So you’ve done it, you’ve reached that goal that every entrepreneur chases when dreaming up their own big business idea. You have created, opened, and run a successful business. What now? Do you keep it? Maybe if you truly enjoy the work. What if you’re looking for a new challenge or have another idea you think would make a great business? If your business is successful enough, you may want to look into selling it. Selling a business can be technically and emotionally complicated. Since each business is different, it’s likely that different resources will be involved in the sale depending on the industry, size, etc. In an article for Inc.com, bizbuysell.com’s Mike Handelsman looks at some general resources that can help you during the process of selling your business:
- Business Brokers – Brokers specialize in the confidential identification of prospective buyers and in negotiating favorable terms for their clients. A good broker can also be useful in managing and coordinating the vast amount of documentation associated with the sale of your business. We recommend brokers who are accredited by a national and/or state business broker association, most notably the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), and their designation of Certified Business Intermediary (CBI).
- Accountants – An accountant’s expertise is essential for gathering historical and projected financial data, preparing financial statements and performing other finance functions–all of which lays the groundwork for a smooth sale process. Accountants also play a central role in another important part of the sale–estimating and managing the tax liability you will face after the sale.
- Appraisers – Business valuation and appraisal requires a very specific skill set that most sellers and some brokers just don’t possess. In addition to providing an informed appraisal of equipment, real estate and other physical assets, qualified appraisers can assign value to brands, intellectual property and other types of intangible assets–ensuring that you have a fair and accurate gauge of your company’s actual worth.
- Business-for-Sale Websites – By listing their business online, sellers can market their businesses to larger and more geographically diverse bases of prospective buyers. Business-for-sale websites can also be helpful for providing sellers with a reality check–a real world measure of the asking and sales prices of similar businesses in the seller’s competitive set.
- Attorneys – It’s possible to finalize a business sale without the help of an attorney, but it’s definitely not advisable. The legal details related to a small business sale are substantial, especially when it comes to insulating the seller from liability, so it’s imperative for sellers to use an attorney with relevant experience. Although you may be more comfortable using your regular business attorney to finalize the deal, do yourself a favor and secure legal counsel from a lawyer who specializes in business-for-sale transactions.
It’s important to thoroughly research and all business-for-sale specialists before you make any contractual commitments. While all these resources may not be necessary for every sale of a business, it’s never a bad idea to at least check around to see if they can be of any assistance.