Ten Steps for a
By Robert A. Kent, Sr.
Certified Business Intermediary
1 Your reason(s) for selling your business and your future goals need to be clear and well thought out before you try to market your business. A prospective buyer will want to know why you are selling and may be curious about what you intend to do after the sale.
2 A poor economic climate and/or a personal emotional dilemma can cause you to accept a deal that is not in the best interest for you or for a prospective buyer. It is important to market your business for sale at a time when you are not under pressure to sell.
3 As soon as you have a firm objective to sell, gather key information to facilitate the marketing and divestiture process.
• Three years of profit and loss statements.
• Three years of Federal income tax returns for the business.
• A complete list of business assets (fixtures and equipment).
• All lease agreements and related documentation.
• A list of loan amounts and payment schedules.
• Copy of franchise agreement (if applicable).
• Total net worth of all assets.
• Names of outside advisors (CPA, attorney, others).
4 Confidentiality will be emphasized by the professional as he works on your behalf to find a qualified buyer just as you will maintain confidentiality about a pending sale as you go about your day-to-day business operations.
5 When you decide to engage a professional to help guide you through the process of marketing and selling your business, you agree to become a part of a team effort to make it happen.
6 It is very important that you look at your business as if you are a potential buyer. What do you see? This may help you to determine what you need to work on or what you can do to improve a first impression.
7 As you navigate through the process of divestiture, keep the following in your focus:
• Keep normal operating hours for your business.
• Keep your facility and your equipment in top condition.
• Remove any superfluous items or any item not included in the sale.
• Spruce up the exterior and interior of your facility.
8 Engage a seasoned professional for the best possible result. To paraphrase David Gumpert, former Harvard Business Review associate editor, experienced lawyers know the necessity for some risk in negotiations, whereas inexperienced professionals are often reluctant to advise their clients to take any risks.
9 Flexibility and patience will pay off in the long run in getting the best deal. The right buyer may be better than a higher price. You have probably spent years building your business and you certainly will want it to continue to be successful.
10 A successful deal is created when the transaction represents a win-win where all parties walk away happy.