7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selling Your Business

Here are some key questions to consider before you put your business on the market.

So, you’re ready to sell your business? You’ve nurtured it from the ground up, into a venture that’s now successful enough that it will appeal to others, who will ideally pay your full asking price. But if you think that alone is the criteria that make a business sale-ready, think again. There are many things to consider before you put your business on the market if you hope to reap the benefits of a successful sale.

Here are seven key questions to consider before you put your business on the market:

1. Are you ready to hand over the reins?

First and foremost, you must ask yourself if you are really ready to step away from your company and whether or not it’s at a point that it can survive without you. As many entrepreneurs can attest, sometimes they are the sole reason their business is a success. This is particularly true in cases where client relationships have been built over a number of years.

Still, the reality is, buyers are generally more attracted to companies that can thrive without the current owner’s continued involvement. If you’re still handling the day-to-day success that makes your business thrive, you may want to put your sale aspirations on hold, and begin mapping out an exit strategy that removes you from key roles. Only then will you truly be able to determine whether or not a future sale of your company can be successful.

2. Is your business currently thriving?

Buyers won’t bite based on past successes. If your business has already seen its heyday, don’t expect potential buyers to line up eager to buy it. This is why smart entrepreneurs often sell their businesses at the height of its success and popularity — they ride the wave to the top and then get out.

Ultimately, an informed buyer is going to want to verify that your company has been successful within the past 12 months and that it has a sustainable future. It’s up to you to prove that.

3. Do you have your affairs in order?

Potential buyers are going to want to see all kinds of information, likely spanning years. This includes tax returns and balance sheets. They’re going to want to see financial statements spanning entire 12-month periods in order to gauge seasonal fluctuations in revenue.

Potential buyers will also want to see licenses, permits, leases, customer and vendor contracts and anything else pertaining to business operations. Having your affairs in order also includes taking care of any outstanding debts or other legal issues that could potentially derail the sale of your business.

4. Have you consulted with all of the necessary experts to ready your business for sale?

When it comes to selling a business, don’t try to go at it alone. You’ll want to retain the advice of experts, including accountants, attorneys and business brokers that are seasoned in selling businesses in your particular (or at least a similar) field.

Doing so will ensure no important details, such as obtaining non-disclosure agreements from potential buyers, are overlooked.

5. Can you prove business profits?

Always remember that buyers are interested in profits over revenue when considering whether or not to purchase a business. The two are very different, and while revenues can look good on the surface, informed buyers will understand the difference between profit margin and revenue.

6. Have you conducted a thorough business valuation?

There are myriad factors to putting a dollar value on a business, including some you may not be familiar with. Like the previous consideration, this one comes down to expertise. A professional valuation will not only provide an accurate estimate of what your business is worth, but it will also better prepare you to vet potential buyers.

A proper valuation can also expose weaknesses that need to be addressed before you officially slap that for-sale sign on your business.

7. Are you prepared to answer questions and be transparent?

For a sale to be beneficial to both parties, you must be prepared to answer any and all questions that your potential buyer deems important. This means being honest about the pros and cons of your business. Don’t hide anything. Tell your buyers about your challenges in the business along with the successes.

If handled correctly, the sale of your business can be the perfect final chapter to your entrepreneurial journey. By addressing all of these points, you’ll increase the chances that both you and your buyer walk away from the deal satisfied and in the best position for future success.

How to Adapt Your Culture as Your Company Grows

An exceptional company culture means success for your business, and success means growth. As your company grows, it becomes necessary to adapt your culture.

There’s really nothing like the feeling of walking into your office when business is good and the culture is prosperous. The times when energy is high and everyone is wearing a smile are truly great. However, times like these—when business is increasing and your company is growing—signify a forthcoming issue: How will you maintain this amazing culture as your company grows?

Truthfully, it pains me to call it an issue, because great culture means great success, and that success means growth. Maintaining the same cultural dynamic, though, can be difficult. If it helps at all, at least you’re not forced to adapt or change your culture because it’s failing, so at times, company culture is a bit of a matter of perspective. That said, let’s take a look at the contour of why you’ll need to adapt your culture as your company grows.

A growing company means…


A growing company can mean several things. From the five stages of small business growth and beyond (large companies can and do grow, quite regularly), a number of changing factors present issues for your company culture. Here are a few of the more significant potential changes:

  • Larger workforce: As your company grows, there’s a very good chance that you’ll need to hire more employees. More employees means needing more managers. It can also mean better management, and that leads me to #2.
  • Better workforce: Let’s face it, some areas of your workforce may need improvement as your company grows. As hiring raises the bar, this might mean parting ways with employees who can’t maintain the new standard.
  • Multiple offices: A growing company can, and often does, mean multiple offices. For example, a software company in the San Francisco Bay area may open up a sales/customer service location in New York (very imaginative, I know).

So business is booming, and this means that there are new faces being thrown into the mix. Further, a second office is being opened up in a city that’s halfway across the country. Your company’s cultural dynamic will inevitably change, so now it’s not a matter of “why” but rather “how” to adapt your company culture. Several issues may arise, from leadership to management, operations to communications and more. Even your current technologies might need a sudden upgrade.

Whatever changes your culture needs, one thing seems to remain constant across all growing companies: implementing organizational change starts and ends with your company’s leadership. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership concluded that the competencies necessary for the leadership of growing companies include leading people, strategic planning, inspiring commitment and managing change. Aside from making complete sense, focusing on growing with (or into) the right leadership as your company expands often results in maintaining, and in some cases improving, your culture. In other words, adapting your leadership first means sustainable growth.

Want Profits? Bottoms Up!

BURP: Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

I’m not suggesting that you host an open bar at work. What I am suggesting is that you adopt the BURP strategy in your place of business. Okay, now I’m sure you think I just returned from a two martini lunch, but alas I’m quite serious (yes, sober too). The BURP strategy (Bottom’s Up for Remarkable Profits) is based on a single premise: nobody knows how to make your business succeed like those that do the work.

In business, high-level managers are responsible for creating the vision and mission, setting the direction in which the business will go and the means by which it will go there. Mid-level managers are responsible for implementing the policies and plans created at the highest level. Front-line managers direct the activities of the non-managerial personnel. Each of these people are subordinate to someone. If you’re the CEO, it’s the Board; a VP, it’s the CEO; and so on.

Bottom’s up? Why does it matter?


Every subordinate is the expert when it comes to the jobs they’re entrusted to do. Success and profitability depend upon the performance of each and every subordinate. Imagine that staff at any level are not aware of the compelling vision and mission.

Imagine that the instruction given to them is not sufficient, clear and practical. Imagine there’s no feedback loop, and all these things go unnoticed.

Who knows best when things are not what they should be? The answer is the subordinates — every single one of them. Bottom’s-Up matters because those who are performing a task know better than anyone (Yes, even better than the one who assigned the task) whether or not things are working well and how they can be improved. A more effective and efficient workplace is one that can and will achieve greater profitability.

Mtn Business “Coffee”

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 30 June 2013, MTN recorded 201.5 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.  MTN’s brand is the most valuable in Africa, and is ranked in the top 100 brands worldwide. MTN’s shares constitute the biggest primary listing on the JSE – Africa’s largest stock exchange.