Selling a business in Spain
Find out how to sell your business in Spain in this article
It’s the dream destination for plenty of British expats. And has been for decades. From the sun-drenched Costas to the vibrant cities and, let’s not forget, the beautiful Balearics, there’s something to appeal to everyone. Lots of Spanish businesses have been started by Brits too – from the thousands of licensed bars, pubs and restaurants through to guest houses, hair salons and all manner of retail outlets. But what happens when it’s time to move on? How do you go about selling your business in Spain?
In many ways, the process of selling a business in Spain is the same as it is in the UK. There are several steps you will need to take, the bulk of which are around making sure your ‘house is in order’ to present the business in its best light. Think how you would feel if you were in the market for a new business. What would you look for, what would excite you and what would make you want to part with your hard-earned savings to buy it? And, just as importantly, what would put you off and give you reason to walk away? If you want to sell your business in Spain for the best price, make it irresistible to a potential buyer.
All of this might sound obvious. But you’d be surprised how many businesses for sale in Spain aren’t presented in the best light. The equipment is out of date, the shop frontage should have been updated decades ago, and the photos used to market the business could have been taken by a child. It’s an overused idiom, but a picture really does paint a thousand words. So when selling a business in Spain, make the most of the light and colours at your disposal. It’s far easier to take a good photo in the Spanish sun than it is back in cold and dreary Britain!
Think about why people want to work abroad. What appeals most about buying a business in the Spain? Let’s be honest, it’s more for the lifestyle than for the lifetime earnings. So if you’re pitching your business to those dreaming of a new life in the sun, show them what they can enjoy when they’re not at work. Paint a picture that highlights the sun, sea and Sangria – not the stock on display or the seventies signage!
Sticking with the signage and displays for a minute; how tidy and presentable are they? What about the equipment? Is it new, well-maintained or about to break down at any minute? Does your business have a website, and what does that look like? Your website is a window into your business, and the first impression a customer – and a potential buyer – will have. Selling a business in Spain is no different from selling one anywhere else. A buyer might pay market value, but only if they’re getting value for their money. If your equipment needs updating, your website is first-generation, and your business looks a little tired then, put simply, you won’t get top dollar for it.
A key factor in getting your house in order, and ready to sell your Spanish business, is to sort out your paperwork. Put together and refer to a checklist for selling your business. You’ll need at least three year’s accounts, a full inventory of any stock, a list of assets, details of any leases – both for equipment and premises, as well contracts of employment for any staff. All your bills and tax returns must up-to-date and paid too. Even if a buyer is driven by lifestyle choices, they still need to see the return on their investment. The greater the returns, the more a buyer will be willing to pay. And while the over 60s might have their pensions to supplement their retirement in the Costas, there a plenty more who’ll need to work to finance a new life in the sun.
The final word, then, is on a subject we simply can’t avoid at this time. The dreaded ‘B’ word! And yes, like most of us, you’re probably sick to death of hearing about Brexit. Don’t let it put you off though. Something will happen. Decisions will be made. The world will keep on turning. And businesses in Spain will still be sold.
Should you be worried about buying or selling a business in Spain then? Are you selling because of fears about a post-Brexit Europe? Is this the right time to sell, or, because of personal circumstances, do you have no choice but to sell your Spanish business now?
Those of us who’ve observed the fluctuating economic climate of the last few years will know that there will always be booms and busts. But you’ll also know that, over time, investments typically increase in value. Especially in the developed world. Sell your business in Spain now and you might get a better price for it than in six months’ time. Or you might not. Nobody has the gift of seeing into the future. The key, then, is not to look back. If you want, or need, to sell your business in Spain now, then do it. And simply bank what you’ve got and move on.