If you're thinking about exiting your business we can help you with your exit strategy. Our service helps you define your personal goals and assesses your exit readiness. It also builds an exit strategy that ensures you can access the value you’ve created.

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Business financing is sought for the specific purpose of funding business activities which can include acquiring another business, management buy-ins (MBIs) or buyouts (MBOs), a key growth project or investing in new talent. Business financing can help you achieve your growth objectives and strengthen your overall competitive advantage. But the process to secure the business funding you need can be time consuming, stressful and costly if you don’t know what you’re doing.


We work with ambitious, high-growing businesses that have funding needs in excess of £2m and regularly approaching £100m. Our clients’ needs will typically be for sophisticated finance products such as cash flow based lending or private equity investments. Our value lies in helping clients access funding that relies on confidence in future trading and cash flows.

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We can confidently say that every client we engage is unprepared to take their funding proposal to their business bank or alternative lender. Being unprepared for funder scrutiny can significantly reduce, or entirely remove, your chances of getting the financing your business needs. Remember: first impressions count.

The typical things that can erode funder confidence and jeopardise your chances of securing a business loan include:

  • Failure to fully explain your business model;
  • Poor articulation of your value proposition and value drivers;
  • Inconsistent, incoherent or incomplete financial information;
  • Weak financial modelling and incomplete forecasts;
  • Presenting a biased view of business performance and risks;
  • Funding proposals that exclude critical information that lenders expect to see.


To successfully secure business funding, whether it’s for supporting an acquisition, a management buyout (MBO) or organic growth, you need to achieve four fundamental objectives:

  1. Create a robust business plan that stands up to funder scrutiny;
  2. Articulate that plan in a balanced and coherent way that funders can understand;
  3. Approach the right partners to fund your plan as part of a competitive process;
  4. Defend value in due diligence and close your transaction professionally.

Funders need to have confidence in you and your business from the beginning to the end of the financing process. In the world of funding first impressions matter and you must never approach the funding market until you are truly ready. We can help you get ‘market-ready’ to deliver funder confidence and secure the funding you need to make your ambitions happen.


By using our business funding advisory services, our experts will ensure that your funding proposal stands up to funder scrutiny and gives you the best chance of securing the funding you need. Below are the different types of business financing we can help you secure:


It’s never too early for exit strategy planning. We generally advocate that you should think about your business exit strategy when you start your business. If you leave it too late, you may find that when the time comes to sell your business, it’s the buyer who’s dictating the terms.


We work with UK SME owner-managers who are thinking about exiting their business in 12 to 36 months. This is either because it has reached their value expectations or the owner is ready to retire or move on to a new challenge. Our clients will be targeting an exit value of £5m or greater.

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Regardless of your personal reasons, exiting your business is not a trivial endeavour and requires diligent planning. Selling your business will most likely be the largest commercial transaction you’ll experience and it’s not the time to get things wrong! It is critical to have a considered and professional approach to ensure you exit the business at the right price and your legacy is maintained after the deal is done.

Here are some typical mistakes made by business owners when planning their business exit:

  • Failure to take ownership of the exit process rather expecting it to ‘just happen’;
  • Failure to develop a management structure that means the business can largely ‘run without them’;
  • Lack of succession planning to ‘bring along’ the key stakeholders required to facilitate the exit;
  • Poor understanding of, and limited ability to articulate, the key value drivers of the business;
  • Failure to fully understand and benchmark KPIs and industry ratios;
  • Limited understanding of the competitive landscape surrounding the business;
  • Lack of supportable business plan to demonstrate the company's future to a potential buyer.


To plan for a successful business exit, your exit plan needs to achieve these key objectives:

  1. Set out your exit goals, thinking carefully about your personal financial requirements, exit multiple and the legacy you wish to create with employees, customers and other key stakeholders;
  2. Look at your business critically through the eyes of a buyer by understanding how your business compares to competitors and industry expectations. Build on competitive strengths and address weaknesses;
  3. Develop a clear business strategy that positions the business as an attractive acquisition target and gives your management team clear direction;
  4. Take a structured approach to identifying buyers that meet your criteria, understand their key requirements from an acquisition and how to achieve them;
  5. Build a PR plan to raise the profile of your business to potential buyers and therefore its  desirability;
  6. Choose your ‘go to market’ timing carefully to meet your requirements and ensure your business is in the best shape that it can be.


Our ‘sell-side’ advisors can build an exit plan that enables you to achieve your personal goals. We then increase your chances of selling your business by delivering an exit plan. This generates buyer confidence in your company as well as creating a smooth transition to the new owners. This is what our advisory service provides:


We take a critical look at your business which will include an initial business valuation. This valuation is designed to measure any gap between the current value of your business and the target value. We help you identify value drags and value drivers and benchmark your performance against industry expectations.

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We will support you and your management team in developing a business plan that will clearly define your objectives and how to achieve them. We’ll focus on developing the business in the most attractive manner for sale with a clear strategy to impress any potential buyers.

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We will help you identify your potential buyers early in the process so we can monitor their M&A activity and any evolving requirements. We can help you build a strategy of brand development and profile enhancement to make sure that you are known to exactly the right people.

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Our process of exit planning is thoroughly developed to build the knowledge we need to successful develop a plan in any sector. We have the expertise and capability to help sell your business no matter what industry you operate in.


We are continually active in the M&A markets. We are able to immediately spot any developing trends, and advise you accordingly.


Unlike many ‘business advisors’ or ‘NEDs’ we do this all day every day. Our advice is built on real world experience of successfully selling businesses, not once, but time and time again.



Why should I use Shaw & Co to help me plan a business exit?

We have taken many clients through this process. We are renowned experts and have many years’ experience helping owners accurately assess the value of their business. We have helped numerous clients to exit their businesses and realise their ambitions.

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What is the fastest way to increase the strategic premium of my business?

The truth is that building value takes time and there are no real short cuts. This is why starting an exit planning process early is always beneficial. An organisation can take time to change, processes can be challenging to imbed and should an element of repositioning in the market be needed, it can take several years to complete.

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When is the right time to start my business exit planning?

It is never too soon to start thinking about the exit of your business. However, our process is most effective when you are planning for your exit to be between 12 and 36 months in the future. This gives us sufficient time to deliver our process and for you to implement our recommendations which will then facilitate a significant return on your investment with us.

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How can a corporate finance advisor help me?

Corporate finance transactions are not an everyday activity and it is unlikely your team will have the skills and knowledge required to navigate a deal. We provide expert advice to ensure a successful outcome.

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Why should I use Shaw & Co to help me sell my business?

We are experts in selling mid-market owner-managed businesses and have managed sale processes on behalf of clients that have involved some of the world's largest buyers (such as Unilever), as well as much more modest companies, through to private equity and everything in between. We ensure that your business is fully prepared for the transaction and maximise its value by positioning the business with buyers in the best possible way. Our experience ensures that you aware of what is coming next so that you can stay several steps ahead of negotiations. Selling a business is the largest transaction of many business owners' lives. It is not the time to ’learn on the job‘ but the time to ensure that you have the absolute best experts alongside you.

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What sort of businesses can you help to sell?

We work with businesses looking to sell that have a value of more than £10m. We may agree to work with slightly smaller businesses in circumstances where a buyer has already been approached and the mandate falls short of a full marketing process. There is no theoretical maximum value of the businesses that we work with. Recent sales values have approached £100m and our median deal value is between £20m and £30m.

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Are you a broker?

No, we are not brokers. We are professional advisors. Whilst our role often involves the introduction of parties to a deal, our value is much greater than a simple introduction service. We support you in the development and articulation of your business case, the negotiation of terms and the management of completion - all of which materially improve the end result, adding significant value to your transaction.

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How do you get paid?

Our fees are predominantly ’Success Fees‘, meaning that we get paid on completion of the deal. We take great care to make sure our fees are aligned with your goals and we take pride in our fees always being a proportion of the value we add. A smaller proportion of our fee is structured as a ’Commitment Fee‘ which is paid monthly whilst we are working on your sale.

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How long does a business sale take to complete?

The process of preparing a business for exit, marketing the opportunity and completing a deal, take an average of around nine months. However, this all depends on the readiness of the business and the value aspirations of the owners. We have worked with business owners for several years before an exit is formally started to align business value and personal financial aspirations.

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Can you do international deals?

Yes, we have completed cross-border transactions on numerous occasions. We are fully capable of accessing international buyers and investors looking for opportunities in the UK. However, all our clients are UK based entities.

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Are you sector specialists?

We have specific sector knowledge derived from many years of collective deal making experience. However, we pride ourselves on the diversity of sectors we work with which challenges us to think creatively. This creative and challenging approach brings huge value to our clients when helping them to build robust business cases. See some of our specific sector experience.

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When Shaw & Co is involved, will I lose control over the process?

Certainly not! Our aim is to become part of your extended team keeping you up to date with all developments. All decisions are yours to make. Our aim is to make those decisions easier.

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What sort of service experience can I expect if I instruct Shaw & Co?

We take all of our clients through a carefully crafted journey. This not only ensures that we are a great match for each other but, once engaged, it helps us to deliver exceptional client service that exceeds expectations.

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Why Shaw & Co


Our highly talented people are creative, innovative and thrive when faced with a deal-making challenge. It's no surprise that we make deals happen and turn your ambition into a greater outcome.

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Fees & charges


Our objective is to ensure that our fee more than pays for itself from the value we create for you and your business.

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