Selling the business in which you have invested years of time and effort as well as substantial financial resources is a major life changing event. Here are some tips to achieving a successful sale:
- Assemble all the key, relevant information about your business: P&L statements, tax returns, business assets, asset values, leases, franchise agreements, loan agreements, and descriptions of trade areas and customer profiles. These documents are valuable in marketing the business. The better and more clearly the essence of the business can be described, the faster a buyer may be found.
- The best time to sell a business is when the business is doing well – not when the business is in a slump or when you are discouraged about the business’ future or under pressure to sell.
- Look at your business through a potential buyer’s eyes: can a buyer earn a living, reinvest in the business, get a return on his/her investment, and make his/her payments out of the business’ cash flow? See our previous post: a “Buyer’s Test”.
- Maintain, or improve, normal operations: keep your normal hours of operation, keep equipment and physical plant in tip-top condition, spruce up interior and exterior, and remove unused or obsolete items.
- Be patient. Carefully select your buyer – the highest price may not be the best deal for either you or the buyer.
- Engage an experienced, professional business broker to market the business, find potential buyers, and qualify the buyers to avoid spending time and effort with people who are not able to complete a purchase.
Successful transactions are win-wins where seller and buyer both leave the closing happy. You have spent many years building your business and you surely want the success you created to continue.