Selling a business a complicated process that involves many decisions and careful preparation. For most business owners, this once-in-a-lifetime event involves their biggest personal asset. A successful outcome requires accurate information and demands objective thinking:
- Is my business ready for sale?
- Is now the best time to sell my business?
- How much is my business really worth?
- How do I make my business more valuable?
- Who are the best acquirers for my business and how will I find them?
- How will I keep the business sale process confidential?
- What are the tax consequences and government reporting requirements of selling my business?
Most business owners are unprepared for the complexities of selling a business and find it hard to be impartial after investing years of work growing their business. They need unbiased answers to questions which are often difficult to access from the inside.
Touchstone Business Advisors has experts who understand the unique perspective of the business owner. Our innovative process combines proven marketing strategies, industry-leading expertise and state-of-the-art resources. Together, they are the formula for a successful business sale.
The Touchstone Business Advisors Steps on How to Sell a Business
Business Evaluation – What is Your Business Worth? Determining the fair market value of your business is an involved procedure which takes into account many variables. Touchstone Business Advisors will give proper weight to your company’s strengths, assets, historical financial performance and projections, along with the many intangibles in this business valuation.
Client Interview – We next determine your objectives and collect all pertinent information. We give you a list of things that need to be gathered – financial, as well as general information, on all aspects of your business.
Value Proposition Strategy – The business opportunity must be properly packaged with all applicable records and facts organized and documented. This ensures presentation in its most favorable light, while providing the acquirer with a concrete document to follow and review. This package educates buyers on the many intangibles inherent in your Company, hence raising the perceived value to the acquirer. These intangibles include name recognition, market niche, vendor relationships, operation and production systems, distribution channels, customer loyalty, trained and skilled employees, and many more.
Marketing & Advertising Strategy – There are many channels which we can utilize to aide in selling your business. Not the least of which is our own database of qualified, interested and knowledgeable buyers. We also help determine our approach and level of confidentiality needed during this process to help guard against your competitors, employees, vendors and customers ever finding out about the pending sale of your business.
Screening Potential Buyers – Pre-Qualification involves fielding all phone and email responses, answering initial questions and ascertaining their interest level, management skills, cultural fit and ability to meet the financial requirements of the transaction as well as getting signed Confidentiality Agreements (to further maintain confidentiality for all parties the buyer must agree to financial disclosure and confidentiality rules). Then we gain commitment that the buyer is committed to the process of buying a business at price and terms consistent with the marketplace.
Presentation & Review – Provide the potential buyer of your business for sale with the company information package we have put together, the business, potential for growth and the market opportunity. This will also involve answering numerous questions and possibly setting up a meeting and/or conference call with all parties.
Negotiations and Screening – Negotiations between the Buyer and Seller can sometimes be tense. Touchstone Business Advisors offers skilled negotiation to resolve issues as they arise and control all aspects of the process until resolution is reached. The clients feel the positive impact of full and complete representation, and are allowed to concentrate on operating their business whileTouchstone Business Advisors attend to the details.
Offer to Purchase/LOI – The buyer prepares a Letter of Intent with the assistance of Touchstone Business Advisors in order to submit a formal offer to purchase to the seller along with any contingencies. Touchstone Business Advisors presents the offer to the seller and answers any questions regarding the offer.
Offer Acceptance or Counter – The seller accepts the offer as written or responds with a counter offer. If accepted, a deposit is required from the buyer to take the business for sale listing “off the market” and begin due diligence.
Due Diligence – The offer is usually contingent on the buyer’s professionals verifying the accuracy of the seller’s financial and operational representations. The buyer begins the process of due diligence and inspects detailed business information. This process also involves managing and settling all contingencies – all contingencies are removed from the Letter of Intent/Offer to Purchase.
Purchase Agreement – a binding purchase agreement is presented to the seller and then signed and returned to seller for final signature.
Closing – This is the point at which you can be assured that you have realized your goal and the transfer of funds is completed and the sale process is completed.
Transition Period – This typically involves a period of cooperation in which you will assist the acquirer in effectuating a “seamless” transition. This includes transferring of key relationships and proprietary information needed to successfully operate the business. This is a very important piece of the entire process and the time required varies from business to business and market to market.