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Decisions that could affect your eventual exit
Decisions and Implications

It is easy to forget that the decisions you make today will not only affect how successfully your business gets of the ground, but can also seriously impact on your eventual exit from the business.

Key considerations

  • Business form - the legal structure you choose can restrict your exit options and affect how potential buyers view the business. For example, a sole trader can simply close the business and pay off any outstanding liabilities but a limited company with a separate legal identity will probably be more attractive to potential buyers.

  • Articles of Association - these set out the rules for running the company affairs. If they are too restrictive they could limit what the business can and can't do. This could put off potential buyers or investors who are looking to diversify.

  • Partnership agreements - these may specify what will happen if one of the partners wants to exit the business eg due to ill health or retirement.

  • Property agreements - these can be notoriously difficult to get out of if you needed to without suitable break clauses or the right to assign your agreement to another party.

  • Shareholders - the involvement of shareholders with voting or preferential rights can make it more complicated for an outside investor or buyer to take over the business.

  • Capital and ownership structure - straightforward structures can help make your business more attractive and can minimise potential barriers to sale.

  • Accounting procedures - good accounts will give potential buyers and investors more confidence in your business and make completing the sales process easier. 

  • Employee/customer/supplier contracts - clear, simple contracts for all business relationships can help avoid disputes, clarify responsibilities and make it easy for potential buyers to see what they would be taking on.

Before committing to any important decision it is vital to seek advice from a suitably qualified expert.