City Comment: Forward planning is the key to successfully selling a recruitment business
Mon, 28 May 2012 | By Carl Swansbury, director of corporate finance, Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance
Selling a business is the most important transaction a recruitment business founder will ever complete. When planning for a change of ownership the key is to first get your business in the best shape possible.
But how do you maximise your return? I advise that planning should begin years before the preferred date of sale to make sure the business is flawlessly structured. It is very important that the staffing business has a strong second tier management team with experienced, knowledgeable and competent employees who can take it forward.
Strong companies with a good, secure order book and history of good cash management, preferably with freeholds and intellectual property, will attract good multiples and interest from prospective purchasers.
Make sure your business is well regarded within the recruitment sector. What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? Why would a purchaser be interested in acquiring your business? You need a compelling story that focuses on company strengths.
When advising your shareholders of future plans, try to identify obvious purchasers in the staffing sector two years before the business comes to market. Look into their acquisitions and study their businesses. Your business can be shaped in alignment with a preferred purchaser if you plan far enough in advance.
Competitors also need to know of your business’s strengths. Effective PR and marketing build branding and goodwill in target sectors, both recognised assets at a sale. Buyers make their decision based not only on current performance, but also on its potential. The devil is in the detail, so the earlier your recruitment business has a plan for sale in place, the better.
Carl Swansbury, director of corporate finance, Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance