The months after the holiday rush can be some of the most tedious and boring of the year. Winter has truly set in, and most people are not thinking of landscaping their yards.  Buying plants is counter-intuitive with a foot of snow on the ground, and the push to buy Christmas trees and poinsettias seems like a distant memory. While this is a great time to take a break and recover from the hectic summer months and mid-winter push, it is also an important time to think about where you stand with your business. Even if you have no current plans to sell your business, it is wise to develop a coherent and practical exit strategy. Every business owner has a need to consider his or her options under a variety of foreseen or unforeseen circumstances. While the period after the holidays is generally considered off-season for most of the green industries, it is quite the opposite for us. During this period we usually see an increase in inquiries about buying and selling businesses. The diminished demand for lawn and landscape services during the winter months allows buyers and sellers to focus more exclusively on the details of acquisitions and sales that can be time consuming and, therefore, almost impossible during busier times of the year.

If you are considering selling your business, it is a good time to think about listing your business because owners considering expanding their current operations often use this time to review potential opportunities. Additionally, sellers can take this time to do a few things that can improve both the value and marketability of their company. We have additional resources on our website listing in more detail some of the steps that can increase the value of your business, but here are just a few suggestions.

First, clean up the physical business. Selling your business is similar to selling a house in this circumstance. A clean and professional physical appearance can make a big difference. This is true whether you plan to sell right now or not. A well-kept place of business instills confidence in ownership as well as a sense of pride among employees. Second, line up your advisors. Know who you are going to talk to about the details.  Tax planning, employee relations, state laws, legal ramifications and loan requirements are just a few of the details that will likely need to be addressed. Lawyers, accountants and financial advisors are important resources. Finally, make sure that your books are up-to-date and that you have clear and accurate financial information. Having timely and clean financial statements is usually a prerequisite to completing a business sale. The inability of sellers to produce timely, accurate financial statements is one of the biggest challenges we face with the sale of businesses.

Buying or selling a business is an important decision that can be complex and challenging. There is no magic solution, but spending a little time and effort in planning your next business step is a move that always step is a move that always pays dividends. The Principium Group is one of the few mergers & acquisitions firms specializing in the green industries. We welcome a chance to talk with you about your plans, whether they include buying or selling a business or planning an exit strategy that you will use in the future. The winter months are a good time to plan your next step. Give us a call, and we’ll help you get started.

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