

When specialists work together and have conversations before problems appear, they can often cut off a problem before it happens.  When everyone works off the same checklist, there has to be communication.  When communication happens, you will automatically have a collaborative effort that brings better results.

You want to make sure that the mundane parts of your sale are taken care of properly.  Something that is mundane before the sale can become critical after the sale.  If your professionals haven’t helped you think through the contingencies that could happen there is a chance that money owed you never gets paid.  Then, you’re stuck having to hire lawyers and try to recoup money that is owed to you.  This is never a pleasant experience.

I know of a couple of incidents where promises were not kept and those promises ended up costing the buyer lots of money.  If the professionals had used checklists, bad things could have been prevented and life would have been simpler.

Checklists are boring.  I hate putting together checklists.  I also know it’s the only way I can keep things from falling through the cracks.  Checklists help make a complicated process run in a systematic way.  They can be time consuming to put together, but they usually save both time and money.  I also find they save headaches that can and often do appear during or after the process.

Take a little time and prepare properly for any complicated process you’re going through.  If this process happens over and over, you’ll only have to do major planning once.  If the process is something like selling your business your checklist will help that everything happens that’s supposed to happen.  That can make all of the difference.

We’ve put together a case study on 7 Steps to Leaving Your Business in Style.  This case study helps you know what you might want to think about as you get ready to sell your business.  Knowing what the steps are can help you have a smoother sale if and when the time comes.  To get this report, click on the button below.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: systems, business coaching, value creation

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