Business Selling Advice: Preparation is the Key

Selling your small business is a complicated and stressful endeavour. We have found that the transaction process is easier and more likely to succeed if business owners properly prepare for the sale in advance.

Most people don’t realize that selling a small business is completely different from selling almost anything else. First, some of the value of a business lies in something called goodwill, which cannot be seen or measured. Second, you cannot look up the list price of a business or use any other objective means to get a price. The value of a business depends on a number of things and is actually very subjective.

Complicating matters, business sales are usually confidential, making it very difficult to market them. They are also risky for buyers who are investing large amounts of money. That risk has to be addressed in the terms of the transaction.

It is no surprise, then, that selling your small business is not that easy. In fact, experts say that only about one quarter of businesses put on the market actually do sell.

When owners plan the sale of their businesses ahead of time, they are more likely to see success.

Talk To Your Family First

Your decision to sell your business will impact your family. Getting business selling advice from them before the business is placed on the market gives them an opportunity to share whatever is on their minds about the possible sale. This can prevent unanticipated issues from coming up in your family during the negotiation phase. It can also prevent you from signing with a business broker and then discovering a family member wishes to buy the business, leaving you with a commission to pay.

Another reason for getting business selling advice from your family is that they may know you better than you know yourself. A surprising number of people change their minds about selling their businesses when the sale is almost finalized. Your family can help you determine if now is really the best time for you to sell and discuss potential feelings and situations that may arise.

John is an experienced business lawyer who protects my clients and ensures business sale transactions move forward smoothly. I’ve had the pleasure of working with John on several dozen deals and appreciate that he understands the necessity to get jobs done right and on time.

- Randy Koroluk – President, Alberta Business Exchange