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Selling Your Business - The process explained

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

Selling your business can be a daunting prospect, but with the right support and people in place it needn’t be a trial. Firebird Director and Co-Founder, Stewart Lambert, explains more.

At Firebird we break the selling process down in to five key stages:

1. Preparation

2. Purchaser identification

3. Marketing

4. Negotiation

5. Completion

Thorough preparation is a crucial starting point, in which the groundwork is laid to pave the way for the most efficient sale. At this stage, we gather all the information about your business and how it operates, including full details of finances, for due diligence. We then create a “data room” that prospective purchasers can explore later in the process, to obtain the most representative picture of your company: how it has grown, where it is now, and where it is heading next. It is always better to have done all the preparation before you start talking to prospective purchasers, and to know where the problem areas might be.

"It is always better to have done all the preparation before you start talking to prospective purchasers"

During this part of the process, experienced advisers can provide their invaluable insights, suggesting any improvements to financial models, exploring and anticipating likely obstacles to sale, and successfully navigating around common pitfalls. The devil is in the detail.

When it comes to identifying purchasers, advisers on selling and acquisitions may take one of two approaches: either writing an information memorandum (IM) about the business and sending it to everyone they know – a common, yet ineffective way to generate interest – or, instead, using a more selective, personal, carefully researched strategy where you only approach those who might pay a strategic premium.

At Firebird, we know everyone you need to know in the travel and leisure industry: who the buyers are, what they’re looking for, and how best to create competitive tension throughout the process. This tailor-made method brings top purchasers to the table, allows confidentiality around your business’s sale to be maintained, and protects your company’s value throughout.

Once interest from the top parties has been established, vendor-buyer relationships will be strengthened through management presentations. This is the time to bring the business opportunity to life, and for sellers to decide if the buyers they are meeting are the right fit to take on their company.

With all the correct foundations in place, and involved parties ready to take the next step, the bidding can begin – with good advisers creating competitive tension in the process, and using this to increase the valuation. Once a deal is agreed the heads of terms can be negotiated and drawn up, along with agreements on the vendor’s continuing involvement – if any – post-sale.

"Good advisers create competitive tension in the bidding process, and use this to increase the valuation"adv

Completion, the final stage of the sale, is a time for concluding actions, including due diligence on matters of finance, legalities, ongoing employment issues, and other matters.

If you’re thinking of selling your business in travel and leisure, the Firebird team is on hand. Learn about our ethos and expertise, and get in touch, at

Stewart Lambert is co-founder of the Firebird Partnership, with nearly 25 years’ experience in corporate finance, advising owner managers on selling their businesses, raising finance and making acquisitions.

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