Following the sale of his family-run lettings business, we caught up with Mark Smith to find out what prompted the sale, how the process went, and to ask about any surprises along the way.
What Made You Decide to Sell the Business?
For 23 years we’ve run a successful lettings agency and been proud of what we’ve built up. But when your business partner is your wife, it comes with some unique practical challenges! We’ve loved working together, but at the same time we’ve had to cope with the fact that when there are just two of you in the business downtime isn’t something which happens easily, if at all, even to the point when going on a holiday has been virtually impossible for too many years now. In theory we’d planned for me to step back from the business around the age of 60. But with all the changes in the industry at the moment we realised we would have to put in a lot of time and commitment to get to a place in a few years’ time when we would sell up anyway. Plus, we knew that now is a good time to be selling a lettings agent. So the combination of these factors made us decide to bring things forward.
How Did You Come Across Atomic and What Made You Choose Them?
I sometimes watch RightMove’s webinars on various aspects of estate agency and the lettings business. Lucy was featured in a webinar they ran about selling your business, and I was very impressed with what she had to say. I knew there and then that if I did decide to sell, she would be the person I would go and talk to first.
Did the Deal Go As Expected?
Lucy was instrumental in the successful deal. I quickly realised that I needed someone who could guide me through the process and help find the right buyer and that was absolutely what Lucy did for us. Money wasn’t the most important factor when it came to choosing the right buyer. I’d made it clear from the beginning that I wanted to leave my clients well looked after, especially since I have worked with many of them since the day we started our business. I wanted to know that I could look all of my clients in the eye in a year or two and feel I had left them in a safe pair of hands. Lucy’s network and expertise meant that we didn’t just find any buyer; we found the right buyer. Someone who shared our ethos and who would safeguard what we had built over the years. Atomic helped us secure a fair price, whilst ensuring our clients would be in capable hands.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Selling Their Business?
Talk to Lucy – it’s as simple as that. When I set up the initial conversation with Lucy, I was still in two minds as to whether I needed the help of a broker, but looking back I can honestly say Atomic’s help was invaluable. I simply wouldn’t have secured such a good deal without their help and guidance.