Do Your Own Due Diligence Investigation of Your Business

One of the most enlightening things you can do is to do your own due diligence examination of your own business. Using a checklist like the one in Exhibit A, do a check-up on your own business. Make sure you really can produce the information about your business that you think you can. Assemble a due diligence package from that information that you could provide quickly to a prospective purchaser if the opportunity presented itself. Update the package annually. Going through this process will make the process much easier if and when you really do decide to sell your business. … Read more

Establish Your Own Board of Directors

One tactic I recommend to small business owners is to establish your own board of directors. I don’t mean a formal, legally-constituted board of directors, I mean a group of business and professional advisors whose opinions you respect and whom you will really listen to. Your lawyer, accountant, and banker are candidates for your board, along with one or two other business people. Invite them to a board meeting to review your business. Treat them to something special, a good dinner or something similar. Prepare for the board meeting like the CEO of a public corporation might. Prepare a briefing … Read more

Deciding When the Time is Right to Sell

Probably the hardest decision is deciding when the time is right to sell. Obviously, that is a deeply personal decision, but we can offer some insights. There is no doubt that, from a financial perspective, the best time to sell your business is when there is an active market of buyers for businesses like yours and when your business is attractive to the marketplace. On the other hand, business owners are more likely to consider selling when other factors influence them – personal strains, capital investment requirements or negative trends within the business or industry. In addition, it is not … Read more

Make Sure You Have Advisors in Place to Help You Through the Process

Your attorney and your CPA will usually be among your key advisors as you go through the sales process. Having advisors like these who know your business and your personal situation will help the process go smoothly. It is a good idea to schedule a meeting periodically with your advisors to discuss the current state of your business and your plans. They may have suggestions that will smooth the process and help produce a good result for you, especially considering your personal tax situation. Depending on your circumstances, a business broker or other merger and acquisition professional may well be … Read more

Getting Ready for the Due Diligence Process

An offer to purchase a business will almost always be conditioned on the satisfactory results of a due diligence investigation. The scope of the due diligence investigation will be impacted by the structure of the transaction and the sophistication of the buyer. An example of why the scope of due diligence will vary is if a buyer will not be occupying the physical facilities of the seller or taking on the seller’s employees, the buyer’s due diligence in these areas MAY be more limited. The buyer will usually provide a checklist of documents that he or she will expect to … Read more