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Do Some House Cleaning Before You Sell

One phenomenon we see all too often is an entrepreneur putting his or her company on the market too soon--before cleaning house. If you run a web business, you are probably on top of every aspect of your operation. Everything makes sense to you. But you may not have all the pertinent information properly documented and ready for scrutiny. Maybe the accounting system is not up to date, or incorporation records are disorganized, sales figures need to be reconciled, or incorporation agreements are unsigned and scattered about.

As you can well imagine, all those details count for everything to a buyer who must have confidence in your operation. Without that confidence, the transaction may never be concluded. So tidy up before showing up in the market. Make sure your company puts its best foot forward.

In the business world, it may be difficult to believe that many buyers seem lovesick when it comes to the objects of their affections. But it is true: buyers often are not simply attracted to the company they seek to acquire, they fall madly in love with it. They feel as though they must have it! So while it may seem unnecessary to remind buyers not to let their emotions cloud their judgment, we are reminding you anyway.

Why else would Time Warner pay more than $100 billion for AOL in perhaps the best case of emotional sentiment vanquishing calm reason? Eventually, Time Warner was forced to take a $54 billion write-down on its AOL acquisition. The same story, on a smaller scale, is repeated with dismaying frequency. If you are a buyer, do not fall in love with a potential acquisition. That love comes at a very high price. Be prudent, stick to your predetermined valuation range, and avoid the intense buyer’s remorse that predictably follows a hasty and obstinate emotional decision.

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