Once you’ve made the decision to sell your business, it’s tempting to slacken the pace and look ahead to your next challenge. But, for the good of the business – and to ensure all goes to plan – it’s worth spending a little extra time to make sure that the transition period is as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
Aim for a win-win situation and you won’t go far wrong. By considering the needs of your employees and the new business owner as well as your loyal customers, you’ll not only be helping to secure the future of the business you’ve nurtured, but your diligence will also be rewarded with a more profitable sale.
Bolster your team by empowering staff to take the reins. Consider offering key staff members incentives so they are more engaged in the business and more likely to stay on and help the new owner to drive new successes. This will also allow you to gradually take more of a back seat and will prime the business for change.
It’s worth ensuring that your supply chain is sound and that your customer pipeline stays buoyant. There’s bound to be a little disruption as the business transitions, so it makes sense to focus on maintaining steady relationships with your key suppliers and trading partners to avoid dropping the ball. Streamline and automate processes where possible to allow for a smooth handover.
A handover manual that details your processes and procedures will make it easy not only for the incoming owner but for your hardworking staff, too. Include information on organisational matters – rota arrangements, for instance – as well as health and safety policies and staff training programmes.
Whether you’re providing staggered payment terms or selling the business outright, consider offering to stay on for a while after the transfer to allow the new owner to get up to speed. If that’s not possible, do make yourself available to answer questions in the first couple of months. Keep your customers informed about the handover schedule and be clear that the new owner has your support.