What do a house for sale and a business for sale have in common?

November 8, 2009

Both a business and house for sale need cleaning.  In fact the business for sale may have more cleaning to do than the house.

Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to shove the undone tasks, uncleaned dishes, incomplete files, not to mention the dirt under the rug, in the closet…well you get the picture.  Much like our houses, the parts that are not seen by clients/guests are not thought of as top priority and entrepreneurs are typically very busy.  What is more challenging for the business owner that most households don’t have to worry about are keeping records up to date and filed neatly away.  Not having these readily available for a prospective buyer sends a bad signal to the owner, causing doubt about the validity of the owner’s asking price, business performance claims, etc.

The business owner cleaning house for the sale needs to consider the outward appearance as well as the internal, backroom workings.  The owner could have a list of items that any respectable buyer might want to see and ask the broker or a colleague to review them.

These items could include:

1)  Current lease and addenda

2) Tax returns for recent years & current year-to-date financials

3) List of furniture, fixture, and equipment, including purchase dates

4) Current client list

5) Current vendor list

6) Detail of any personal expenses found in the financials

7) Contractual agreements

8) Marketing plans – I have no idea why the little happy face is showing here but it WILL NOT go away

9) Staff records

Each business is likely to have other items unique to them or their industry.  Remember, consider what you would want to see.

In your business, what items should you be keeping neat and tidy.  Just in case.

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