Is Your Business Ready for Sale?

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By Eva Lang - The concept that closely held business owners can increase the value of their businesses is nothing new. Yet many owners fail to take the basic steps that could make their companies more attractive to buyers. On January 8, 2008, Arden Dale sounds the alarm in his Enterprise column for the Wall Street Journal Online, that entrepreneurs who think they will cash out at retirement may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Dale goes on to say, “Small businesses often lack key elements that buyers look for -- such as proper financial records or detailed documentation about how the business runs. Moreover, lots of owners go into the selling process without researching the market, so they have unrealistic ideas about the price their business will fetch. The result: It can take much longer than expected to close a sale -- sometimes years.”

This issue is certainly one of interest in the business valuation community. Chris Mercer, noted BV author and speaker, has addressed the issue in his blog, Mercer On Value, and with a teleseminar titled “Is Your Business Ready for Sale?” Two other respected BV authors, Jim Rigby and Mike Mard, covered the concept of maximizing shareholder value in their book “Driving Your Company’s Value.”

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