Gareth Magee: Top tips for preparing to exit

Preparation is key for a successful exit. Gareth Magee is a partner at one of Scotland's leading business advisers and accountants, Scott-Moncrieff, and he has these points to help you on your way.

Start working yourself out of a job

So many early stage entrepreneurs take on the lion’s share of the jobs required to run their business, out of necessity.  When they are starting out, they feel they need to work themselves into everything the business does.  But in preparing for exit, start working yourself out of jobs. Think of procedures you can write and put in place for new business owners to make it as easy as possible for them to walk straight in and get started.

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Start building up a good track record

That means ensuring your bookkeeping is in order, your year-end accounts have clean reports, taxes are all in order and everything is fully compliant. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through an online accounting package such as Xero. For your buyers’ peace of mind, consider having some health checks in areas such as corporation tax, VAT, employer tax and share schemes.

Start focusing on cash generation

So much of the early stage journey is consumed with where external cash will come from. But it’s important to think early about cash generation within the business – nothing will make your company more desirable than cash in the bank.

Start thinking about your potential acquirers

You should do this as early as possible – preferably at the very start. Who might buy your company? Form relationships with these likely buyers – they may be customers, suppliers, consultants or partners – it’s thinking like this that gets you noticed. It may seem a little way off but now is always the right time to plan for a successful exit.