Sell a Business

Steps to consider when you want to list your business for sale.

  1. Selling Strategy 
    Decide when and how to sell, as well as who is going to help you.
  2. What is your business worth
    Determine a realistic value. And look for ways to maximize your business's value.
  3. Finding a buyer
    Hire a business broker, create a selling memorandum, and have a sales strategy.
  4. Structuring the deal
    Know your options and the tax implications of each.
  5. Financing the deal
    Become knowledgeable about seller financing and third-party financing.
  6. Completing the deal
    Have a plan, starting with the letter of intent and going all the way to the closing.


Tips for Successfully Selling Your Business

  • Diversify Your Customer Base
    Maximize your business's value. A diversified customer base increases business value.
  • Hire An Auditor
    Have an independent auditor review your financial statements. Savvy buyers will ask to review independently audited records covering at least two or three prior years of performance.
  • Get Help
    Surround yourself with a strong advisory team to assist with the sales negotiation process, including a lawyer, accountant or perhaps a banker or other financial adviser. Remember that someone has to run the business (that would be you) during this period.
  • Confidential Data
    Put all pertinent financial records and other key documents on a CD, or perhaps post them to a password-protected Web site. Only give buyers access to your data after they sign a strict non-disclosure agreement. Make sure a buyer is serious before releasing any confidential info.
  • Tell Your Story
    Word of the sale is bound to leak out. Have your story about why you are selling the business ready to go. Start with top managers. When appropriate, give employees the basic information, but don't go into detail. Vendors and suppliers will probably hear the news through the grapevine, so be sure to speak with them directly to contain rumors from spreading.
  • Learn To Let Go
    Begin diminishing your role at the company - for two reasons. First, if you are the business, recruit a strong management team that can carry on without you after the sale. This will increase the value of the company. Second, understand that the new buyers may not want you around.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to rush to sell your business. So it is important to take your time and make sure that the sale process fits your needs and that you position the company for the highest sales price.