Tips on Selling a Business

Selling a business takes preparation, planning and commitment by the owner. It is like any other project, set a goal, list the steps to get there and then work the plan. When you sell a business you will need to gather all of the important facts about your business and put them in a presentable form. Another important early decision is how you are going to sell your business. Are you going to do it yourself or with professional help. Most businesses change hands with the help of professional agents who are experts in selling a business. The help of a pro can be invaluable in getting a good fair price and selling the business in a timely manner. With the following ideas and tips an owner can begin to get at how to sell their business.

Information and valuation

In order to sell a business, the owner has to come up with a figure, which represents what he feels the business is worth. This price will become the asking price for the business. A price cannot be arrived at without accurate numbers and information about the business in question. Gathering this information is the first step in a number of them needed to sell your business.

The collected information is then used to come up with an asking price for your business. There are many formulas that are used to value a business. The industry the business is in will also determine how the sale price is developed. One of the current ways to get to this number is to hire an expert evaluator who has been certified by a recognized business seller’s organization. This certified evaluator is used in court cases, IRS cases and in the sale of a business like yours. Since this is a disinterested third party, both sides in the negotiation can usually use the value that is delivered. This valuation is arrived at by inspection of the company, use of your accountant’s figures and the industry you are in.

With the important first step, the game is on and the negotiations can be engaged in with serous intent. Every thing flows from this first step, so it must be as accurate as possible. This first move sets the tone for much of what follows in the sales meetings and conversations.

Get help or sell yourself

Selling your business without help from those that do it for a living, is the hard way to do it unless you have someone who is ready to buy At the very least it would be very useful to get a certified evaluation so you have third party support for your asking price. If you elect to try to sell the business yourself, you will be undertaking a time consuming project that may not fit in with running your business at the same time. But if this is your choice, then a way must be found to find a buyer. Advertising in trade magazines is one of the ways to find a buyer. Posting on when selling a business is a very effective way to let the public know of the sale. Acquireo has cheap advertising options for business owners and brokers and has proven marketing strategies to let the buyers know whenever a new business is up for sale. Locally you should let professionals you deal with and other business friends in on the fact that you are willing to entertain offers for your business.

The advantage of hiring a business selling pro is they have a network of buyers who are qualified and are seriously looking for a business to buy. If your business is a match for what his client is looking for you may have a quick and easy sale. Another plus is your business will be listed on their website and promoted throughout their network. You would not have this entry without being a potential customer of theirs. They may have access to financing your buyer may need in order to cash you out. A full service broker provides every service needed to make the sale of your business happen.

Cash out vs. terms for a sale

A “cash out” means the buyer pays an acceptable price in full to purchase your company. This purchase price may be less than one which includes terms, but this can be used as a negotiating tool. Cash in full is less than the price if the seller has to extend terms to complete the sale. If the seller agrees to be a holder of some paper to make the sale, then a higher price may be used as the final purchase price. Terms can be a powerful negotiating tool when getting down to the way the business will be sold. If the buyer wants terms, then you can agree if the purchase price can be raised.

After the sale help from the previous owner

After the sale is completed there may be time that the buyer and the seller agree that the old owner will help with the transition. This may include helping the new owner learn the business and how to handle the important customers. The old owner could take the new owner around and introduce him to the major customers. He can tell him about the strengths and weaknesses of the employees. His ideas for growth should be listened too with apt attention, as the old owner is more knowledgeable about what the company is facing and where it can improve.

He could also give a heads up about the competition and clients they should go after. His intimate knowledge of the facts, history and future possibilities should be noted and maybe even used. This is a terrific source that should not be wasted or forgotten about.


The many ins and outs for selling your business should be read about and studied. You have worked hard to make your company worthwhile and now that you are going to sell it you should get top dollar for it. A certified sale price is a step that all business sellers should make, for one reason. This value was given for your business by a pro who knows how to evaluate what a business is worth.

Selling a business is a tricky proposition and most owners would be wise to put this task in the hands of business broker who sells businesses for a living. They know how to do it and do it in a timely manner. They also can be of great value when in the negotiating stages. They keep this sometimes-tense situation on track and moving forward. They can talk both parties out of unreasonable demands.

If terms or financing become the only way to make the deal fly, their experience can be the deciding factor. This deal making knowledge can be the glue that keeps the deal together. The negotiating stage is a critical time in the sale of the business. Having an old hand involved in the talks can be very helpful and could make the final result be positive instead of negative. His clear-eyed view of the deal can help to dissolve hidden objections and misgivings that have not surfaced until now. Most owners would be wise to get out of the way and let their business be sold.