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What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Your business to sell)

Ok, corny headline, we know… but most business owners consider their businesses their babies. And rightfully so. You have probably worked hard to build it and grow it with many sleepless nights, difficult decisions, and many challenges associated with business ownership. And now you are ready to move on to new horizons.

But what can you expect from a Broker whom you have chosen to sell your business? Of course, the most obvious answer is “to sell it!” and we get that, but what are some of the steps starting from the day you engage your broker to the day you end up on your new yacht in the Caribbean?

An honest Valuation:  The sad truth is that many businesses in the marketplace are overpriced and will likely never sell. There is a tendency for brokers to compete on pricing, and if someone tells you your business is worth $100,000 more than what three other brokers tell you, there’s a natural tendency to go with the higher price. But if the true market value is the number provided by the other three brokers, you will end up with a stale listing on the market. It can’t be overstated that an accurate valuation is step one to getting your business sold.

Confidentiality:  This is the cornerstone of business sales. Nothing good comes from employees, customers, vendors, and landlords knowing your business is for sale. Most business brokers work carefully to adhere to this requirement.  Unfortunately, some don’t, and that could have an impact on your business.

Professional Marketing:  Your business is listed, and your broker is prepping the marketing materials to bring your business to the marketplace. Is a single-page tear sheet really the most effective way to present the outstanding aspects of your pride and joy? Probably not. For a buyer to move to the next step, most are looking for details about your business with a well-prepared presentation of the operation, the financials, the opportunity, and why they should seriously consider buying your business.

Broker Communication:  Sellers should expect regular contact and marketplace feedback from their broker. If buyer feedback is consistent about certain aspects of the offering, that information will help you and the broker to make necessary tweaks to deliver a higher probability of a successful sale.

Transaction Management:  When an acceptable offer comes in, the real work begins. Expect your broker to keep the transaction moving along. With all the buyer requirements needed to complete due diligence, finalize landlord negotiations, obtain lender financing, and assistance in moving the transaction through escrow, the myriad of steps can be confusing or overwhelming for a new buyer, a new seller, or an inexperienced broker.

Experience, advice, and guidance from a qualified broker from day one will do wonders to get the sale of your business to the finish line. While the steps are many, and the hurdles sometimes seem difficult, it pays to use a professional business broker with the knowledge and capability to get the job done.

After all, isn’t that what you are expecting?

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