Making the decision to sell a business can be tough.

For some business owners it’s a relief, while others find it difficult to face parting with something built up lovingly over many years.

The fact that you’ve made it to this stage sets you apart. You’re one of the few entrepreneurs who make it to the finish line. You understand and know your business inside out, but you may not know about the process of selling.

Because we’ve all been (and still are) business owners, the Fidelis team understands both the process and the emotion around selling companies. Our aim is to make exiting a business as smooth and stress-free as possible, whether you choose to leave entirely or remain involved on a more part-time basis.

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Your selling options

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There are several options open to you, but almost all of our purchases are made by following a phased process.

We find that this provides a ‘win-win’ solution for all parties and is the solution which most has the company’s best interest at its heart. Protecting the legacy of the business is our primary concern.

Quite often too this method is best for the business owner too. Suddenly stopping what you’ve spent years doing can have a detrimental effect on your wellbeing. It can cause feelings similar to grief, which sounds a little dramatic but we’ve seen it happen. We want you to feel happy and satisfied once the deal is completed, otherwise we won’t buy your business, so we take care to ensure our motivations are aligned.

Phased Process

The deferred approach is effectively a structured equity release.

So, you release the equity in your business and receive a significant amount of the proceeds on completion. Then you may choose how to remain in some capacity, perhaps in an advisory role or by doing a few days a month. We view this as a glide path exit as opposed to a rocket departure!

This kind of slow exit makes the whole process smoother, less emotional and gives people time to adjust. We’ve had business owners remaining in some capacity for up to five years, often as an advisor or consultant. In each case, they’ve enjoyed staying involved with the business but without the burden and stresses they had before.

But this also makes your business more attractive to the investors and funders who we use, in combination with our own resources, to fund a purchase.

Structured Process

We’re open and honest at all times with business owners who choose to work with us.

This is not a quick process, and nor should it be, so it’s vital that you choose a buyer whose values are aligned with your own.

It wouldn’t make sense to spend years building and running a business (the marathon) and then not taking the last straight of the race with the utmost seriousness. Packaging the business correctly can create a significant shift in the sale price.

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Fidelis Team

Business Brokers

If you’ve already begun to look at options for selling you’ve probably thought about or researched business brokers.

There are some excellent business brokers out there, but there are others who aren’t as scrupulous.

Unlike estate agents, many brokers earn income from upfront (and/or monthly) fees paid by vendors, not just at the completion of a successful sale. Some offer a ‘no sale no fee’ service and tend to have quite an aggressive sales process. Others will expect a retainer. Beware of entering into a contract with a broker, or any other advisor. Scrutinise the contract and make sure you’re not paying fees upfront with no guarantee of a sale.

“An anecdotal 80% of businesses listed never sell because of the broker model.”

It might seem like the hassle-free solution and the fastest way to sell, but there can be hidden pitfalls:

  • They might use the “rat rap” approach (i.e. charge you nothing upfront but trap you into large fees – tens of thousands of pounds – to be paid even if your business doesn’t sell).
  • They might give you an unrealistic valuation to sign you up.
  • Some brokers might give you the impression that no upfront fees means no risk (but there could be a risk to your business that they’re not disclosing).
  • They might claim to have a large database of eager buyers or one buyer looking urgently for a business just like yours. It’s unlikely they do, but you should ask them for proof.

Ultimately, no one knows your business better than you do so it makes sense that you’re in the best position to do the deal.

Fidelis is here to help.

If you’d like a no nonsense and no obligation discussion, please get in touch.

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