Planning to sell your company? Has it been “staged” to sell?

What’s staging? Think about it in terms of selling your home. You hire a realtor to handle the sales and marketing. Your realtor then brings in the agency’s expert decorator to stage your house. In other words, your real estate agent brings in an expert to package your house. They want to improve the chances that it will sell. And, that it will sell for the highest possible price.

Here’s what the stager does when they come to your home:

  • Move furniture around or even take some pieces out
  • Paint walls
  • De-clutter table tops, counters tops and shelves
  • Remove family photos
  • Suggest changes in landscaping
  • Identify critical repairs
  • Recommend repairmen, painters, plumbers, etc. to do the work

Your business is no different!

You need to stage your business just like you do your house.

Over the years, I’ve been involved in buying 40 companies. Mostly privately held, family or mom and pop-type businesses. In nearly every case, by the time the deal was done, the business owner left money on the table. They simply didn’t do anything or have any idea how to stage it to sell it for maximum value.

When you think about it, it’s really no surprise. About 99% of business owners have never sold a business before. They’ve spent their entire career working in their business. Building it. But not packaging it to sell it.

Then, one day, they often quite literally, wake up and decide to sell. They have no idea how to go about selling it, don’t understand what needs to be done to sell it. Or, even how truly difficult and emotionally draining it is to sell a company and how much impact that can have on their judgement and objectivity.

Probably most tragic in this scenario is the fact that most of these business owners need that money to retire. Wealth manager tell me every day that their clients who own companies have the vast majority of their net worth tied up in the company.

Sadly, the vast majority of business owners don’t follow this simple mantra: “Know what you know and do it. Know what you don’t know and find an expert to do it for you.”

Here’s what an expert business stager can do for your business:

  • Help you transition your business from one focused on minimizing taxes to one designed to maximize value
  • Help you to understand what your true personal cost of living is if you have been flushing a lot of personal expenses through the company
  • Assess talent and recommend changes in organizational structure
  • Develop and execute a management succession plan
  • Review and if necessary, re-state financials
  • Evaluate sales and marketing plans
  • Fine-tune your company’s Internet, website and social media presence
  • Identify areas of over spending or under spending that can affect value
  • Identify cost saving opportunities
  • Renegotiate vendor contracts
  • Recommend professionals and specialists to provide critical support services including M&A lawyers, wealth managers, trust & estate lawyers, CPAs, tax experts, financial planners, bankers, private equity investors, bankers and alternative financing sources

Those who bring in experts to help them stage and sell their company reap boundless rewards versus those who chose to “save money” and go it alone.

When working to extract maximum value for your single largest source of wealth, that’s not the time to be “penny-wise and pound foolish.”

When working to extract maximum value from your single largest source of wealth, that’s not the time to be “penny-wise and pound foolish.”

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