It could be that you're contemplating selling your cherished Fish & Chip shop. Perhaps you're yearning for a grander venture, planning for a serene retirement or maybe even aiming to downscale. Regardless of your motivations, the process of selling a business can often prove challenging and overwhelming. To alleviate some of that stress, I'd like to offer some insights that might just make the journey a little easier.
In fact, following these tips may lead to such an enjoyable experience of managing your shop, you may find yourself rethinking the decision to sell!
So, if you're set on selling your business, in my opinion, a well-thought-out 3-year plan could enhance your business value considerably, particularly if you heed the advice below. And, in the event of a successful sale, I wish you all the joy and satisfaction in your retirement or your next exciting venture.
Craft an Engaging Listing
When drafting an advertisement for your business, include all relevant details to create an appealing listing. Start by providing information about the shop's location and the annual turnover or availability of financial accounts. Detail the terms of the property's tenure and include the high-quality photos you've taken. Give potential buyers an understanding of your customer base and the surrounding neighbourhood, and provide an overview of the equipment that comes with the business. All these elements will contribute to a comprehensive and compelling listing.
Play the Long Game
Regardless of your ambition to quickly sell your Fish & Chip shop, it's crucial that you approach it as a long-term commitment. Dedicate 90% of your energy to the betterment of the business itself, rather than solely focusing on its sale. By building an attractive, flourishing company, potential buyers will naturally gravitate towards you. However, a lacklustre business will likely deter prospective investors.
Capture High-Quality Images
Start by sprucing up your shop. Dedicate some time for a thorough clean-up, removing any signs of dust or grime. Be sure to declutter, put away unnecessary items and discard worn-out boxes. Once your shop is immaculate, use a wide-angle lens (or landscape on the smartphone) to capture comprehensive and appealing space shots. Always bear in mind the perspective of potential buyers. Ask yourself, what would catch your eye if you were in their shoes?
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)
Simplicity is key when it comes to selling a business. Shops with uncomplicated financial structures are easier to sell. If you have numerous family members, investors or shareholders, conflicting interests may complicate the sale process. Similarly, maintain clear transparency between personal and company finances from the onset. Any discrepancies will be detected during due diligence and may jeopardise the sale.
Your Business Should Stand on Its Own
For a successful sale, ensure that your Fish & Chip shop can function independently of you. A desirable purchase is a business operating autonomously of its owner. Focus your efforts on nurturing and expanding your business rather than micro-managing it.
Increase Your Profitability
A thriving business demonstrating consistent profitability and growth is more likely to attract buyers. A diligent shop with stable returns will not be short of potential suitors. Showcase a strong track record and recurring revenue to negotiate a better deal.
Maintain Your Records Diligently
Potential buyers will always conduct legal and financial 'due diligence.' This investigative process helps them to assess potential risks and future losses or costs. For sellers, this can be the most demanding aspect of the deal. However, having well-ordered and readily accessible documentation not only streamlines the process but also prevents unexpected price reductions.
Stay on Top of Your Books
Many businesses fail to have a clear understanding of their profits until their year-end accounts are prepared. To appeal to buyers, maintain accurate and readily available management information throughout the year. In addition to informing your decisions, this will reassure buyers that the business has not declined, preserving the value of your hard work. Implementing monthly management accounts at least a year before initiating a sales process can provide valuable comparative data, aiding both you and potential buyers.
Resist the Temptation to 'Wind Down.'
I've seen numerous business owners start to lose focus and begin 'winding down' their operations prematurely, after deciding to sell their business for retirement or to pursue other interests. This lack of focus often leads to falling trade and decreasing profits. It's crucial to remain fully committed to your business until the sale is finalised. A buyer won't pay for profits you aren't generating.
Sell with Confidence
Lastly, if you've followed the above, the final ace up your sleeve is to portray confidence. Remember, if you come across as disheartened or lacking confidence, it may negatively impact the sale or encourage the buyer to underestimate your business value. Therefore, even if you're ready to move on, maintain an upbeat attitude throughout the sale process.