Skip to main content

Don’t sell yourself short

In our last blog post we looked at the merger and acquisition process from the perspective of the acquiring company – now it’s time to consider how to make your business an attractive proposition for potential buyers.
A purchaser will look favourably on a business which is on a strong growth path but with significant, demonstrable potential for further growth in the near future. Good quality, long term contracts with a significant amount of time to run will support the value of any business.
Make sure any outstanding legal or accounting issues (no matter how minor) are addressed before you go to the market and if you can’t do this, at least present the issues and possible solutions in a proactive manner at the outset.

Remove the roadblocks

The length of the sales process will be determined by the level of competition and whether you are helping someone to buy the business or are selling it hard into the market. In the former situation you might be dealing with one or two buyers, allowing them to get familiar with the business and proceed at their own pace.
If there are a number of potential purchasers who are keen to get the deal done you can generate some competitive tension, which will help sell the business hard into the market and create a fast paced process.
The more information you can make available the easier and quicker everything will be. However, your ability to drive a deal will be the single biggest factor in determining the length of the process. Experience counts here and while you may not have sold a business before, your acquirer may have been down this road before.

Get some help

This is just one of the reasons why entrepreneurs employ specialists to help them manage the selling process. For a business to continue to be attractive to a buyer it needs to continue to trade as normal while the deal is being finalised and if managers are involved in the process they could be distracted from the day-to-day running of the business.
One of the roles of the advisor is to communicate between the business and the prospective buyer. If the management team have to go back and forward with information and responses to follow-up queries progress will either slow down or the business will suffer.
Business specialists will know how to generate interest and can act as a buffer between buyer and seller if discussions become heated, as they often do when an entrepreneur feels their business is being under-valued. They also have a role to play in the valuation process.

Timing is everything

A detailed understanding of the financial and commercial circumstances of your business and the sector in which it operates is key to determining the right time to commence a process. A cloud-based accounts package such as Big Red Cloud will give you a good idea of what kind of shape your business is in.
And while your business might be ready to be sold, the market might not be ready to receive it – you must ask yourself who your buyer audience is and are they ready to do a deal?
Although there is little you can do about market conditions, they may look like a risk factor in a buyer’s eyes. If you can present a credible financial plan that an acquirer can fulfil, the perceived risk can be reduced.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.