5 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

Selling a business is a major life decision, and one that should not be rushed. If you are thinking about exiting the business you have spent so much time and effort building, make sure you are ready to sell. Because once you sign on the dotted line and receive the check, there is no turning back; so it is best to have all the details worked out beforehand. Sell a Business

Here are five important questions you should ask before putting your business up for sale:

Am I ready to sell my business? Most experts recommend that you begin preparation for a business sale at least one to two years ahead of time. Of course, there are circumstances such as an unexpected health condition, financial emergency, or similar instance when you may need to sell quicker. But in the absence of such circumstances, there is no need to rush things. Take your time and begin laying the groundwork for your exit. Be sure you have at least a couple years of tax returns you can produce, and that you can show profitability for an extended period of time.

Is this the right time to be selling? A lot of business owners wait until they are no longer making significant profit to sell their business. This is human nature; when we are making good money, we are inclined to hang on to what we have, and when things start to decline, we look for the next opportunity. But if you want to get the most out of your business, it is best to sell when the market conditions are good and you have strong earnings. If you are currently struggling but you have reason to believe you can turn things around, it may be best to wait until earnings improve.

Can my business operate effectively without me? Some prospective buyers may be concerned that your presence is critical to the success of the business. To address this concern, it is a good idea to start handing off more responsibility to others within the organization; and this goes back to the importance of having an adequate amount of time to prepare for your exit. If you need to sell more quickly, you will need to decide if you are willing to stay on for a while (if asked) to help the new owner during the transition period.

Are there any factors that could end up being deal breakers? Prospective buyers will want to know that your business is clean and free of potential issues that may arise. These could include areas such as ownership claims, intellectual property rights, accounting issues and pending litigation. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and examine all areas of the organization to determine if there are any concerns that could come up, and do what is necessary to address those concerns before you put the business up for sale.

Who should be on my transition team? To ensure a successful sale, you need a team behind you to help ensure that everything is in order. Members of your team may include an attorney, accountant, and a business broker. A serious buyer will likely have a team to perform due diligence before a purchase. It only makes sense for you, as a seller, to have a team of professionals behind you as well.

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