FAQs - Sellers

How do I know I’m ready to sell?
When selling begins to seem like a possibility to you, it’s time to consider your options. Should you reach that point, we’ll be happy to meet with you and lay out all the steps in the process. That will help you determine if you’re ready to sell. We won’t list your business prematurely. When you’re comfortable with the idea of selling, we’ll launch the process — and it will be a team effort throughout.

When is the best time to sell?
When your business is thriving and sales are increasing — that’s the optimum time to sell. Prospective purchasers will have no trouble seeing the immediate value of the business. However, with a sharp game plan, most any business can be sold. For example, we’ve sold businesses considered “distressed or asset sales.” Preparing your game plan is one of the most important services we provide.

If I decide to sell my business, how do I set the asking price?
Your asking price is based in large measure on the valuation of your business. There are many factors in any valuation, including income, cash flow, location, business history, lease terms, assets, equipment and current sales performance. We have several methods including valuation software programs and data with comparable sales. For larger businesses, we recommend third-party valuations that provide high credibility. Our professional network includes a number of outside valuation experts.

How can I maximize the value for my business?
Three things to remember here — documentation, documentation, documentation. The more documented evidence that supports the selling price, the higher your price can be. A buyer will pay top dollar for a business with organized and supportive books and records. We’ll review with you all the records you need to maximize your selling price.

What do buyers look for when considering businesses for purchase?
It’s hard to generalize, since the range of buyers is so wide. Many are first-time buyers; helping them understand the sales process is one of our most important objectives. That having been said, it seems true that most buyers prioritize the cash flow of the businesses they’ve targeted. Sellers must realize this — and keep operating their businesses profitably even after they’ve made the decision to sell.

What can a seller do to ensure a successful outcome?
Be prepared with all the necessary documentation. Operate your business as usual. Remain accessible, so that you’re always available to meet with your broker and prospective buyers. Here’s a useful approach: Ask yourself if you would buy a business under the terms and conditions you’ve imposed. If the answer is yes, you’re off to a heckuva start.

Should I finance the sale?
If you’re able to finance at least part of the sale, you’ll likely receive a higher price for your business. When you finance part of the deal, you widen the field of potential buyers. So there are tradeoffs here: immediate cash but a lower overall price, versus a higher price overall and a certain amount of risk.

How long does it take to sell a business?
No magic number here. Industry figures show an average of about five months or longer for a business to transfer. Several factors may influence the time-line. For example, if the business is priced to sell, if the seller is able to provide all relevant documentation, the transaction usually proceeds more quickly. When you have a database, as we do, that includes more than 7,000 prospective buyers, you eliminate most false starts. That also facilitates a speedier sale.

How long is the escrow process?
The average Bulk Sale Transfer usually takes about 30 days while the average Liquor License Bulk Transfer can require an additional 30-60 days. For more details, take a look at the Escrow chart in our Tools and Downloads section.

Should I hire a business broker? Can’t I sell my business myself?
You owe your professional success to your expertise in your field. The same is true of business brokers, who operate in a very specialized niche. If you try to manage the sale without the assistance of an experienced broker, you’ll find yourself dealing with unqualified buyers, coordinating all your listings and advertising, trying to maintain confidentiality — all this while striving to run a profitable company. A strong agent will spare you that frustrating chaos and exert a major influence on the price you receive for your business.