Develop a plan to increase the value of your business before you put it on the market so you can maximise the return on your investment.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve run the business for decades and plan to pass it on to the next generation, or you only founded it a matter of months ago with the express intention of selling it to a third party.

Whatever your situation, you deserve to gain the best returns you can for all your hard work.

Priming your business for sale is all about getting it into the best shape it’s ever seen. This means drilling down into the strategic details of your original business plan and accepted way of doing things, and possibly making significant changes.

Use this tool to build an Action Plan for priming your business for sale. It’ll help you compile a range of actions and solutions you can tailor to your situation, in a document you can download at the end for future use.


Set out now what type of buyer you're targeting and why, to help you strategise your sale and then later measure progress.


  1. Preferably sell to an employee or third party with knowledge and passion for the industry who will be more likely to protect my legacy.
  2. Gain a competitive price that acknowledges the many intangibles that have formed the back bone of my business's success, such as its sterling reputation with the target market.
  3. Sell the premises separately from the business itself. The industry is moving towards online retail, and I will be able to get a better price for both if I put them on the market individually.
  4. Like any project, priming your business for sale needs to be measured. If you don't measure, you won't know how near or far you are from reaching the optimum potential you see for your business and when you should put it on the market.
  5. To measure something, you first need to plant the goal posts for success. Figure out now who you want to – or should – sell your business to, and the conditions you need to walk away from your business with peace of mind.
  6. Different objectives mean different priorities. Just as many business owners will be planning to sell to family, friends or employees, some will be planning to sell to a third party – so the formula for priming a business is rarely exactly the same.
  7. Restructuring for sale

    Your business's current structure might make it harder for potential buyers to sign on the dotted line.

    As a sole trader, one of my priorities is to incorporate my business as a company to provide potential buyers with the investment security and growth opportunities provided by limited liability.

    I should also consult my accountant on the best ways to make the transition of ownership as smooth as possible on the tax front.

    Priming a business for sale is essentially about adding value and making the purchase as attractive as possible, issues that can both be directly influenced by business structure.

    If you're a sole trader, for example, consider incorporating your business into a limited liability company – a structure that would limit your buyer's exposure to financial risk and encourage growth.

    You may want to consult your accountant to make sure any changes you make in priming the business won't cause any tax complications. You should also consider the issue of affordability.

    If you can't find a buyer who can afford to buy the business and you still want to sell, a solution may be to restructure the business so it's more affordable. For example, the new buyer could lease the business's premises off you instead of buying the property outright with the rest of the business.

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