Get ready to sell your business

Meetings with potential buyers for your business


Once you have identified potential buyers for your business, the next step is to gauge their interest by holding initial meetings with them. The approach you take towards negotiating with potential buyers is crucial.

The aim is to build a relationship with possible buyers and discuss some of the key issues your business faces.

If you haven't done so already, you should ask your legal adviser to draw up a non-disclosure agreement for prospective buyers to sign. This ensures details of your business remain confidential. See non-disclosure agreements.

After this it may be appropriate to allow serious buyers to look round your premises. This could help to accelerate the sales process - though you may prefer to wait until you have received indicative offers before you do this as confidentiality is vital and you may want to avoid giving away too much information at this stage.

Financial information

To allow potential buyers to make an indicative offer for your business you'll need to provide them with accurate financial information, including final or audited accounts where relevant and forecasts for the year ahead.

Clearly, releasing commercially sensitive financial data - possibly even to a competitor - is a worry. Ask your advisers how best to go about this in order to maintain a level of confidentiality.

It might also be worth providing potential buyers with a valuation of your business drawn up with your advisers. This will give them an idea of what you're expecting. See value and market your business for sale.

Invite written indicative offers

After your initial meetings, you should whittle down the field by inviting buyers to make written indicative offers which include:

  • the price they're prepared to pay
  • how they plan to structure the deal
  • proposed timetable for completion of the deal