Selling Your Business – 8 Steps You Can’t Afford to Skip

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Selling Business

Everything has a life cycle, and sometimes that includes your business. Exiting a business generally happens in one of 4 different ways:

  • Sale of the Business

  • Accident, Illness, or Death

  • Succession

  • Close of the Business

The preferred and obvious choice for many business owners is selling their business. Statistics show that approximately 20% of businesses in the U.S. change ownership every year. However, selling a business is not as easy as you may think. Much as you need to market your company for new business, you need to do the same steps to attract a buyer. This means double the work. This is where a professional business broker can be extremely helpful.

During the selling process the business has to look and operate at its best, while also expending efforts to attract buyers. That’s a lot of work for one person. The goal of a professional business broker is to not only maximize the after tax profit on the sale of the business, while maintaining strict confidentiality, but also make the process smooth and easy for the business owner.

For a breakdown of how business brokers work, consider the following steps that should be taken during the sale of a business.

Sellers want the best possible price for their business. To determine the best price, a professional broker will use the industry-tested valuation techniques, including ratios based on sales of similar businesses and historical data of the types of business for sales. A critical factor in pricing a business is the terms offered and the type of deal structure. The broker will work with the seller’s financial advisors to achieve the highest amount of “net proceeds” after the sale. While the selling price is important, the amount that the seller “keeps at the end of the day” is what is really important.

To make an informed decision, a buyer will require information on the business activity, history, customers, sales and earnings, marketing strategy, employees, assets included, facilities, location and the reason for sale. A complete Offering Memorandum will enable a buyer to make an informed decision and obtain the required financing to proceed with the deal. Generally buyers are more educated on the process of buying a business than sellers are on the process of selling.

Designing a marketing plan specifically targeted to the types of buyers that would be interested in the business is a key factor. Business Brokers use databases of buyer’s prospects, professional associations and investment groups. Target marketing through trade publications, direct mail and Internet sites specifically for business transactions may be used to reach buyers. Advertising in newspapers both local and national, as well as in industry trade journals will produce qualified buyer prospects.

The Business Broker will focus on those prospects who are financially qualified and who are genuinely interested and have the skills needed to run this type of business. Finding a “real, qualified buyer” is a skill that is developed by years of experience in doing business transactions.

PRESENTING THE BUSINESS. The professional Business Broker is experienced in handling negotiations. The broker also offers the seller convenience of continuing to manage the business while the selling process is under way. Information is disclosed to buyers in stages, as needed, while the deal progresses through the due diligence process.

Business owners are extremely concerned about confidentiality. A professional Business Broker is skilled at protecting the confidentiality from the employees, suppliers, creditors and customers of the business.

The Business Broker will be a vital advisor during the sale transaction. Knowledgeable about negotiating price, terms and other key aspects of the sale, the broker will guide the seller each step of the way. Proper deal structure will greatly affect the net amount that the seller will end up keeping after selling the business. The Broker will help coordinate the Legal, Accounting, and Financial Professionals that are required to complete the transaction.

Kent is an Accredited Business Intermediary with Murphy Business and Financial Corporation, a licensed Real Estate Broker, and has owned and managed his own LLC and has conducted business in multiple states. For more than 20 years, Kent has been serving clients in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area as well as across the country. Murphy Business associates are chosen from top rated companies and have a demonstrated track record of success in their industry of choice.