• Mon, Jun 29, 2020
  • 10 Ways To Safeguard Your Interests When Selling Your Business (Forbes)
  • LINK to full Article

    By:  Expert Panel® 

    Selling a business or the rights to a product or service you’ve developed is a transaction that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t fully understand. Parting with a company you’ve built from the ground up not only comes with a lot of emotion but also with potential pitfalls it’s important to be ready for.  

    There are important steps you can take to protect your current and future interests when you decide it’s time to sell your business. To help you prepare, 10 members of Forbes Finance Council share important strategies to remember.

    1. Carefully vet all parties involved.

    The sale process is a very transparent one. Before revealing any aspect of the business, it is vital that you properly vet the mergers and acquisitions broker/advisor as well as any prospect. Some firms use buying interest to identify critical methods, resources or other assets that comprise your value—don’t reveal any of it without proper assurances and protections. Take your time and be thorough. - Brian Daniells, Enterprising Solutions

    2. Get expert help.

    Working with an attorney and a banker who specialize in this niche field will go a long way. Furthermore, your accountant should be involved so you understand the tax ramifications of the deal. Quality professionals have been around the block and have seen it all, and they can help you better protect yourself. - Amir Eyal, Mylestone Plans LLC

    Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning, and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?

    3. Only sell what the buyer is after.

    Many times, buyers are really after something specific in your business—your technology, your team, your user base, etc. Find out what it is and try to keep the rest. Whether you take your team on to the next project or find a way to pivot your technology, try to maximize the value of your company’s assets. Being aware of each asset’s value will make negotiations easier, too. - Felix Hartmann, Hartmann Capital

    4. Get an independent valuation.

    Buyers and sellers often have very different viewpoints on the value of a product or business. The best way I’ve found to resolve this and to protect everyone’s interests is to retain a valuation expert. Their perspective can inform a reasonable sale price. While you may not agree with the valuation, it’s an important data point to factor into your decision. - Brian Henderson, Whitnell

    5. Understand your value.

    You must understand the value of the business or product from both an internal and an external perspective. This means understanding how you’re positioned in the market, the projected cash flows and risks. Once you understand these elements you will get the correct amount for your product or business. Knowing the granular details around all of these is key. - Andrew Lyon, Focused Energy

    6. Make sure they can pay you.

    Get proof of funds before you sign anything. Ask for it as a requirement in the letter of intent or a term sheet. You will want this early enough in the process that you do not waste time or give access to sensitive data in the due-diligence process. If done politely, a request for proof of funds isn’t offensive and shows that you are serious about the deal while also protecting yourself. - Aaron Spool, Eventus Advisory Group, LLC

    7. Limit indemnification claims.

    When selling your business, you can get burned after the transaction with substantial indemnification claims made by the buyer. To protect yourself, negotiate a limit on the number of claims that can be made and set a minimum dollar amount that must be reached if a claim is going to be made. This will help protect you against the buyer making petty claims to recover losses after the transaction. - Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

    8. Get some money up front.

    There are so many variables to consider when you structure a deal as an annuity payment. If the person buying your business or product is serious about its ongoing success they should be willing to make an upfront payment. You invested lots of time, money and energy, so make sure you get properly compensated for what you have done so far.  - Vlad Rusz, Centaur Digital Corp.

    9. Don’t pay voluntary taxes.

    These kinds of sales can be very complicated, and oftentimes the tax implications are an afterthought. Before you structure a deal, make sure you evaluate the taxable impact and include those implications in the sale arrangements. Payouts over time and through dynamic strategies will benefit both buyer and seller. - Joshua Sherrard, Strategic Navigators Inc.

    10. Register and set up separate arrangements for all items.

    I want to make sure I am only selling the things I want to sell and not unknowingly selling the things I would still like to keep or control. A good way to do that is to register trademarks, patents and copyrights on all items I’d like control over and have those rights owned by a separate corporation. I can license or sell them off individually and still retain separation and control of the others. - Jerry Fetta, Wealth DynamX

    If you are thinking about selling your business within the next few years, contact me today so we can start to plan for your successful exit. 

    Eric J. Gall
    [email protected]