Most of us go into sports facility ownership with little idea how we’ll get out of it someday.
That’s because having our own sports academy or sports complex is often our dream job, something we’ve worked toward for years. It takes so much energy to get our doors open and keep them that way that the exit strategy becomes an afterthought.
For most of us, though, the best possible way we can eventually part with our business is to sell it, and being ready for that long beforehand makes us much more likely to succeed.
There are several things you can do to get sale-ready that can increase your chances of a great price down the road, but can also improve your day-to-day operations now.
Get Sale-Ready: Know Your Numbers
As we discussed in last week’s post (How Much is Your Sports Facility Worth?), your sports academy’s sale value is directly correlated with its annual revenue. Basically, the more your business consistently makes, the more you can sell it for.
However, it’s not quite that simple — not only do you have to make the money, you have to document that you made it and be able to produce that documentation quickly for potential sellers.
As you may expect, buyers are very thorough when they’re investigating a potential purchase. They won’t take your word for any figures.
If you use a scheduling and payment software like eSoft Planner, these numbers will be easy to produce. If you’re doing things less formally and the records aren’t up-to-date or easy to access, your business is going to be much less attractive to potential buyers.
Get Sale-Ready: Prepare Your Documents
Developing a healthy habit of keeping your financial records in order and reviewed by an accountant is another key to making your business attractive to buyers.
This New York Times article has a helpful list of documents that a small business buyer will likely ask for:
- Last three years’ profit-and-loss statements
- Last three years’ balance sheets
- Year-to-date profit-and-loss statement
- Current balance sheet
- Last three years’ full tax returns
- List of furniture, fixtures and equipment
- List of inventories
- Commercial property appraisal or lease agreement
However, those documents are only the beginning. When you sell your business’ assets, you’ll also likely be selling your sports programs, and access to your internal procedures and protocols. These aren’t worth much if they haven’t been clearly documented.
When it was time for me to sell my sports facility, it was relatively easy for me to gather documentation for many of my programs (camps, clinics, parties), my legal waivers, employee agreements, client agreements, and insurance policies.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t been as diligent about keeping organized step-by-step instructions for our internal procedures. I spent many stressful weeks gathering that documentation and other missing program descriptions and related marketing materials. I realized once I had it all ready that if I had done it beforehand, it would have made it much easier to onboard new staff and operate during existing staff absences.
Get Sale-Ready: View Your Facility Through the Eyes of a Buyer
Sometimes we can get a little too comfortable in our sports facilities. They start to feel like a second home, and just like we’ll tolerate a lot more mess in our own homes when we aren’t expecting guests, the level of comfort with our existing clients lets us get a little messy or let certain things slide — like a squeaky piece of equipment or flaking paint.
The next time you walk into your sports academy, try to look at it through the eyes of someone who is considering buying it. You’ll see a lot of room for improvement and feel some urgency to make those changes.
Getting your facility in the best possible shape makes it more attractive to possible buyers, but it also has positive effects for your current members and can even boost morale for your staff — just as staying organized, staying on top of your numbers and documents do.
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