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An early jump is important in selling business

by Marc Meltzer, Daily News Staff Writer

“There are some things you should know before you sell your business. If your business isn’t a hot Internet company, you’ll probably have a hard time selling it through a public stock offering. You might have more luck selling to another company or a private equity fund in the current market” said Paul Schaye, a partner at Chestnut Hill Partners, a merger and acquisition specialist in New York.

Ideally, you should start planning years in advance for the sale. This will give you time to adjust your accounting practices to show a three- to five-year track record of maximum profitability.

That may be a big switch for many entrepreneurs who operate their companies to minimize their tax liability. That practice might save on taxes, but it usually minimizes the value of a business as well.

“You need to run your company like a public company,” Schaye said. “That means getting your uncle or spouse off the payroll and any other personal expenses.” Be prepared to justify your reasons for selling.

“After the buyer asks, ‘How much?’ the next question is ‘Why is the seller selling?’ “ Schaye said.

Buying travel tickets on-line, which has been touted as a great way to get cheap fares, can cost more than you think. A study by Consumer Reports magazine found that 12 big on-line travel providers charge fees that can add up to 85 percent to the advertised price of your ticket.

More than half the sites polled charged from $4 to $30 to book and mail paper tickets rather than issuing electronic tickets, which often involve no more than a reference number being issued to a traveler. Most discounters won’t mail paper tickets without charging a fee.

Once you have a ticket, changing your itinerary could cost you more than the ticket itself.

While airlines tend to charge a $75 penalty for altering travel arrangements, some on-line sites charge double or even five times that amount, up to $375.

A formula called the “Four P’s” can help you sound smart at office meetings and further your career, says Alberto Paz, president of Robert A. Becker Inc., a marketing firm based in New York.

The first P is for purpose – always know the reason a meeting is being held, so you can plan for it. The second is for participants. If you know who will be at the meeting, you’ll be better able to define your role at the gathering.

The third is for prepare – know what is expected of you at the meeting, and be sure to have with you the information you’ll be asked for. And fourth is the P for participate.