At Work

Selling Your Business? 4 Systems to Have in Place Now

Selling your business is a big move that demands careful planning. You need to calculate your desired sale price, obviously, which can be a challenge. To sell your business for as much as you possibly can, you need to be able to show potential buyers you have efficient systems that make the business profitable.

If you haven’t optimized your systems yet, here are the top four you’ll want to clean up immediately that can help positively impact your sale price.

1. Your marketing system

You can sell your operation if your marketing efforts have clearly been successful. But if your marketing setup is such a mess that a prospective owner would have to spend a lot of time fixing it just to gain proper access to your contacts, that could easily be a deal breaker.

I remember working for a company that was using top-of-the-line software for its email marketing and CRM needs, but nobody really knew how to use it. As a result, hundreds of thousands of contacts were either incorrectly segmented, segmented multiple times with the same tag created by different people, or unsegmented entirely.

Due to improper segmenting, enough recipients reported our emails as spam that our software provider shut us down to investigate. When a new marketing guy was hired, he spent four months, day and night, fixing it. But until he came along, nobody knew anything was wrong.

You need to talk to your marketing team and any other people who use your marketing software to find out if there may be areas of disorganization that need to be fixed. If you identify any, don’t hesitate to hire an expert marketing consultant to come in and clean it up.

You can also learn about good marketing by reading Your Marketing Sucks by Mark Stevens.

2. Your help desk ticketing system

If you’re still relying on a team of people to retrieve IT support request emails and route them manually to the proper IT channels, you’re using an outdated — not to mention slow — method. Equipping your help desk team with a proper IT ticketing system like WebHelpDesk can increase their efficiency as well as raise customer satisfaction.

The last thing anyone wants to buy is a business that has created a mass of angry customers by not responding promptly to their help requests. If you get a proper ticketing system in place, you’ll have something tangible to show potential buyers to prove you’re taking care of your customers and they’re inheriting a viable customer base.

3. Your employee onboarding and training process

I once took a job where the onboarding process consisted of a tour around the kitchen and introductions to the rest of the staff. I was given a poorly written employee manual that looked like it was downloaded from the web, and I was expected to know what to do based on my title; I had nobody to report to.

If you really want to impress potential buyers, clean up your onboarding and training process as much as you can. If you don’t have one, create one. Ask a select group of employees to help you improve your training system.

4. Your payroll and accounting systems

If you’ve been disorganized about tracking your finances, that could be the biggest deal breaker for some potential buyers. Software like Quickbooks is designed to help you track finances accurately so you don’t end up with a surprise bill from the IRS.

In some US states, such as California, a new business owner is required to set aside funds to cover unpaid sales, and use taxes by the former business if no tax clearance certificate is issued. If your potential buyer knows it might be liable for your unpaid taxes, any sign of disorganization would be an excellent excuse to pass on the deal.

If you haven’t already started tracking your finances electronically, it’s not too late. Although Quickbooks is number one, there are others that will get the job done.

The more organized your business can show itself to be prior to sale, the more value potential buyers will assign to it. It takes time to sell a business, so the sooner you start cleaning up your systems, the easier it will be to unload it when you’re ready.