16 September 2019
No matter how well run a business is and how early the business starts planning for a potential sale, it is crucial for a business owner to be surrounded by the right team of people to help get the job done.
In this second part of our four-week series on selling a business without losing business, we consider which internal staff members may have an important role to play, what external advisors should be engaged to assist and when is the right time in the sale process to start assembling your crack commando unit.
Who and how many of a business’s staff members may need to be involved in the sale process will be largely dependent on the scale and nature of the business. The owners and senior management will obviously have to take on most of the load, but additional help is likely to be needed from other parts of the business as and when negotiations progress or issues arise during the sale process. This may include:
Having team members in key areas involved in the sale process will make it faster and easier to respond to queries from the buyer. It will also help minimise the workload and pressure on the business owner(s) or senior management during an already hectic time.
Even an ownership and management team experienced in buying and selling businesses will need external support across a range of disciplines during a sale. The proposed sale structure and the nature of the business will impact the external assistance that will be required, but these may include:
Building a successful team is not just about choosing the right people for the job. Knowing when to bring each person into the tent can be just as important. Often this can be a difficult balancing act between having enough resources and support to get the deal done and trying to keep the deal confidential from the rest of your staff and your competitors.
Senior management will almost always need to be brought into the process early on and kept in the loop for the duration of the sale process. They will have direct knowledge (or at a minimum, oversight of the people that do have the knowledge) of the various moving pieces in the business that will have a material impact on the sale. Other staff members will generally only be brought up to speed on a need-to-know basis, such as when due diligence queries are raised on a specific area of the business (employees, IT systems, premises, etc.) – although in some instances it will be possible, and perhaps preferable, to obtain the required information from some people without flagging that a sale is on-foot.
The timing for engaging external advisors will differ from deal to deal, but as they will all be working together towards a successful sale it is important that everyone knows their specific role and knows who else will be involved early in the piece. This will give the advisors the chance to allocate sufficient resources to meet the timing expectations of the transaction and to spot any potential deal-breakers as early as possible.
On top of the day-to-day stresses of running a business, whatever limited spare time the owners and management have will be consumed by the sale negotiations and process. Having the support of the right people at the right time will be vital to a smooth and successful sale.
Read our previous piece on how to make a business ‘sale ready’ here and stay tuned for our third part next week.
Author: William Kontaxis
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.