One of the most enlightening things you can do is to do your own due diligence examination of your own business. Using a checklist like the one in Exhibit A, do a check-up on your own business. Make sure you really can produce the information about your business that you think you can. Assemble a due diligence package from that information that you could provide quickly to a prospective purchaser if the opportunity presented itself. Update the package annually. Going through this process will make the process much easier if and when you really do decide to sell your business.
After going through that process, ask yourself some questions:
- If you were in the market to buy a business, would you be interested in buying a business that looks like yours?
- What characteristics of your business make your business attractive to a potential purchaser?
- What characteristics of your business would be unattractive to a potential purchaser?
- Are the customers you sell to desirable ones for potential buyers of your business?
- Are the products or services you provide desirable ones for potential purchasers of your business?
- Is your pricing structure desirable to a potential purchaser?
- Does your business have a desirable image that a potential buyer would want to be associated with?
- Do your business’s records suggest that you are on top of your business?
- Do your business’s premises reflect an image that is desirable to prospective buyers (even if they will not occupy those premises)?
- Can you distinguish yourself as an honest and respectable competitor with a desirable business?
Then, develop an action plan to take advantage of your strengths and offset or eliminate your weak points. Don’t just put the plan on the shelf, check your progress regularly.
After going through that process, you will have your own customized road map to having the most marketable business you can have, while at the same time the strongest business you can have if you choose not to pursue a sale.