Selling a business is a huge life-changing financial decision. Many business owners, when they commit to selling their company, hope that the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. However, the reality is that it can sometimes take a long time to sell a business. When it does, it can cause you to become increasingly more anxious as the search for a buyer continues and you have to keep running the business. While you cannot control everything about the sale process, you can take a few steps that will help speed up the process, and potentially get more money from the sale.
Maintaining solid bookkeeping and organized accounting records helps potential buyers view them in less time, thereby accelerating the sale process. By regularly keeping up with financial documentation, business sellers enable themselves to quickly pull records on demand. The less time the buyer has to wait to receive these documents, the less time they have to cool off, or to wonder about the financial state of the business. Remember, these records are a key indicator of the success and profitability of the business, so it is in your best interest to keep up with them, even if you do not plan on selling it.
The financial records you should have readily available include the following:
- Current and precise records that comply with popular accounting standards
- An annual budget and forecast that shows projected costs and sales
- Cash flow statements and forecasts detailing past and expected future cash management
- Industry analysis reports, comparing your business’s profitability to that of other, similar companies
By keeping these items handy, you are not only helping to speed up the process of selling your business, you are also showing prospective buyers that your company is well run, which will increase its value.
Documenting how you run your business can help motivate more buyers to purchase it. Clear instructions on all business operations can help them to see a clear picture of how to run the business. Provide as much information you can about daily operations, including billing, fulfillment, production and other miscellaneous tasks. This information can be detailed in procedure manuals and organizational charts. Contracts and agreements with vendors, customers and employees should also be provided, since buyers may want to negotiate them in the process of finalizing the purchase. Once again, having thorough instructions on how to run your business can greatly increase its value especially because it explains how to operate it without your presence.
Probably the most important step to selling your business fast, and getting the most value for it is to hire a business broker. A lot of business owners decide not to do this, because they don’t want to pay a commission for the sale. However, the value an experienced business broker brings more than makes up for the amount you have to pay them. Brokers are experts at valuing businesses and can make sure that you are selling your business for an appropriate price. Many sellers leave money on the table by settling for too little, but a good broker can appraise your business based on numerous tangible and intangible factors and find value where you may not.
Business brokers have marketing resources that give them extensive reach and they already have connections to buyers looking for businesses to purchase. They are also experienced at marketing confidentially, so the details of your business are only disclosed to serious buyers, and competing businesses do not get wind of the sale. This is one area where many sellers struggle. They often do not have the resources to find enough interested buyers and end up waiting a long time to find one. This can cause them to settle for a lower price or give in to the buyer when negotiating other deal terms. A lot of sellers also make the mistake of disclosing too much information about their business too early, which can hurt the business and its value. A broker can also speed up your business sale by simply allowing you to focus your time on running it, while they deal with prospective buyers. Dividing your time between these two things could have an adverse effect on your business and slow down the process to sell it.
When you find a serious buyer, you will need to provide them with all of the documentation necessary for the due diligence process. If you want to sell your business quickly, make sure your records are complete and organized before you begin the sales process. These documents should also summarize the hidden value in your business and detail its growth potential. Having all of these materials will minimize seller fatigue by saving you time and making the process of selling your firm more efficient.
It’s common for sellers to believe they can sell their business whenever they are ready, but this is far from the truth. The process can burden them with a lot of extra work and subsequently more stress. Most business owners do not have the resources or experience to sell their company on their own, let alone do it quickly. Hiring a business broker to walk you through the process will help you get it done as fast as possible. They will let you know specifically what documents you will need to sell your business and how to prepare for the sale. They will act as a buffer between you and the buyer, and make sure you get the most value for your business.
If you are interested in selling a company you own in Southwest Florida, contact CIBB and discover why we are the most qualified broker to help you sell your business.