(Or HOW NOT TO LOSE YOUR SHIRT BEFORE SELLING YOUR OUTFIT)
5 steps to get started:
1) Decide on an exit strategy timeframe that works for you. Do you want to sell the business and leave within six months? Would you prefer to stay on for three years and structure the sale as an ‘earn out’ where you benefit from higher profits. Come up with an exit strategy that fits your situation.
2) Determine a price range you would need to sell your company. This may be one of the more challenging tasks without concrete data to use. You can easily price yourself out of the market. Do your homework. Reach out to owners who have sold their business and ‘pick their brains’. Speak to a broker who works in the globalization industry. Learn what the typical sales price is in terms of multiples of EBIDTA. Be ready to defend your pricing structure based on your unique offerings.
3) Create a comprehensive financial summary to present to prospective buyers. Have your accountant review and put in order your historical financial data: revenue, expenses, profit, EBIDTA over the past five years. Be prepared to explain any peaks or valleys in profits. Explain what costs you included to calculate EBIDTA. Include revenue numbers for your top five accounts.
4) Create a brief confidential marketing brochure summarizing your company’s strengths, financial history and specialization. You will use this document to send to prospective buyers. Include details on your service offerings, summarize company history of the past five years, include your financial data and highlight what makes your company unique.
5) Decide on the kind of future you would like to see for your company and employees when you leave. Do you see your top people taking over for you and running the office? Is it likely your employees will leave shortly after you depart? Determining what you want to happen after you leave will impact the choices of the ‘buyers’. For example, some LSP owners are known to terminate top management and consolidate back office staff. Other language businesses take a more ‘hands off’ approach. Start with the end in mind, that will guide your sales process.
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