The Business Broker’s Blog

A resource to help you sell your business successfully

In our Blog, we aim to bring you a variety of articles to help you further down the road to selling your business successfully, from
our view on the general economy and its current impact on business mergers and acquisition activity, to our spotlight on the issues
faced by SME businesses and the help available. We also highlight our “Business of the Month” and give advice
on how to prepare your business for optimum sale.

We hope this is a useful resource for you and would appreciate your feedback. As always, please do contact us if you have any questions

Selling Your Business: How Long Will You Remain Involved Post-Sale?

Mon 12th April 2021

Selling Your Business: How Long Will You Remain Involved Post-Sale?

Once a business sale has completed, many business owners want to know how long they will remain involved in their company. To a large extent this will depend on the deal structure that is agreed as the buyer’s strategy for the business post completion will be linked to the type of deal structure they propose....

Do I sell my company now, in 2021, or build it for 2 years more?

Tue 09th February 2021

Do I sell my company now, in 2021, or build it for 2 years more?

This is a question often posed by owners contemplating the sale of their business in good economic times. Whilst the long-term impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns on many SME businesses remains to be fully assessed, this question will become much more prevalent in the coming months for those who were considering the sale of their...

Selling to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

Sat 11th July 2020

Selling to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

On 26th June, we celebrated Employee Ownership day in the UK. It was marked by a number of highly informative webinars organised by the Employee Ownership Association. The webinar recordings are available on the EOA website (link to https://employeeownership.co.uk/events/eo-day-2020/) along with a lot of must-read articles and information about how Employee Ownership works in practice....

5 benefits of merging your IT & managed services business

Fri 15th May 2020

5 benefits of merging your IT & managed services business

Consolidation and growth opportunities in 2020 We can be in no doubt that the impacts of the Covid19 pandemic on the economy will be felt for some time to come. At a macro-level there has been much talk of various profiles for the recovery, as we look to come out of lockdown, whether this be...

How to build a business worth multi-millions in 3 years?

Thu 23rd April 2020

How to build a business worth multi-millions in 3 years?

Interview with an entrepreneur who has achieved just this – by Hornblower Business Sales & Acquisitions Consultant, Sian Murray We, at Hornblower, first met Sue Nelson at a networking event in October 2016 when she suggested that the business was about a year away from selling. When I asked her for her three years of...

Were you planning to sell your business in 2020? – 6 ways to deal with black swan events

Wed 15th April 2020

Were you planning to sell your business in 2020? – 6 ways to deal with black swan events

After 3 years of uncertainty caused by the ‘B’ word, the election result in December 2019 seemed, to many, to give a clear way forward. The endless commentary on Brexit seemed to go quiet. Brexit was getting done. Business too was getting done. The FTSE was on a high, business was ramping up and for...

Fri 07th February 2020

Who will buy my business?

Should you decide it’s time to sell your business, one of the questions you might ask yourself, or your broker, is: who will buy my business? It’s important to think about this before you make the decision to sell. A better understanding of the types of buyers out there, and the ones best suited to...

Fri 07th February 2020

Why sell my business?

If selling your business has been on your mind, asking yourself why you want to sell is an important thing to do. Not only is it a worthwhile question to answer for yourself, it’s also one of the first questions a potential buyer will ask and your response can have a major impact on the...

Fri 07th February 2020

Business Sellers and Entrepreneurs’ Relief

As the upcoming Budget planned for the 11th March 2020 approaches, business sellers are faced with the question of whether to sell in order to capitalise on Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) in its current form. Speculation on the future of this particular tax break originated from the Conservative Party election manifesto where ER was targeted as...

Fri 03rd January 2020

Will 2020 be good for selling your business?

Brexit and the elections dominated the news in 2019, and Brexit part 2 – “the trade deal” will be a feature of 2020. However, with a general loosening of austerity post-election, some commentators in the investment community are predicting the UK economy may get a boost in 2020. The election result also removes market fears...

Tue 03rd December 2019

Negotiating a business sale: 4 myths debunked

When it comes to selling your business, both you and the potential buyer want to get the best price. So there’s often a fair amount of negotiation involved to land on a price that both sides deem fair. Negotiation can be a tricky thing to get right and, to compound matters, there are a number...

Wed 13th November 2019

When is the right time to sell your business?

This is a question that’s often posed by business owners who are deciding between selling their business now or waiting to achieve a potentially higher valuation. It’s a tricky decision to make but, to be blunt, unless you’re selling your business because you’re looking to retire, or for other personal circumstances, there are only two...

Sat 02nd November 2019

Seeking help to prepare your business for sale

We are often asked by business owners, what should I do to make my business sellable at the best price? Our response is make sure the business is sustainable. Make sure the business can run without you, develop your management team, identify a key person(s) as a potential general manager or MD replacement. Reduce customer...

Wed 09th October 2019

Are you a Leveraged Buy-Out (LBO) buyer?

Over the last year we have received an increasing number of enquiries from individual investors and investment groups, who are looking for leveraged buy-out (LBO) deals. Such deals can work in cases where there are significant balance sheet assets and a business owner/director who is open to taking the risk on the deferred element of...

Mon 09th September 2019

Don’t Fall for Attractive Valuations

Selling your business can be a challenging process. For most business owners, it’s likely to be the first and only time that you will be doing so. Taking the decision to sell and engaging the services of a business broker to determine the value of your business is the first step into unknown territory, requiring...

Tue 09th July 2019

Can anyone buy a business?

Over the last year we have received an increasing number of enquiries from individual investors and investment groups, some of whom are open to putting equity into a deal and some who are looking for a purely leveraged buyout. Many deals will involve an element of deferred payment and/or earnout. However, a purely leveraged buyout...

Wed 05th June 2019

Selling a business check list

If you are thinking about selling your business, It’s important to first work through the details that will help you maximise the value and make your business more attractive to potential buyers. We have identified 10 points to consider before and during the sale of your business. 1. Clarify your reason for selling This is...

Tue 30th April 2019

8 Reasons Why Business Owners Hold Back on Selling Their Business

In meeting and talking with business owners, we come across some quite common challenges in making the decision to sell a business. We’ve put together 8 common quandaries which often hold business owners back and have the potential to delay or even derail their retirement from the business. 1. Will everyone find out the business...

Wed 06th March 2019

5 Golden Rules for Successful Business Sales

Over the years, we’ve helped sell a lot of businesses and learned important lessons in the process – achieving an 80% business sales success rate along the way. In supporting many businesses through the sales process, we’ve distilled key elements which ensure successful business sales: we call them the 5 Golden Rules – and we’ve...

Fri 18th January 2019

Will 2019 be a good year for selling your business?

Outlook for sales of owner managed businesses in 2019 Questions we are often asked by prospective sellers of businesses, are “What is the market like at the moment?” and “Is Brexit affecting buyers’ appetite for acquisitions?” From our perspective, appetite for acquisition remains strong. As of January, out of the seven new sale mandates we...

Mon 26th November 2018

Tech Buyers Be-aware: When to ask questions during the business sale process

Tech businesses tend to attract prospective buyers with a lot of questions. This observation came out of a recent conversation with my colleague, Mark Sykes, who had recently experienced an all-too-familiar scenario where a buyer who had, for a period of time, been enthusiastically asking for more information about the company – only to be...

Mon 24th September 2018

Taxes due on selling a business

Rather a dry topic, but nonetheless an important one for business owners considering the sale of their business. In considering the net value you will receive for your business, you will need to consider the taxes due on completing a sale. We are often asked by sellers whether they should sell the “business assets and...

Fri 21st September 2018

Fees for selling a business

Together with the potential business valuation, what fees you will incur in the transaction is an important factor. Fees will generally fall into three camps: accountancy, legal and broker fees.   1 – Accountancy fees: These will usually be for the additional support required from your accountant for tax planning and support during the due...

Fri 22nd June 2018

Why does selling your business become more difficult once you are over 70?

At Hornblower we sell over 80% of the business sale assignments we take on. Most of these are sold within 12 months of our starting our marketing campaigns, a third are sold within 6 months. And we have now sold all, that’s 100% of the business sale mandates we took on in 2016. Whilst a...

Sat 17th March 2018

Is 2018 a good year for selling your business?

In the first quarter of 2018 we have completed 5 deals and secured offers on another 3 mandates. There is currently strong demand for the majority of our sales mandates, and we see conditions being very much a seller’s market. There are many buyers and too few acquisition opportunities. The number of business owners deciding...

Fri 16th February 2018

Negotiating win-win business deals

This month we are sharing an article written by Terry Irwin at TCii Business Consultants and Acquisition Integration specialists. Whilst written for all business negotiations, it is particularly pertinent when negotiating a business sale. For the full article, please click here. Rather than approaching negotiations as a mutual problem-solving process, most CEOs see it as...

Fri 19th January 2018

Do I sell my company now or build it for 2 years more?

This is a question often posed by owners contemplating the sale of their business. The answer lies in whether what they are able to achieve in the next 2 to 3 years will actually add value compared to what they could achieve were they to put the business on the market for sale now. There...

Fri 18th August 2017

What is the market like for selling your business?

With the holiday season in full swing, and the occasional ray of sunshine, we often find that July and August is a time when business owners take a step back and reflect on their future, both personally and for the business, and consider a business sale. One of the questions we are frequently asked is:...

Mon 27th March 2017

Records that Convince Business Buyers to Pay Top Dollar

There’s an old adage about the ABCs of record keeping: They are a) knowing what to keep b) knowing what to shred and c) knowing the difference between A and B. In other words, don’t keep a record unless the record is earning its keep. That’s good advice as far as running a business is...

Mon 20th March 2017

Who will buy your business?

In our last two posts, we have looked at the most common reasons to sell a business and the best time to retire and exit from a business. This month we look at the other side: buyers. Who is buying businesses? The type of buyer will vary according the size and nature of the business,...

Mon 20th February 2017

Why would you sell your business?

The reason for sale is one of the first questions asked by buyers and it can have a major impact on the sellability and value of a business. If the reasons do not stack up, it can give the perception that the seller is selling because the business is in trouble. In deciding whether to...

Fri 20th January 2017

Will 2017 be a good year for selling your business?

2016 was another good year for Hornblower and the M&A market in general. We have been busy especially during December and January so far reaching heads of terms on four of our sale mandates. The number of business owners deciding to sell has remained steady, but at the same time there is an increasing number...

Thu 13th October 2016

How long will it take to sell your business?

“How long will it take to sell my business?” is a question we are frequently asked by prospective clients. Our own metrics are typically 70% to 80% of our client’s business sell within 12 months from retaining us to completing the sale and 30% of these complete within 6 months. However, the time it takes...

Thu 28th July 2016

Will Brexit affect the sale of your business?

It is now over a month since the Brexit vote and we have seen many changes in the political landscape. However, on the ground in the world of selling owner managed businesses, there seems to be little impact so far. Despite the usual slowdown in activity over the summer, we continue to receive a good...

Wed 10th February 2016

Finding an international buyer for your business

In the past few months, we have concluded a number of M&A deals with overseas buyers – and we are continuing to receive interest from international buyers for a number of our UK based clients’ businesses which we are marketing for sale. Recent deals include: The sale of a £2m Commercial Cleaning Company to an...

Mon 26th January 2015

Will 2015 be a good year for selling your business?

2014 was another very good year for Hornblower and the M&A market in general. The number of business owners deciding to sell continues to increase, and at the same time there is an increasing number of active buyers with funds. We are very positive about 2015 and here is why: Positive growth forecasts for the...

Thu 11th December 2014

When valuing your business, how much is enough?

‘Achieving financial independence’ is the most common long-term objective of entrepreneurs. Any business owners contemplating the possible sale of their business probably have a figure in mind which they feel represents a fair valuation for the business, but the true value will only be confirmed as what a buyer eventually pays. However, it is far...

Wed 24th September 2014

Is now the right time to sell your business?

The timing of the sale of your business is closely linked with the reasons for selling. The reasons why to sell a business can be personal, due to retirement or ill health, or led by the business cycle and your investment objectives. (Click here to read the article: “Why do business owners sell their businesses?”)...

Thu 27th February 2014

Selling a business – 4 more myths

In meeting and talking with business owners, we often come up against certain preconceptions on the process of selling a business. We wrote about some in a recent article, here are a few more examples: 1) It does not matter if people know I want to sell my business. Whilst if you are retirement age...

Thu 31st October 2013

Growing your business through acquisition & Maximising your exit

Choosing when to sell in order to maximise your exit value The reasons why a business owner might choose to sell are varied but there is usually a clear rationale for doing so. Often it comes down to capital requirements: either that additional financing will be needed to take the business forward but is not...

Tue 15th October 2013

Selling a business – 4 common myths

In meeting and talking with business owners, we often come up against certain preconceptions on the process of selling a business. Here are just a few examples: 1) I can sell my business myself Some business owners believe that they can sell their own business by themselves. But selling a business is not like selling...

Fri 27th September 2013

Who is buying businesses?

In our last two articles, we have looked at the most common reasons to sell a business and the best time to retire and exit from a business. This month we look at the other side: buyers. Who is buying businesses? The type of buyer will vary according the size and nature of the business,...

Tue 16th July 2013

Why do business owners sell their businesses?

The reason for sale is one of the first questions asked by buyers and it can have a major impact on the sellability and value of a business. If the reasons do not stack up, it can give the perception that the seller is selling because the business is in trouble. In deciding whether to...

Thu 27th June 2013

How to negotiate the best deal

In virtually every aspect of daily life, we negotiate in one way or another and we all learn to negotiate from a young age, “if I eat my peas, I can have my pudding…” It is an important skill that is critical to get right when negotiating the sale or acquisition of a business. Not...

Fri 21st June 2013

Selling your business in a flat growth economy

For several years now, most European governments have focused on controlling budget deficits and inflation rather than unemployment and growth. The consequences are slow growth and low interest rates, a situation which is quite possibly set to continue for some years. What does this mean if you are looking to sell your business? Many larger...

Wed 17th April 2013

Selling businesses internationally

2013 has got off to a cracking start at Hornblower with four businesses sold in the first three months. One of these was the sale of a civil and structural engineering consultancy based in Western Australia. With the globalisation of many industry sectors, including construction and the related professions such as civil and structural engineering,...

Tue 09th April 2013

Why use a business broker ?

You are an experienced business person who has built up a successful business; why do you need a broker to help you sell it? Here are five reasons to appoint good broker: 1) Sound professional advice from someone that has done it before Selling your business is for most a once in a lifetime experience,...

Thu 28th February 2013

Business Broker, Business Transfer Agent, M&A boutique or Corporate Finance practice?

In this article we are unashamedly doing a bit of naval gazing – considering where we fit into the world of business intermediaries and how do clients refer to us as an industry? There are a number of names for business intermediaries who are in the business of business sales, mergers and acquisitions. These include...

Thu 03rd January 2013

Is an acquisition right for your business?

Is an acquisition right for you? There are many legitimate reasons for acquiring another company. These include: expanding your markets acquiring people, systems or processes acquiring new products, services or customers achieving economies of scale reducing expenses creating opportunities for cross-selling acquiring new distribution systems eliminating competition. Ultimately, however, all legitimate reasons for contemplating an...

Wed 19th December 2012

Property investment: is it really the right reason to sell your business?

There are many reasons why business owners decide to sell their businesses. For approximately half our clients, the reason is simple: retirement. But for the other half, they are not retirement age and the reasons for selling are more complex. Some have become bored with the status quo and just want a change of direction,...

Wed 12th December 2012

Which businesses will sell well in 2013?

The festive season at the end of another year is often a time when business owners take their heads out of day to day operations and reflect on their future, both personally and for the business. For some this will mean planning their retirement or simply deciding to change course and finally focus on that...

Wed 05th December 2012

Selling the family business

Selling the family business: A means of passing the family asset to the next generation without them having to take over the business Owning and running a family business has many advantages both personally and for the business compared with other enterprises. Having family members as key personnel in your business presents many benefits such...

Wed 28th November 2012

The 7 most costly mistakes you can make when selling your business

Avoid the disastrous mistakes that can make your business simply unsellable or drastically reduce the price you achieve. Discover the keys to achieving the optimum deal value when you eventually decide to sell your business. Mistake # 1: Not understanding the value of your business Asking for the wrong price is the most common...

Wed 21st November 2012

The Best Time to Plan Your Exit Strategy

There are many reasons people decide to start their own business. For many it is a desire to leave employment, or perhaps the opportunity to take redundancy, and to exploit the skills they have acquired, often over many years, for their own benefit. Usually the last thing on their mind at this point is an...

Wed 14th November 2012

Two directors, two views on how to manage the business. What do you do?

This is a situation we often come across, where the two directors have differing views on how to take the business forward. Typically one wants to re-invest in order to grow the business, and the other needs to continue taking income to support his/her lifestyle; or perhaps the business needs to diversify but the two...

Wed 17th October 2012

Two directors, one wants to retire. What do you do?

Two directors, one wants to retire, the other is still young with plenty to give. What do you do? This is a situation we often come across, where a company is run by two owner directors. When one of the directors decides he/she wishes to retire or simply leave the business due to a...

Wed 10th October 2012

Preparation, preparation, preparation

Preparing to sell your business The approach to the end of the year is often a time when business owners take their heads out of day to day operations and reflect on their future, both personally and for the business. When sellers first enquire, their initial questions are “what is the process?”, “how long does...