Expert Advice from a Buyer – Why You Should Prepare Your Business for Sale

About the Episode

Don’t be scared to put your business on the market – just be prepared. This is the top piece of advice from strategic buyer Scott Hile. He shares his advice learned from doing almost 100 transactions on the buy-side. Scott has seen what can go wrong with a deal and the common mistakes sellers make. He discusses the importance of being prepared, how this can help with running a business even before going to market, the impact on the value and time it takes to sell, and how being prepared builds trust with a buyer.

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“As a seller, before you go to market, you need to decide what matters to you. Is it the continuity of your business, your employees, and the legacy, or is it cashing out?”

Scott Hile

In this Episode

2:43 What is the biggest issue sellers have when they are selling their business?
4:43 How hard is it to sell a business?
6:43 Why is it so important to prepare a business before putting it on the market?
16:07 What percentage of sellers are not adequately prepared to sell their business?
17:33 What are some of the issues that are potential deal killers?
20:08 Is it a good use of resources to get a Q of E analysis done before going to market?
22:10 How long does it take to prepare a business for sale?
25:33 Do small businesses need to prepare for being sold?
28:00 What is the ROI of preparing a business for sale?
31:37 Why should the buyer and seller not rush through the transaction process?
37:10 Why is it important for the seller to understand what is driving them to sell their business?
38:45 Is it necessary for the seller to prepare emotionally for the sales process?
43:34 What is information asymmetry between what the seller and the buyer each know?
48:12 How does the purchase price relate to risk, and how is this related to preparing for the sale?
56:34 Why do business sellers usually spend less time preparing for their most important transaction of selling their business than they spend planning a vacation?
59:01 What are the advantages of running and selling a business that has been prepared for sale?
1:02:41 Who should a seller have on their team to help prepare for the sales process?
1:05:37 What is the final piece of advice to sellers?

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • Q of E: quality of earnings report or analysis
  • ROI: return on investment
  • Information Asymmetry: when one party in a transaction has more or better information than the other party 

Meet Our Guest

Scott Hile

Scott Hile

VP of Corporate Development at Enviva Inc.

Scott Hile is the VP of Corporate Development at Enviva Inc., the world’s largest producer of sustainable wood pellets as a renewable, low-carbon alternative to fossil carbon. Prior to joining Enviva, Scott founded and managed an M&A management consulting firm and taught as an adjunct professor at Clemson University’s MBA program, with courses in global business transactions and entrepreneurial law. He spent almost a decade at Milliken & Company, a diversified global manufacturer, on both the in-house legal team and as VP of Corporate Development after previously serving as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at American & Efird. 

Scott holds a JD and Masters in International Business from the University of South Carolina and a BA in Economics from Davidson College.

Location Location: Bethesda, Maryland

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