Overcoming Challenges

During the selling process, several challenges with employees, suppliers, customers, competitors and the purchaser will arise.

Employees will be most nervous about their future employment and the future of the business. While there are advantages to telling employees about a pending sale, there are also disadvantages. Employees are resourceful and rumours may spread quickly with any new developments in the office. It is reasonable that an employee will find out about a sale at some point in time. When the information is shared, it should be on a confidential basis. Customers could be approached by your competition to leave your business. Suppliers may determine that your business is so small that it is not as important as other companies and may reduce the amount of time they spend with you. One strategy to consider is providing customers and suppliers with a written statement regarding your decision to sell and the efforts underway to find a suitable purchaser.

Once you have a suitable purchaser, they will require more attention. The purchaser lacks the number of years working in the business and will rely on you to fill in many of the knowledge gaps. One strategy is to have the key aspects of the business documented. This could be an introduction to the company which lists all the work that is needed from receiving a customer inquiry to supplying the product, including billing and collection of the account.

While there will be numerous challenges in this process, there will also be acknowledgement that you provided the best possible opportunity for a successful transition to the new owner. Often the seller will remain active in the business for a set time period to help with the transition. This skill transfer is important and the seller should be paid for this position.