So you’ve made the decision to sell your business. You’re financially and emotionally ready for the change this will bring to your life. The market is good and you have a compelling reason to sell. Now what?
Now you need to get your business in listing shape. Here’s how:
- Get the expert help you need. Selling a business is complex and can be even more so if you desire anonymity or want to keep the sale a secret from your employees and customers. It’s also time-consuming and there are many legal requirements to follow. This is where the services of professionals become invaluable. At a minimum, you’ll need a business broker, an accountant, and an attorney. These experts can help manage the process, handle negotiations on your behalf, provide advice on setting a sale price, determine a business valuation, and manage any profits you earn from the sale.
- Become comfortable talking about your reasons for selling. Expect to be asked why you are selling your business. Buyers will want to know if they are getting into a potential problem and what your motivations are for selling. Develop a list of attributes that will make the business attractive to buyers such as: steady or increasing sales figures, increasing profits, loyal customers, or growth potential. Be honest, but highlight the positives.
- Get your financial records in order. Hopefully, you and your accountant have been maintaining accurate financial records all along, but if you haven’t you must get them in order before you list the business for sale. Potential buyers will want to see financial statements, budgets, cash flow, accounts receivables and payables, recent tax returns, franchising fees, if applicable, and your current lease agreement. These are just a few of the financial records you’ll need to produce during a buyers’ due diligence period and are a prime example of why you need an accountant to help you with the sale. You should also prepare a list of equipment that is included with the sale and whether or not there are any lease, financing, or rental costs associated with it.
- Fix it up. Make sure the business is in good shape before you list it. Curb appeal applies to businesses just as much as it applies to houses. Fix or replace broken equipment, keep it clean and presentable at all times.
- Create an information packet. Buyers will appreciate this extra step. In your information packet you can include a brief letter, explaining your reasons for the sale, what you love about the business, what is a challenge, and what your hopes are for the sale. Include in the packet, a contact list of key employees, suppliers, and contractors. You should also include a copy of the business structure and any current operating manuals or employee handbooks.
Listing A Business For Sale Takes Time
Don’t expect to wake up one day and decide today is the day you put your business up for sale. Listing a business for sale takes time, especially if you have to get records in order. It’s not unusual for business owners to need several months to a year or more to fully prepare for listing, particularly if they’ve been lax about record-keeping. Then, once the business is listed, expect to spend even more time waiting for the right buyer to come along and even more time finalizing the details and actually closing on the sale.
Let Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers Help You List Your Business
Selling a business is extremely time-consuming and will take away from your day-to-day running of the business if you decide to sell it without help. The business brokers at Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers will save you time, keep the sale confidential, reach the broadest market, and get the best offer in addition to providing advice and guidance throughout the listing, negotiation, and sale process.
For more advice about listing a business in Florida, contact at 407-478-4101.