Again, every transaction will have its own details and nuances to consider. However, despite that, there will also be several steps of the process that are similar regardless of the industry, type of business, or even the price bracket that your business falls into. It may not be totally linear, and you might have a few different steps, or have already completed some, and that’s fine too. Here’s what you need to know.
Step One: Prepare and Plan
We mentioned above the importance of good planning. What does that mean, though? You need to educate yourself on the process of selling a business so that you know what to expect. You’ll also want to take the time to prepare your business financials and make sure that your operational details are in place. Research the process of selling a business (like you’re doing now) and prepare yourself for any and all contingencies or situations that may arise. It takes some time and dedicated effort, but proper planning can take the difficulty out of the actual transaction.
Step Two: Hire the Right People
Again, this was discussed briefly above, but you do need to capitalize on the human resources that you have. We don’t mean the HR team, but the people who can help streamline your business sale and give you the assistance that you need. These include people like:
Brokers: Brokers can assist with the entire business sale from start to finish, from helping you get things to marketing the business and even negotiating the deals and working with the buyers’ brokers to reach an agreement. They’re an invaluable asset and their entire job is to help people buy and sell businesses, so you can trust they know their stuff.
Accountants: These financial experts can help you get your financial documents and finances in order. They will also assist you in valuing your business for sale, which is different from calculating profits. Having an accountant on your business roster is going to be important at all times, not just when you’re selling, so whether you hire in-house or outsource, make sure you have one on hand.
Financial Planners: Here’s another financial expert that could be of benefit to you. These professionals can help you plan the financial details of a business sale, look at the financial pros and cons of selling, and help you realistically see what to expect. They can even help you plan for what to do after the business is sold, whether that’s something entirely different or just moving onto the next deal.
Business Lawyers: These legal professionals know all about the ins and outs of business, including the sale process. They will be able to walk you through the process and assist with the legal issues. You should already have a lawyer on hand for your business, so you won’t need to hire a separate one for the sale.
Step Three: Create the Executive Summary
Once you have the right plan and the right people, you’ll need to create an executive summary of your business. This should include information about the company, financial details, a profit and loss statement, and other insights. Consider adding an FAQ section for potential buyers so that you can answer more questions and make them feel confident in their offer.
You can create this on your own or let your broker help. Feel free to peruse the Internet for samples and examples to help you write your own. This is essentially the sales pitch for your business, so make sure that it’s on point.
Step Four: Market the Business for Sale
Marketing is next, and it has to be done right. While you can use traditional marketing methods to reach certain buyers, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re marketing on social media and other platforms. When you work with a broker, they will take care of making sure that your business gets the exposure that it deserves. You will reach a much wider audience by using an omnichannel marketing strategy for your business deal.
Step Five: Start Negotiating Deals
You don’t have to take the first deal that you’re given. Some sellers get over-eager and tend to think they can just take a deal and be done. However, you might get a better deal, even if that’s not necessarily in the form of a higher financial offer. You should take the time to entertain and negotiate a few different deals to ensure that you find the perfect fit. This can be a good place to allow the broker to step in and help you through the process.