After investing years, money, and passion into your small business, when it is time to sell, it is worth doing it properly. Working with a reputable business broker is the best way to ensure that you find the right buyer for your business and achieve the best outcome both financially and relationally.
What should I know before I sell my business?
Is now a good time to sell my business?
Although COVID-19 has had a significant impact on businesses worldwide, we have seen a surge in buyers seeking promising opportunities with businesses that were able to withstand the disruption. We have also seen new initiatives by the Small Business Administration to make it more attainable for buyers to acquire a business in the short term. Read more here.
Can I sell my business if I have an SBA loan?
Yes, you can sell a business with an SBA loan, but it will require lender approval. You may be selling for more than you owe, selling for less than you owe, or the buyer may be assuming the loan. You can find more information regarding selling a business with an SBA loan here.
How much is my business worth?
Obtaining an accurate valuation of your business is essential. Normally your business’s value is determined by applying a market multiple to your earnings, but there are additional factors to be considered as well. Due to the complexity involved with establishing a valuation that is not only accurate, but also thorough enough to stand up the scrutiny of a prospective buyer’s lender, it is wise to employ a professional to perform your business valuation.
When should I tell people I am going to sell my business?
It is critical that you maintain confidentiality throughout the selling process. Even the best-intentioned people can inadvertently compromise your sale. If word spreads that you are selling your business, it can raise concerns among your employees and your customers regarding the future of the business, even if the concerns are completely unfounded. In order to preserve the stability of your company and the integrity of your selling process, confidentiality must be a top priority until the close of your sale. Bottom line: only share this information with a very select few people, including your business broker within the protection of a business sale confidentiality agreement.
How long will it take to sell my business?
On average, the selling process takes approximately 6 to 9 months, but there are several factors that can influence this time frame. One significant factor is whether you try to sell your business yourself or if you employ a business broker. Meeting with a broker early on can help ensure a smooth and organized process. Your business’s industry, size, and location will also factor into the length of time required. Finally, the buyer’s due diligence period can range anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, and again, the experienced guidance of a business broker can help a seller tremendously during this time.
How do I prepare to sell my business?
Organize Your Financial Documents
Employ your CPA’s assistance as needed, and gather your last 3 years’ federal tax returns, profit & loss statement (P&L), and balance sheet. Additionally, be sure you have the interim P&L and balance sheet, the average value of salable inventory on hand, equipment list, lease information if applicable, and if any real estate is owned, a copy of the tax bill and any real estate appraisal.
Check on Property & Equipment
Ensure that any overdue maintenance or upkeep of facilities and equipment has been completed. Your business’s “curb appeal” will affect a prospective buyer’s perception of your business’s value, which will ultimately affect the price it will bring — positively or negatively.
Obtain a Business Valuation
Take the time to obtain a business valuation from an experienced professional. Using industry multiples and market insight, a professional will be able to provide you with an estimate of your business’s value as well as actionable recommendations for maximizing that value.
Hire a Professional
Employ the services of a reputable business broker as early in the process as possible. Business brokers and advisors like those at Viking M&A can help you avoid common missteps, control the chaos of the selling process, find the right buyer for your business, negotiate the best terms, and guide you all the way through closing, saving you time and money.
What is the process for selling my business?
As we mentioned above, you will begin the selling process by obtaining a business valuation.
Next your business broker will confidentially market the business on your behalf through various strategic channels as well as to their network of prospective buyers.
Your business broker will present pre-screened, qualified buyers to you for consideration. When you have identified a serious prospective buyer, you will have the opportunity to meet and discuss the business in more detail, still protecting sensitive information since there has been no offer made at this point.
A formal offer will be presented by the buyer in the form of an “Offer for Purchase” or “Letter of Intent” which outlines the details and terms of the offer.
Your broker will guide you through the process of accepting, rejecting, or negotiating any aspect of the offer.
Once an agreement is reached, the buyer will begin their due diligence period. Your broker will help you navigate this period and will also continue to market your business during this time just in case the sale does not reach closing.
When due diligence and buyer financing are complete, closing documents will be drafted, and you will complete the sale. Your business broker will provide recommendations for legal and financial counsel (attorneys and CPAs) to help advise on the various legal documents and to help minimize the tax implications of the sale.
Who can help me sell my business?
Working with a business broker is the best way to sell your small business for top dollar. If you are considering selling your small business, or if you would like to learn more about the process, contact Viking today for a no-cost consultation.