A business owner who is thinking about selling his business sometime in the next few years recently asked me: “How soon should I begin working with an M&A advisor?” My response was: “Probably a lot sooner than you think!”
The most common mistake I see business owners make when it comes time to sell their business is waiting too long. It’s been said that most business owners spend more time planning their annual vacation that preparing for the successful sale of their business – and many business owners don’t take an annual vacation!
In many cases, to maximize the selling price the seller may need to clean up some aspects of the business and its financial records which can take 6-12 months, and sometimes longer.
The sales process itself, including analyzing and recasting the company’s financial records, preparing the necessary marketing materials, identifying and screening qualified buyers, negotiating the letter of intent, completing due diligence and financing, and closing the deal for a small- to mid-sized company can take up to 12 months, and sometimes longer.
Frequently the buyer will want the seller to stay on for several months – often 6-12 months, and in some cases for much longer – to assure a smooth transition and to maximize employee and customer retention.
Adding it all up, If you’d truly like to maximize the selling price of the business you’ve spent a great part of your working life building, you need to start at least 2-3 years in advance of the date you’d like to completely retire from it..
Contact me directly if you’d like a complimentary copy of our white paper entitled, Value Drivers To Maximize the Selling Price of Your Business.
If you know of a business owner who’s thinking of selling or buying a business and who might benefit from a complimentary strictly confidential, consultation with us, have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Ertel, CBI, M&AMI, CM&AA
Transworld M&A Advisors