Prepare to exit: How to know when to sell your agency business

Preparing your agency exit strategy: to sell or not to sell?

The decision to sell is arguably the biggest agencies will face during their career. A decision the vast majority will only make once in their lives.

Making that decision doesn’t happen overnight and seeing the process through can take years. It’s a long, hard journey in preparing to sell; getting the right advice, choosing the right buyer and ultimately, feeling as though you have made the right decision – to profitable effect – in selling your business.

In association with Oracle Netsuite, The Drum sat down with ‘exit experts’ Jasmin Patel, senior solution consultant at Oracle Netsuite and Paddy Knight, chief operations officer at DWA (a Merkle company) to talk about why agencies need to put as much planning into selling their business, just as much they did when starting it up.

“Most business owners will at some point think about what the exit strategy is, what the end game is for the business,” said Knight. “You can’t just make the decision to sell and then walk right out to potential buyers. There are bad times to sell and good times to sell… but good businesses will always sell.”

To find out more about getting your agency exit strategy to the place it needs to be, watch the video below.


  1. Plan your exit strategy in the same way you planned to launch your business: have a reason to sell, a solid culture and team to take on the journey with you.
  2. Bring out your dead (sort out your balance sheet, get your house in order and prepare for due-diligence)
  3. Think about what you bring to a buyer. Have a growth strategy in place – support the people and systems that are working for the future of the business and not against it.
  4. Utilise tools to help bring more process and efficiency to the business (make sure any tools put into place can react as quickly to change as you may need to)
  5. Get advice (and help) from experts – advisors, auditors, accountants and even books .
  6. Don't lose focus!

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