Selling your business can be an emotional and life-changing decision. Despite years of hard work and nurturing your business, it might be time to sell. Following are a few key steps that can make the process easier:

  1. Be Realistic
    Don’t try to make assumptions of what your business is worth. Hire a seasoned valuation expert to determine the condition and value of your business. You’ll have a benchmark for determining if it is the right time to sell. The valuation firm also might suggest ways to increase the value of your business before you sell so you don’t leave any money on the table.
  1. Consult with a Professional
    Make sure to talk to your lawyer and accountant. They know you and your business and can give insight and guidance throughout this process. They understand the legal and tax implications and might recommend a good business broker.
  1. Put Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes
    Anticipate the information potential buyers will want and the questions they might ask. Prepare a package that informs and impresses. Investing time in this process can sometimes increase interest from more buyers.
  1. Be Flexible
    Are you willing to assist the buyer with partial financing? Are you prepared to assist in the business for a time to insure a smooth transition? Being flexible can make or break a sale and open possibilities you may not have considered. Ultimately, it should be a win-win for everyone.
  1. Make Sure Operations are Running Smoothly
    Just as an immaculate house will sell more quickly than one in need of repairs, it’s the same for a business. Do you have your systems documented so that operations flow seamlessly? A buyer will pay more for an operation with internal controls that is self-sustaining and runs painlessly.
  1. Plan Ahead
    What will you do with your time after the business is gone? Will you retire or move on to another business endeavor? Think through your decision before you commit to selling the business. Make sure it feels right from both an emotional and financial perspective. As a buyer, you don’t want a sale to go sour because the business owners were not ready to sell.

Selling your business calls for careful thought and planning but can bring you many benefits in the form of cash flow, retirement funds and time to move on to a new venture. For assistance with the many important details call your advisors, don’t go at it alone.