This is it, you’re ready. You long for the next chapter in your life whether that’s retirement, more time to focus on your family, a big move etc.
You hit the Google search engine:
"How do I sell my business?"
The first step is to talk to the experts (business brokers, business intermediaries) practicing in your area.
Chinook Business Advisory specializes in selling businesses all over Western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta.)
The next would be to understand the true process of what selling your business will look like. Since this process is usually lengthy, it’s important to understand expectations, timelines, and the support you need/will receive during the process from your professional team.
Below we summarize the process Chinook takes when you work with us to sell your business:
1. Confidentiality covenant
The very first thing we do is send you over our Confidentially Covenant. This is where Chinook commits to hold in strictest confidence all information, statements, documents or other materials you share with us in the assessment of your business.
Nothing good comes from people knowing your business is for sale. Employees could fear for their jobs, competitors could start rumours, suppliers could be more cautious, and bankers could develop reticence.
Only people who are truly interested and have the means to buy your business need to know it is for sale. Through the Chinook process of prescreening and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s), we dramatically reduce the chances that word will get out.
In every step we take, confidentiality as our first priority.
2. Introductory conversation
Next up, we have a heart-forward conversation to understand your needs and goals.
This is also so you can get a feel for who we are and what we can provide for you. We will go over what you can expect in terms of service from us, and learn a little more about your business and plans. From here, you can decide if Chinook is the right fit for you.
This is usually the time we like to send you our complimentary book “Getting to the Finish Line” that was written by two of our partners.
3. Document Preparation
To get started, you will need to assemble and provide, over the course of the process, some or all of the following documents or information:
- 3 Years (5 years preferred) accountant prepared financial statements including balance sheets.
- Year-to-date interim financials, either in-house, or accountant prepared.
- Copies of the lease for premises, and any other leases or contracts for equipment, vehicles, etc.
- A list of furniture, fixtures and equipment (“FFE”) and its estimated current market value.
- Average level of your business inventory and any seasonal fluctuations we should be aware of.
- A copy of your current fiscal year General Ledger (or digital file in Excel format).
4. BUSINESS VALUATION
At Chinook, we understand that in making this decision, you are making a life decision first. Life decisions are all about what is next. Life decisions have a price tag. Whether you are selling because you wish to retire or to pursue another opportunity or whatever the reason may be, what is next in your life has a cost associated with it.
When Chinook provides a valuation, the goal is to advise business owners what a reasonable expectation from the marketplace may be for your business. Chinook will also help you understand how much of the selling price stays with you. We bring considerable experience, expertise and knowledge of the marketplace when we do valuations. We understand not only business valuation methodology, we also fully understand valuation from the buyer’s perspective. We work with buyers every day. It matters little what one says their business is worth. When all is said and done, more will be said than done and a business is only worth what someone will pay for it.
5. engagement agreement
I guess you could say things are getting serious. You’ve been swept off your feet by the good humour, light touch, and professionalism of our team, and you’re in!
Once you are satisfied the valuation can fund your next chapter and you feel ready to proceed, you will formally engage Chinook to work with you in preparing your business for sale by signing our standard form of “Engagement Agreement”.
6. Marketing Package
Chinook will prepare various marketing materials to package your business for sale. This will include a Confidential Information Memorandum (the “CIM”), a Blind Profile, and other materials suitable for your business.
The “Blind Profile” is an enticing summary used to attract buyers without revealing the actual business that is for sale.
The CIM is a multi-page document with detailed information about the business, your industry, market trends conditions, staffing, your role, a SWOT analysis and so on. A well done CIM contains everything a potential buyer needs to understand about your opportunity in order to take action – make an offer – where the business is of interest to them. See example here.
Everything that Chinook prepares on your behalf is reviewed, edited and approved by you before it is used in the marketing of your business; Chinook supplies expertise, you supply direction. When these marketing materials are complete and approved by you, we are ready to go to market.
Luck is opportunity met with preparedness. We like to be lucky as much as possible.
7. Buyer Search
Chinook will expose your business to qualified buyers. This includes using our large in-house network we’ve accumulated through the years, as well as buyers throughout the world that we access through the various marketing methodologies that we employ. These include sharing your ‘Blind Profile’ with:
- Business Buy Sites (2 million+ buyers)
- Internal Buyer Database (5,500+ buyers)
- Partnership Platforms (6,000+ buyers)
- Private Equity Groups
- Personal Internal Networks
- Other Brokers
Buyer search includes pre-screening of buyers as well as an NDA . No one should have access to your company information until we’re confident they are a capable candidate.
8. BUSINESS PURCHASE
When a buyer wants to place an offer on your business, Chinook will facilitate all negotiations.
As an intermediary, we look to build bridges between what the buyer wants and what the seller wants. The fact is that a transaction cannot be achieved unless the goals and objectives of both parties are met. We are keen that the seller should receive full value for their years of hard work. That is only possible if the transaction is also caring for the needs of the buyer.
Note: a main street buyer requires three things from the purchase of a business: 1. a living wage, 2. cash flow to service debt used to achieve the purchase price, and 3. a return on the cash they have invested into the deal. (ROIC – Return on Invested Capital.)
As a full-service brokerage, your intermediary will pre-draft a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the offer, and send it to you and your lawyer for approval.
9. Due Diligence
When you and the buyer have agreed to price and terms on an offer to purchase, the most important work you should expect from us occurs: due diligence.
While the business is on the market, it is important that the seller find, prepare and maintain certain records and information that will be required during the due diligence phase of a sale. Due diligence refers to the inspection and verification of information, documents and records that a potential buyer will undertake who has made an offer to purchase that has been accepted. Chinook will explain all the details and work with you to identify and collect the documents and information that will be part of this process.
It is important to be prepared, as it is reported that 50% of potential sales fall apart in due diligence. (Not on our watch!) We will ensure that you are prepared when the precious and exciting moment of an accepted offer comes. Luck is opportunity met with preparedness. Wait, we already said that.
THE CHINOOK COMMITMENT
Chinook is committed to doing our absolute best and most professional job helping owners achieve their objectives.
A timely and best-value sale of a business requires Chinook to invest significant time and resources into the task. By entering into an Engagement Agreement with Chinook, a business owner also makes a significant legal, financial and personal commitment.
At Chinook, we acknowledge, understand and appreciate this commitment. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with business owners in this process.
Meet with someone on our team today: schedule your call.