There is much to be said, and that has been said about the budget announcement this past week. We would be delighted to talk you through your options and its implications for selling your business. But rather than add to the reems of opinion in this blog, I wanted to take a different tack and look at what the budget and reaction to it tells us about the process of selling your business.
Honesty is key
One of the Chancellor’s key selling points for this budget was how he wanted to be honest with the country about the state of the country’s finances and the difficult decisions ahead. Whatever you think about how well he achieved this; the principle is exactly right.
When it comes to selling your business, dishonesty in your dealings with an acquirer (intended or otherwise) is one of the most potentially damaging things you can do. It may be tempting to paper over the cracks and sweep some things under the proverbial rug, but it will come back to bite you. Anything, however seemingly small, uncovered in due diligence that you did not reveal upfront to an acquirer can be a potential deal killer.
Draw them in with a snapshot
The lead up to the budget was well trailed with strategic press releases that made the most of the headline grabbing ‘good news’ items. This serves to build anticipation and interest in the full announcement. Much like the Information Memoranda for a company sale it is designed to give people an enticing snapshot of what is to come.
It would be understandably tempting to say little or nothing about the business in the run up to selling; but remember you are asking potential acquirers to make a significant investment of time and resource to explore the opportunity and you need to give them a good reason to want to do that.
It’s only the detail that really matters
As with all budgets, the press-release headlines and even the speech are only part of the story. The detail, that often emerges over the following days, is where the real impact is felt and where people really begin to understand what the headlines mean for them.
In the same way the offers you receive for your business should be seen as only part of the story. The real impact for you and for your business, its employees and customers is contained in the detail. We often see business owners bypassing the headline grabbing high offer in favour of the seemingly lower offer, because of the terms, because of future potential or simply because of personalities.
You can’t please all the people, all the time
One of the biggest problems with a national budget announcement is that you will never be able to please everyone. Whatever you do, some will feel left out, hard done by or feel that you have been too generous and reckless. It’s one of the reasons I am glad it’s not my job!
When it comes to selling your business though it is a principle that is worth remembering. There are many stakeholders in your decision to sell. There may be other shareholders, there will be families, employees, clients, suppliers, competitors… oh and advisers! Most business owners I meet are not just thinking about themselves when they sell and often make decisions based on how it will impact other stakeholders. Just remember, you can’t please everyone, and you will go mad if you try…
If you are thinking about selling your business and would like to talk to someone we are pleased to offer you an honest, frank and free assessment – just drop us a line and we will arrange a confidential meeting.