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New video on Business Valuations

FREE Business Coaching Seminar – Friday, 12 July 2013


FREE Business Coaching Seminar

Stirling are sponsoring a  FREE Business Coaching Seminar on Friday, 12 July (10.00am – 1.00pm) at the The Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Hereford, HR2 7BP.  The seminar is being given by Arrivista Business Coaching, the premier coaching firm in the West Midlands.

The seminar will be packed with proven business growth strategies that you can take away and implement immediately. So whether your challenge is time – you are spending too much time working in your business or money – you are not getting a return on your marketing spend or sales are hard to come by or your team are not delivering the goods then this seminar is for you.

Please see below for more details on the seminar which is guaranteed to be a great event and there will be an opportunity to network with like-minded business owners before and after the seminar.  We can guarantee that there will be no selling involved. We have partnered with a number of other local businesses to lay on this event as a thank you to the people we network with.

Please telephone and ask for Roger Smith on 0121-314 5575 if you are able to make the seminar, or email 

‘Thrive, don’t just survive – Practical advice to grow your business’

During the seminar we will give you the chance to step out of your business and get focused. You will walk away with concrete ideas on how to increase your Business Profits, make your Team more effective and get a grip on your Time Management. You will leave this practical seminar with a clearer direction and new tools to achieve your goals faster.

Get More Done, in Less Time …

At Arrivista we call this “Leverage”– or Achieving Ever More with Ever Less. We will show you strategies and proven techniques to enable you to spend more time working ON your Business rather than working IN your business – a vital skill for business owners that want to grow.

6 Steps to Massive Results …

We will look at the simplest, fastest and easiest ways to:

  •  Increase your sales and profits
  •  Free up your time
  •  Create a high performance team

6 Keys to a Winning Team …

We will be showing you the 6 Keys to a Winning Team. Demonstrating how we have helped clients to improve the Productivity and Commitment of Team Members, as well as showing you how you can Attract, Retain and Motivate to get the very best team in your business – cost effectively.

Bullet-Proof Profit Strategies …

You will get the chance to hear it straight from the trenches – real local business owners sharing their top money making tactics since attending this seminar. Listen hard. Take notes. Then adopt and adapt to get them working for you.

Case Studies: Arrivista Clients Tell All …

Success leaves clues. Hear how our clients are building remarkable businesses. We will show you exactly what they did and how they have grown.

So what’s in it for Me..?

You’ll walk away with …

  • · Energy, vision and focus for the next level in your business.
  • · Strategies to build your profits right away.
  • · The skills and the tools to get more done in less time.
  • · Access to the West Midland’s #1 Business Coaching Team.
  • · A chance to network with like-minded business owners and build your database of contacts.


WHERE: The Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, hereford HR2 7BP


WHEN: Friday 12th July (10.00am – 1.00pm)


Your presenter Simon Williams is a multi international award winning business coach with over six years worth of coaching and training experience. During this time he has worked with over 500 businesses across the West Midlands.


To see Simon explain a little bit about how he helps clients then please click here

Don’t take our word for it – this is what somepast attendees have said…

“Brilliant workshop session – very useful and informative”

Suzannah Strickland – Thursfields

“A truly valuable and mind blowing event! Feel empowered to further develop my business in new ways”

Julia Williams – Premier Places

“Well organised, non pressure event with like-minded individuals”

Nick Pinfield – Pinfields Ltd

“Very interesting, informal but informative. Thanks”
Andy Falconer – RM Future Development Limited

“Excellent content, very well presented”
Thank you.
Nicholas Lee – Eureka Financial Solutions

There are limited places, and demand as always will be high, so confirm your place soon to avoid disappointment.


Please telephone and ask for Roger Smith on 0121-314 5575 if you are able to make the seminar or email: 

How safe is your exit strategy?

Developing a Safe Exit Strategy? 

The thought of exiting a business may sound quite appealing but unless some careful thought and consideration is given as a business owner, you may end up walking away with less than you might expect.  No one would try and complete a journey without some form of planning in order to reach a destination and the same applies here.  Basically, when the times comes to sell a business,  no one wants the deal to fall through at the last minute because of revised offers or because the buyer has been disappointed to find out that everything is not as it seems from their due diligence work. 

Planning for a Sale?

Ideally, the exit strategy needs to form part of your overall plan for the business so that key areas can be identified and dealt with.  So exactly what are the key areas?  To some extent, it depends on the type business as the due diligence used by the buyer will vary. For example, a manufacturing business will have a critical supply chain and facilities with specialised production techniques and processes, whilst in service based businesses, customer relationships are more likely to be key.  With any acquisition strategy, the key issue is to consider exactly what information the buyer needs, in order to be comfortable with the targeted business and the offer being made. Currently, there is an increasing trend towards “commercial due diligence”, alongside financial, tax and all the legal enquiries. 

How much is the business worth?

Once the areas likely to be covered by due diligence are understood and addressed there’s a lot more to take into account such as the actual value of the business.  Many business owners rely on a business broker to provide the valuation without realising that they have a vested interest in inflating the values in order to try and win up-front fees.  This just leads to disappointment when offers finally come in, so this could be a trap well worth avoiding.  An independent valuation is the way forward which will allow you to realistically assess whether or not it is time to sell in the first place and to judge whether or not the offers are realistic or not and perhaps more importantly, will allow you to substantiate the asking price. 

What type of sale of sale should be considered?

Once the business value is understood and the asking price determined, what about the type of sale required?  There’s several ways to exit a business and some thought needs to be given to these too.  For instance, a Management Buy Out (MBO) may sound quite appealing with a buyer already in place.  But what about potential offers from buyers who are prepared to pay a premium for a strategic acquisition?  The starting point here, is a clear understanding as to whether or not the management team will have the appetite, ambition and leadership capability to grow the business, followed by access to finance as otherwise it’s no deal! In this case, other forms of exits such as a Management Buy In (MBI) or Trade Sale might be more appropriate – and it may be that one offer from half a dozen potential buyers could be double that of the others. 

For more information on how to develop a business as part of an exit strategy, please click on the following link:- 

Is your Business Value increasing?

A rising stock market has been having a positive effect on the values of certain types of profitable businesses which are commonly valued using widely recognised Price/Earnings ratios for relevant commercial sector indices.  Recent increases recorded with these ratios so far this year, are as follows:-

+ 15.4%     Industrial All Index
+ 29.39%   General Industrials Index
+ 22.87%   Industrial Engineering Index
+ 11.49%   Support Services Index
+ 39.25%   Software & Computer Services Index
+ 9.99%     Consumer Goods All Index
+ 7.75%     Media Index

Further information on Valuation methods can be found at:-

Shouldyou be intested in an independent business valuation, please click on the following link:-

Request a Business Company Valuation

Top Ten Tips for increasing business values…..

Should you be thinking of selling a business in the medium term, our top ten tips for increasing business values are as follows:-

1) Focus on selling. Nothing happens unless selling is taking place. Concentrate on selling the benefits of your products and services rather than just the features of your products alone. You don’t have to have the best products but an “outstanding service” can lead to an “outstanding performance”. Selling is a numbers game (it is easier to approach twice as many prospects than to suddenly become twice as good a salesperson) so make sure the activity level is going up – not down! Companies get strung along into receivership because they can’t sell or can’t get the money in; buyers can then buy your business for next to nothing.

2) Review your sales plan. There are only 4 ways to grow a business – (i) Growth by acquisition, (ii) Increase number of customers, (iii) Increase transaction values by selling more products & (iv) Increase frequency of sales.

3) Increasing sales/profit record. Aim to demonstrate consistency, preferably with increasing sales/profits, it will help substantiate the asking price and one less reason to talk the price down. Remember that loss making businesses are difficult to sell – if possible, turn the business around first and then sell.

4) Review the marketing plan. Marketing can be best summed up as “identifying and supplying a customer’s needs at a profit”. Treat marketing as an investment rather than a cost and work out how much you would be prepared to invest in order to gain a new customer. Review new markets for existing products or new products for existing markets (be wary of new products for new markets as this is where the greatest risk lies). Try, test and measure at least 10 different marketing methods to gain new enquiries and customers – cut out the ones that don’t work and invest heavily in the ones which do. Gain customer feedback on your products and services.

5) Review the Customer Base. If your business becomes reliant on any one customer, don’t expect the same price for the business where a business does not have to rely on any one customer. Buyers don’t like taking on high risks, so why should you – make sure the risk is spread, with no more than 10% reliance on any one customer. Also, try and cultivate customers who are prepared to agree to “rolling contracts” so that sales become more predictable – businesses with sales contracts in place are more saleable for when the time comes to sell.

6) Review prices and margins. The more profit you generate, the more valuable your business will be. People think customers buy on price but they rarely do – only 10 to 15% of the public buy on price as what customers really want is value for money – the prouder the price, the better the deal! The most successful businesses are customer led; they don’t necessarily have the cheapest products. Put prices up if discounts are required. Pricing is key to profitability – for a 30% Gross Margin business, if you reduce prices by 10% then you will need a 50% increase in sales just to stand still; a 10% increase in price, you would need a 25% drop in sales volume before you start losing out! This principle is often misunderstood, so if not accepted in your business, we can provide a telephone conference meeting and talk it through for free!

7) Value your assets. The greatest asset in any business is People followed by Customers. Make sure you have the right people, sitting in the right seats, preferably before you start driving the bus in the first place! Make sure everyone has a Contract of Employment and Job Description in place (these will come up in due diligence). Look after your key people – losing them at the time of selling a business will probably jeopardise the deal.

8) Review the Management Structure. Businesses are difficult to sell if the Business Owner “is the Business”. The 3 main roles are Make it (Ops), Sell it (Sales), Count it (Finance). Find ways of making sure the business is not reliant on the owner – look at the management team to see where additional responsibility can be taken on or consider employing someone to take on tasks to enable the business to become more “independent” of the owner rather than totally “dependent”. If the senior team is too small, consider taking on a non-executive Director or Consultant to benefit from their outside knowledge & experience and offer them as “continuity” when negotiating the business sale. Make sure Board meetings are held regularly with an Agenda and Minutes/Action Points recorded – don’t miss “future business development”.

9) Make sure your information is up to date. A well run and administered business will increase the perceived value and nothing puts off potential buyers off than lack of up to date information. This includes Statutory Accounts, Management Accounts, Order Book Values, Staff Contracts of Employment, Staff Handbook, HR records, Job Descriptions, Copies of Leases, Asset Lists etc etc.

10) Contact Stirling! Don’t over estimate the current value of your business if you are looking for a quick sale without thinking it through – it will only lead to time wasting, frustration and disappointment. Take professional help and advice in developing and selling a business successfully.

For further information, contact us in confidence on 0121-314 5575

Business Sale or Purchase – Impact of TUPE Regulations

What is TUPE?

The purpose of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) is to protect the rights of employees when a business or undertaking, or part of a business or undertaking, transfers to another undertaking.

TUPE applies when there is a business transfer or a service provision change. A business transfer is where an economic entity, i.e. an organised grouping of resources that has the objective of pursuing an economic activity, transfers to a new owner and remains an identifiable economic entity after the transfer. A service provision change occurs, for example, when a client engages a contractor to carry out some work on its behalf i.e. contracting out, retendering, or bringing work in house from a previous contractor.

TUPE does not apply when the business transfer occurs by:-

  • share takeover
  • transfers of assets only (e.g. sales of equipment alone)
  • supply of goods or services for clients own use (i.e. no business transfer)
  • transfer outside the UK (Check legislation of destination country)
  • some bankruptcy and insolvency situations

Most SME business sales are completed through share takeover or sale of assets.

What is the impact on a share takeover?

When buying a business through a share takeover the TUPE regulations do not apply. However it is important to be aware that, in addition to the employees, you will also be getting the responsibility to honour all existing employment contracts, terms and conditions of employment. You will be taking responsibility for any on-going disputes, tribunal claims and collective agreements relating to the employees.

It is essential to conduct thorough “due diligence” in order to fully understand exactly what and who is transferring. Ask for detailed information on any existing disputes or claims, including public and employer liability claims against the current employer so that these can be reflected in the transfer contract.

If, after the purchase, you want to change employee terms and conditions as the TUPE regulations do not apply this is permitted using accepted methods.  There are three methods of changing terms and conditions

  • with express agreement of the employee through consultation,
  • by dismissal and re-engagement on new terms if employee refuses (risky because of unfair dismissal potential),
  • by implied consent – impose contract anyway and if employees continue to work to the new terms and conditions they are deemed accepted.

Any staff reductions following the purchase will need to follow the formal dismissal process as this will be a redundancy situation. You should follow any policies and procedures that are in place. The first step is to place the affected employees “at risk” of redundancy whilst you consult with them or the staff representatives on ways to avoid the redundancies. Remember that if more than 20 employees are “at risk” you must hold collective consultation meetings with elected staff representatives. A fair process with formal correspondence and meetings must be followed to ensure that risk of Employment Tribunal claims are minimised. If the employees cannot be redeployed or there are no manageable alternatives then, unfortunately the redundancy must be confirmed and individual consultation completed. Any redundancy payments will be based on employees’ age and length of service with the company including the time before your ownership.

What is the impact on a business purchase through transfer of assets alone?

Once again the TUPE regulations do not apply. The main question is what happens to any employees that will not transfer with the assets? In the first instance the affected employees should be placed “at risk” of redundancy. You should then begin consultation with the staff representatives or individuals on ways to avoid the redundancy situation. The consultation should explore all the redeployment options before any conclusion can be made regarding redundancy.


If there is any doubt over whether TUPE is applicable to your situation it is essential to seek legal advice. Changes to employment terms and conditions and dismissals in any situation must be handled correctly in order to avoid any Employment Tribunal claims. An experienced HR advisor can help you to achieve your aims and to minimise the risk of claims.

Alan Berck-May
Director ABM HR Services Ltd

Selling a business – which mistakes are you making?

Selling a business can be a costly and time consuming process, so make sure you don’t make some of these mistakes:-

You’ve had enough and so you’ve suddenly decided to sell?  The decision to sell a business should not be taken lightly as there could be many things to be done to try and make the chance of selling a business a lot easier.  Struggling businesses are difficult to sell and businesses without up to date accounts and paperwork in place are problematical too.  Buyers often string loss making businesses into receivership so always best to turn a business around first and then sell.

You are guessing how much your business is worth?  The business may be worth as much as someone is prepared to pay for it but this does not place you in a strong negotiating position.  Make sure you know how much you business is worth by taking out an independently prepared, professional business valuation.  This will help you to understand whether or not it’s worthwhile trying to sell the business in the first place and enable you to substantiate the asking price.

You’re going to obtain a free of charge valuation from a broker?  Many brokers have a vested interest in providing you with a free valuation in the hope that you will sign up with them.  The value will probably be greatly enhanced so you then feel compelled to pay high up front fees as the business value has probably doubled your expectations and enthusiasm to sell.  Once you have paid the up front fees and nothing much as happened you may begin to realise that the business value was not worth the paper the valuation was written on!

You’re going to pay extortionate up-front fees to a Broker?  Exactly why are you going to pay thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds for a broker to have the privilege  of selling your business?  Because they have told you that they do things differently?  That the value is in the future potential of your business?  Really?  No buyer is going to be stupid enough to pay double the true value of your business unless there’s some real strategic reason.  Some brokers will feed off the business owner’s greed so watch out!

You’re going to sell your business with a Broker on a “no win, no fee” basis?  Sounds a sensible agreement but why?  Check out the Terms and Conditions as they may be lots of small print to understand.  In particular, when you’ve decided that you’ve had enough and want to take the business off the market or use a different Broker, you might end up with some horrific cancellation fees – some Brokers are geared up for litigation, so watch out!

You’re impressed with the Broker who came to visit you?  Nothing quite wrong here but check out who is responsible for selling your business.  Some people are there just to “sign you up” and so you’ll never see them again!  Which is all a bit of a problem when you want to see someone to discuss the progress (or lack of!)  being made with potential buyers. Watch out for slick reports and presentations too – they may impress but could be full of mistakes – if you bother to look closely! 


New Timeline document for Selling a Business

Please click on the following link to view the Timeline for selling a business:-

Relocating & buying a business?

Channel 4 are searching for people who want to relocate and run their own business.  Their team will provide expert advice and will take on the search for you – finding you homes and businesses for sale that fit with your expectations, aspirations and your budget.  For further information, please call 0113-247 1863 or email

New Business Appraisal Service

Stirling has just launched a new Business Appraisal Service for buyers who are considering the purchase of a business.  The purpose of the business appraisal is to provide peace of mind to confirm whether or not an investment will be worthwhile.  A typical appraisal will review the strategic and operational aspects of the business where key opportunities and threats can be identified.  We would then establish how well the business is run and develop a list of actions that a new buyer might want to implement in the light of the findings.  An appraisal can also cover an analysis of the market, together with a competitor intensity analysis.  Growth opportunities through new markets or new products of services can be identified and linked to the future likely investment requirements, based on a review of the business assets and cost of any potential growth opportunities.

Stirling combine all of the findings into a report which would reviewed with you, prior to the report being finalised.

For further information please call 0121-314 5575 or contact us.