How to Sell Your Business
Out of all the businesses listed for sale, only about 10% to 20% ever sell. There are many reasons why your business sale may fail to go through. It could be that your business is bleeding cash, you have overpriced it, you have irreconcilable flaws, or you lack a professional business broker.
Now, if you’re trying to figure out how to sell your business for its maximum price, we have a guide for you. Read on to find out what goes into selling a business and how a business broker can help the process.
Start by Finding a Professional Business Broker
When selling a business, you basically have two options to consider. Sell your business on your own or use the services of a professional business broker. Selling on your own would be a great option if you were to sell it to a family member or a trustworthy person.
However, if you’re putting your business on the market, hiring a professional broker would be your best bet.
A business broker will bring a wealth of experience in selling businesses and will know all the secrets of how to sell a business successfully. They’ll come armed with the skills, expertise, and competence necessary to cover all areas of the sale.
One of the best things about hiring a business broker is the fact that they’ll maintain confidentiality. During a business sale, keeping your business information confidential is essential. It could potentially ruin your company’s future if released to the public.
A professional business broker will only release sensitive information to buyers who are ready.
A broker could also keep your company’s name from potential buyers, protecting you and your business in the process. Having a broker take care of the business sale means that you’ll have time to maintain internal focus and prevent disrupting the business.
Even better, a broker will have an extensive contact base and a vast network, so finding potential buyers will be easier and will take less time. Finally, a business broker has experience in negotiations. They’ll scrutinize business contracts, and you’ll be assured of a smooth sale and transfer of ownership.
Determine Your Business Valuation
You may think that you have an idea of how much your business is worth. However, a lot of entrepreneurs have found that the number in their minds is way off the mark of the actual value. This makes a business valuation process imperative before listing a business for sale.
You see, overpricing means it could stay in the market too long, and underpricing means that you could go at a loss. The valuation process involves hiring a valuation expert to calculate a realistic estimate.
They’ll offer you a detailed report and documents showing you approximately how much you should sell your online business for. One good thing about a business valuation is that it will help you give credibility to your asking price.
Now, a business valuation is not something you wish to go through yourself. However, if you do, there are three valuation methods. You can use the market value approach, asset-based approach, or earnings value approach.
Still, there are many other factors to consider. Things like business debts, industry trends, and similar companies for sale. If you decide to hire an appraiser, your business broker will help you find a professional within their network.
Get Your Finances in Order
Now that you have already determined the value of your business, it’s time to get your finances in order.
When you decide to sell your business, understand that it will put a lot of prying eyes on your financial records. Get ready to accommodate not just potential buyers but lawyers, accountants, and valuation firms.
To ensure that your business sale goes through seamlessly, make sure that your bookkeeping is immaculate in advance. Most potential buyers will ask to see accurate financial statements and tax returns from at least three years.
Financial statements will include anything from cash flow statements, income statements, balance sheets, and the like.
Understand that if your finances are disorganized, it’ll be a potential red flag for potential buyers. Any inconsistencies will also raise a plethora of questions. Bring in a professional bookkeeper if you don’t have one already and make sure that everything is in order.
Look for Pre-Qualified Buyers
One of the best things about having a business broker when selling a business is that they’ll help you get pre-qualified buyers.
It’s essential for you to find multiple buyers who are already pre-qualified for several reasons. One of the most significant reasons is that you’ll be disclosing sensitive business information.
Such information could be worth a fortune if it got out to your competitors. It’s possible that one of your competitors or someone acting on their behalf will make an offer just to check out your finances. Beyond that, most business transactions rely on third-party loans.
If the loan is denied, the sale will not push through, and you’ll be back to square one.
On average, it takes about six to eight months for a business to sell though it could be easier with a professional broker. In the meantime, keep increasing your business value for better offers.
The length of time it takes could also depend on whether you’re selling to an individual buyer, a strategic buyer, or a private equity group. Individual buyers may need a loan while private equity groups could fund the purchase themselves
A professional broker will also leverage multiple buyers to get the maximum value for your business.
Finalize the Process
When you finally find a qualified buyer, finalizing the process will involve signing contracts and getting legal documents in order. This is where your business broker really comes in handy because the process can be confusing, if not messy.
It’s also advisable to have your business lawyer present. They’ll handle all documents associated with the sale. These include asset listings, the non-compete agreement, bill of sale, security agreement, and purchase agreement.
Once they have everything in order, all you’ll have to do is sign the agreement, and your business sale will be complete.
Now that you have some basic understanding of how to sell your business, go ahead and search for the best broker in your area. That said, if you’re looking for professional brokers to sell your business, get in touch with us, and we’ll embark on this journey together.
Anthony John Rigney is the Broker/Owner of Quorum Business Advisors
Anthony is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Florida
He also holds the prestigious designations of
Accredited Business Intermediary (ABI)
Board Certified Intermediary (BCI)
For more information and a free confidential consultation contact us today