Most businesses are built so that they can eventually dole out rewards to their hard-working owners on exit. Whether the intention is to sell the company, offer it as an inheritance or wean it into a self-supporting profit-making machine, the ultimate goal for many business owners is to be free from day to day operations and get sufficient return on their investment of time, effort and money. That is why exit strategy is as important as building the business itself.
In my non-scientific estimate every one month delay after you have put the business up for sale reduces the price you will get by about 0.5%. For a business worth $100,000 this translates to a loss of approx $500 every month! In addition, the delay in completing the sale can not only result in deterioration of the business, but you can start losing important employees and customers if they get a hint that you are planning to sell the business. That’s why it is imperative for the business owners to complete the sale as quickly as possible after you have decided to sell it.
Now, selling the business is an inherently complex and time consuming process. It is not uncommon to find businesses that have been on the market for 6 months before the sale is complete. However, with little planning and preparation it is possible to reduce this time. Read on to find out how.
Opportunity favors those who are prepared to take advantage of it. This has been the consistent theme in the last several posts we have written on how to prepare your business for sale. We mentioned that you need to start planning for business at least one year in advance. In addition there are additional items you need to take care of as the time to list your business for sale approaches.
Your primary goal as a seller is to allay potential buyer’s biggest financial fears as well as other FUDs related to the operation of the business. It is only through proper planning and careful preparation that you can dispel buyer FUDs and make your business sale go faster and smoother. After all the longer it takes for the sale to go through the more chances of something going wrong and the sale falling through.
One of the most important aspect of getting prepared for the sale is compiling all the documents related to the business finances and operations.
In the previous post we discussed two biggest fears your potential buyers have when they are considering purchase of your business. We showed how you can help buyers overcome these fears and make the sale of your small business go through quickly and smoothly.
In addition to the two fears related to business finances, there are other operational FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) factors that buyers, particularly those who have not owned small business before, are likely to have. With proper planning you can help alleviate these FUDs and make the selling process go faster. After all, it is in your best interest to shorten the sale process as much as possible. The longer it takes for sale to complete the more chances of something going wrong and the sales falling through.
Based on our experience with both buying and selling business, we have come up with several questions that are likely to surface in buyer’s head when he is going through due diligence. The sections below document those questions along with our advice on how you can deal with them.
We have been discussing what preparations the small business seller needs to make before listing the business for sale. There are items seller needs to start taking care of as much as 1 year in advance As the sale process gears up you need to prepare number of documents for the sale to complete fast and without any major hiccups.
The biggest obstacle to the sale of small business stems from buyer’s FUD (Fear, Doubt and Uncertainty). When the buyer is betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the business and is committing large part of his future life he is bound to have cold feet and second thoughts at some point in the process – just like in marriage!!! Your job as a seller is to address these FUDs and alleviate buyer’s anxiety.
We mentioned in the previous post that selling your business is the second most important decision you will make. We also provided reasons why it is important to be careful about choosing a broker to sell your business. Hiring a wrong broker will not only leave you with lot of headaches; but also will waste your valuable time in the selling process.
So how can you make sure you are hiring the “right” broker for your needs? Below we have listed 10 questions you can ask the broker before making decision to engage him/her.
Selling your business is the second most important decision you can make after your decision about buying the business in the first place. There are many reasons why small business owners decide to sell – to get into some other business, because they cannot handle the workload, because they want to cash out and so on. Whatever the reason, we cannot overemphasize the importance of selling process and the attention you need to pay to it.