In recent years, online companies like BusinessesForSale and BusinessMart have sprung up, making it easier for you to advertise that you’re selling a business. Posting the sale is the easy part. What you may not yet realize is how much behind-the-scenes work is required to get the best price for your business. In fact, the process of selling a business can be so complicated that it can take up to a year to close on a deal.
Furthermore, if you need to keep the fact that you’re selling a business confidential, definitely out of focus of your existing employees, advertising the sale online might not be the best decision. Even if you work with an experienced business broker to advertise the sale of your company, make sure you sign an agreement that guarantees that your company’s listing will be kept confidential until you instruct the broker otherwise.
Skip working with a broker and you could save 5 to 10% on commission fees. However, brokers tend to get more for businesses they sale than you might earn on your own. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, “If you’re selling a unique business, in a niche market that requires more technical or industry know-how, you may be better off paying a commission. Brokers offer higher sales prices than you’re likely to get on your own, plus personal attention, contacts, and expertise in your industry.”
Furthermore by working with brokers who are experienced at generating auction type interest in companies they list, you can increase the likelihood that you will get top price for your business. At the least, you want to get enough for your business to cover the costs of the sale and to cover the costs of outstanding expenses or debts your company has.
Succeeding while selling a business online also involves appraising the value of your company. This process involves reviewing your taxes or budgets. Potential buyers might also want to review these documents before they decide to buy your company. Legal paperwork you’ll need to put together include licenses, permits, lease agreements, employment agreements and vendor contracts.
Depending on the type of business you own as well as how your business is structured, potential buyers might also want to review succession plans you have for members of your existing management team. This scenario would likely occur if you’re selling a business that has assets or that is set up as a partnership or corporation.
Because you’re selling a business online, be consistently aware of who you communicate the sale to. Avoid posting information about the sale on your company website, social media pages or in emails you send to personal and business contacts. To learn more about selling a business, contact reputable agencies. Additionally, while working with business brokers, make the time to meet with the brokers regularly. For example, you could establish standing weekly or bi-weekly meetings with brokers. Come prepared to discuss questions and concerns you have.