Gerry Surtees Chartered Tax Adviser

Selling a business is a complex undertaking, and often people underestimate the length of time it takes.

In this article, Gerry Surtees discusses selling a business and how to approach it in the best way. If you’re thinking seriously about a future business sale - how much time do you need ahead of selling a business to get it optimised and sale-ready?

6 weeks? 6 months? 6 years?

If you’re thinking towards the last of these options, you’re along the right lines…

The reality is that it’s what happens in the years leading up to a business sale, not so much the transaction itself, that will to a large extent determine the outcome.

Why is that? There are many reasons but we’ve picked the top three:

The changes you need to make to get an optimal business sale outcome will not happen overnight – they take time to implement. A thorough review should be undertaken so that you can see where you are in this moment, and then a proper plan should be created to ensure a smooth transition. 

You need to be able to show any buyer a solid history of strong performance and growth, to get the best sale price (and if your core business has taken a knock recently, you are perfectly positioned to shape this particular curve as your business bounces back...).

To get the best tax outcome, you need to have a sale-ready structure in place at least two years ahead of sale – preferably longer – and the difference between a good sale structure and a bad or ‘default’ one can be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Of course, if you decide not to sell, you have a better, stronger, more well-run and more profitable business for the current owners.

The bottom line is, if you want to be in a position to sell at any time in the future (and who doesn’t?) the right time to start preparing your business for sale is now.

For more information on how we can help you and your business, please contact us at or call 02476673160.

Please note: This article is provided for information only and was correct as at time of writing (18/05/22). Any lists and details provided above are not exhaustive and are not intended to be full and complete guidance.  No action should be taken without consulting detailed legislation or seeking independent professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this article can be accepted. Updated  (29/06/23)