Planning Considerations in Preparing to Sell a Business

Glenmede works with many clients and their advisors in navigating a variety of situations, including planning for liquidity events. Many business owners who have built thriving businesses through their own hard work and perseverance will arrive at a point where the opportunity arises to sell the enterprise for a profit. The process of sale introduces its own set of challenges and requires specific skills that may differ from those that enabled you to successfully grow your company. What follows here are five considerations to help address your needs and goals in protecting and maintaining your newfound wealth throughout the sale process and afterward.

1. Collaborate.

If you’re working with a firm to identify a buyer, make sure to engage a firm whose culture demonstrates a commitment to working closely with sellers to understand your post-sale goals and assist you in the creation of a long-term plan. Whether it’s a valuation expert, an accountant, an investment banker, a mergers & acquisitions advisor or a wealth management firm, your team should be comprised of relationship-driven individuals who intend to collaborate with you for the long term, not just see the deal through.

2. Get Organized.  

Now’s the time to get a handle on what you have, where it is and what it’s worth. It goes without saying that you want to and should get full value for your sale, so communicate with your valuation expert to ensure that all of the assets of the business, including the intangible ones, are taken into account in establishing parameters for negotiating a price. Work with your Wealth Planner to compile a balance sheet that captures all of your assets at a glance, both professional and personal.

3. Create a Holistic Wealth Plan.  

A holistic wealth plan should incorporate your lifestyle objectives through your next venture to retirement and beyond, and address your philanthropic goals and legacy objectives. Your wealth plan is not merely a demonstration of economic sufficiency or surpassing market benchmarks, but rather, should define success by your ability to achieve your articulated goals. A holistic wealth plan details opportunities resulting from your impending liquidity event. For example: to take advantage of tax efficiencies, to make a meaningful impact or effectuate social change, to inspire further generations and to grow wealth. 

4. Have Hard Conversations (But Let Us Help).  

Your Wealth Advisor should be equipped to assist in educating and orienting your children and grandchildren with respect to prudent stewardship of your wealth. Whether it’s basic budgeting or the purchase of a first home, your Wealth Advisor is uniquely positioned to provide your family with the benefit of perspective and dispassionate input. Your Wealth Advisor should extend that offer to you, and you should graciously accept it.  

5. Practice What You Preach.  

After the proceeds of the sale are booked, your obligations of stewardship, preservation and growth continue. Find a partner to help invest your assets in a manner designed to ensure your success as you embark on your next phase of life.  You should also stick to the wealth plan you’ve constructed with your planner, and revisit it regularly to ensure you’re delivering on your end of the bargain and keeping it current as life events occur. Remember, the implementation of a wealth strategy can take years, and the sale of your business is but one part of a continuum.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your Relationship Team or email us at

You may also be interested in: The Intricacies of Selling A Business: Planning Ahead and After



Glenmede’s Top 5 is intended to be an unconstrained review of matters of possible interest to Glenmede Trust Company clients and friends and is not intended as personalized investment, estate planning, tax or legal advice. This is not intended as a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any investment or service. Investment and wealth advice depends on many individual facts and circumstances we cannot account for here. For legal and tax advice, consult your lawyer or accountant. Opinions or projections herein are based on information available at the time of publication and may change thereafter. Information gathered from other sources is assumed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Outcomes (including performance) may differ materially from expectations herein due to various risks and uncertainties. Any reference to risk management or risk control does not imply that risk can be eliminated. All investments have risk. Please contact your Glenmede representative to discuss the applicability of any matter discussed herein.