Honesty, timing and commitment are what will make your agency attractive to a buyer, according to the speakers at The Future Factory's quarterly breakfast this month

By Mairi Clark | Staff

The Future Factory

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The Drum Network article

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February 29, 2016 | 4 min read

Following its November event, in which Anita Jasser shared the 5 key tips to success on LinkedIn, The Future Factory held the next of its breakfast sessions in Shoreditch around preparing an agency for sale.

Felix Velarde is a digital transformation expert

Although the speakers, Bryan Wilsher, a business advisor at Buss Murton Law LLP, and Felix Velarde, an agency veteran and now a digital transformation expert; come from opposite ends of the operation - one a preparer of agencies for sale and one a buyer of agencies that are appealing for investment, covered topics including how to find a buyer, how to get your business ready for sale and what to expect from the process.

Following the session, Wilsher's three tips for preparing your agency for sale were:

  • Be Committed - Be sure you want to aim for a sale as it will bring changes/challenges which need to be embraced and welcomed.
  • Consult - Seek, take on board advice and plan ahead. Typically you need a 3 year plan and review progress quarterly.
  • Be trustworthy - Be rigorous and honest in your self-assessment of your agency so that you meet your challenges head on.

Comparatively, with Velarde's perspective on the process, his three tips on making an agency attractive for purchase and, crucially, at the right price were:

  • Be unique and be yourself - Acquirers look for companies who know what they stand for, and that can fill a niche in the buyer’s ecosystem. Stand up for who you are and don’t be afraid to specialise!
  • Succession plan - Ensure there's an established second line. These are the people who will inherit the running of the company post-sale, is critical for buyers’ confidence so develop your team early, give them real say and responsibility.
  • Timing - is everything! With a three-year earn-out and potential for the market to top out in 2020, that means get ready for sale now, you’ve got a couple of years to make hay before the sale then a couple more years to extract the maximum value from it!

In Wilsher's own words, "growing your agency consistently and with real drive should be fun as much as it is a challenge."

He also added; "Getting your business ready for sale may be a focus, but even if not, developing it into a ‘best in class’ attractive agency is a worthy goal in its own right. So, much of the guidance holds good whatever your ambitions and it is well worth investing your time and some money into planning your agency’s growth and future."

The Future Factory is running its next breakfast session in May and details will be announced soon.

Content by The Drum Network member:

The Future Factory

With a mix of lead generation, board level consultancy and coaching, we help to make the future more predictable for agency Owners, Founder and Directors. www.thefuturefactory.co.uk

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