Whether you're interested in the smaller business community, are planning to start a business or have an existing business, we have a package for you.
Our most popular package is FSB Business Essentials which includes a whole range of benefits and products designed to make your business fly
A suite of legal benefits including a dedicated helpline, bundled insurance products and a range of online information to keep your business safe. Plus a whole range of negotiated benefits to help save you money and win business.
Our Business Creation package is designed to make starting a business simpler, allowing you time to focus on what's important - making it a success.
Specialist company formation benefits, access to FSB networking, business banking and a range of products to help get you setup in business.
Joining FSB Connect is free and is a great way to be part of the FSB Community and have your voice heard.
You'll be able to access specialist networking events with like-minded members of the community and have your say in our Big Voice survey panel.
Whatever your circumstances, we have a package to suit you and your business. Click the button below to see which benefits are included in each package and start your FSB journey.
'Within a few weeks of joining we'd taken advantage of FSB’s Online Legal Documents. We started a graduate programme and access to these documents gave us an understanding of the legal side, and has helped us to create a number of processes and procedures.'
'When we first took on a member of staff, we used the online legal document template library. FSB does more important stuff than you think it does, there are lots of member benefits, probably more than we actually use.'
'Having somebody like FSB behind you is fantastic. There is a whole team behind the organisations, whatever is required: support, advice, finance, you know that you’re not alone, you’ve got FSB.'
We represent a diverse range of businesses from retailers to marketing agencies and just about everything in between. Take a look at more member stories and see how we could help your business fly.
More Member Stories
We offer three packages to suit your business needs. Joining FSB Connect is free, our Business Essentials package starts at £172.50 in the first year and our specialist Business Creation package has a fixed price of £129.
“Preparing your business for sale is one of the most important things you will ever do – the more effort you put into this, the higher the value your company will achieve.”
So says Philip de Lisle, a serial entrepreneur and MD of executive coaching company Enhancing Clarity.
The sales process can vary wildly in length – six months if you’re lucky, potentially 12 or longer depending on how things unfold.
But before you put your business on the market you should make it as attractive as possible to prospective buyers. From tidying up books and records to simply giving the premises a lick of paint, even minor details could make the difference when it comes to finding buyers.
Your exit strategy could be years in the making or you may suddenly decide that it’s time for a change.
If the decision is recent then it’s important not to rush things and take the steps necessary to make the business an appealing asset. It could take several months to reach the point where you feel ready to put it on the market.
Read more about the right time to sell a business.
Follow these steps to give yourself the best chance of finding a suitable buyer and selling at a satisfactory price.
Appoint a reputable business broker/business transfer agent (BTA) or accountant with the requisite skills to value your business. You will probably lack the necessary experience and certainly lack the objectivity to do it yourself.
But you can put in some groundwork by checking the prices of similar businesses for sale – in terms of sector, location, size, revenues – on specialised classifieds sites like BusinessesForSale.com.
Books and records and documentation
More than any other factor, interested parties will want to know – in the clearest terms possible – how much income your business is generating and the trajectory of revenues and costs over the past 3-5 years.
Your number one priority, therefore, should be getting your books and records up to date, tidy and accessible.
This applies to other relevant documentation too. Where possible, also tie up clients whose contracts are nearing expiration to renewed terms.
Premises and equipment
First impressions count. A spring clean of your premises won’t affect your business valuation but an unclean, untidy property can certainly repel buyers.
You might even repaint walls, replace carpets or replace ageing equipment. Anything, even a few plants, that makes the place more welcoming could make a subtle, but meaningful difference.
Top tips from a BTA: Sean Mallon, founder, Intelligent Business Transfer
1. When you’re getting ready to sell your business, it’s all too easy to start winding down and take your foot off the pedal. If you want to make your business as attractive as possible to potential buyers – and get the best deal you can – you need to work harder than ever in the months leading up to the sale.
2. Get your paperwork straight so it’s easy for buyers to see how buoyant your business is, while making sure day-to-day operations are running smoothly and efficiently to demonstrate just how quickly a new owner could take the reins.
3. Take time to compile accurate financial information to show buyers how your business has been performing. Prospective purchasers will want to see that all your paperwork is in order.
Apart from satisfying them that your tax records, leases, contracts and articles of incorporation are ship-shape, it also reflects well on the efficiency of your business operations.
“All buyers will undertake some form of due diligence,” says de Lisle.
“Depending on your sector, this might just be a financial questionnaire or a full-blown ‘walk the floors’ exercise, so it’s vital to be as prepared as you can be.
“And this includes being ready for negotiation meetings. This is a big investment of time but it will be worth it.”
Anticipate any questions the buyer might ask by reviewing financial statements in advance of a visit.
It’s also wise to prime your employees for visits from VIPs (you may not want to disclose their true reason for visiting, however). The last thing buyers want to see is a shabbily-dressed, unmotivated-looking workforce.
With the help of your advisors, review all legal documentation – such as leases, contracts and articles of incorporation – and make sure it is relevant, up to date and easy to access. Don’t make buyers wade through piles of expired and irrelevant documents.
De Lisle, who has experience of selling businesses, says: “I always thought about ‘lifting the drains’. In every company there will be ‘nasties’: those things that you did because time or cash were tight so you needed to take a shortcut. These are the issues to correct now, or at least have a credible explanation of why things are as they are.”
2. Document your vital processes. A buyer will love you for it.
3. Know your numbers. Nothing is guaranteed to put off a potential buyer more than an owner who is not on top of the financials.
You also need to gradually disentangle yourself from the business. This means delegating your duties to relevant staff and gradually reducing your daily involvement.
How would your business cope if you suddenly went travelling for six months? The answer to this will reveal how protracted this process will be.
Read more about how taking time off from your business can help you understand how sellable your business is.
To reassure the buyer and minimise disruption during the transition, you may agree to advise the owner in a consultative capacity for a period after the sale has completed.
Get your administrative affairs in order well in advance of the sale to make your exit from the business as painless as possible.
Says de Lisle: “If you can document all vital processes, you are making the next owner’s job much easier as they don’t have to start from ground zero – which will prepare them to pay more!”
FSB Financial Healthcheck has been providing unbiased, independent sound advice on personal and corporate finance for over 20 years.
National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses LimitedSir Frank Whittle Way / Blackpool / FY4 2FE. National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses Limited (FSB) is registered in England, number 1263540