Selling a Business: What’s the first thing you should do?

Maybe you’ve been waiting for this moment all your life – aaahhhhh, retirement. Or maybe you think the market is right and you want to get out while the getting’s good. Either way, you’ve decided to sell your business, and you’re wondering what steps you should take. Well, before you post to Facebook, decide on a price or even tell your mother – here’s the very first thing you should do.

I’m selling my company. Where should I start?
If you’ve ever seen people who tried to DIY home improvements and ended up calling a contractor… if you’ve ever seen someone who tried to cut their own hair and ran to a salon in tears… there are some things that are best left to professionals. Just as your business wasn’t built alone, neither should you sell it on your own. Build a team of subject-matter experts – specialists who have been helping buy and sell businesses for years.

Sell your business with confidence: Business Brokers
A business broker can help assess the market value of your business – including intellectual property, customer databases and intangible assets like the business goodwill, your website and value to the community. And who can put a price on your staff – are they going along with the business, or will they be terminated? Not only can a business broker help you with all of these issues – and so many you haven’t even thought of yet, they can help you improve the value of your business before you put it on the market, through some strategic upgrades. You’ll get maximum market value, maximum dollars in your pocket.

Don’t proceed without expert advice: CPAs
There are tax implications to selling a business, of course. You probably already have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who handles your income, state and federal taxes, but can they help you with sales tax, income tax and capital gains? Our on-call CPAs have extensive experience in all of the above, and can help you understand the tax laws that may affect you as a small business owner or sole proprietor – and will walk you through every step of the process. No surprises.

The ins and outs of the law: Attorneys
S corporation? C corporation? What’s a Letter of Intent? The laws are different depending on your corporate standing and they’re not to be trifled with. We partner with a number of local attorneys and can recommend a specialist depending on the size of your business – to offer clarity and prevent any mis-steps in this important process. Again, nobody wants surprises when selling a business – especially at the closing.

Advertise to sell: digital marketing
A common myth is that if your business is well known, in a small town, or on a major road – a “For Sale” sign, or word that it's for sale may be enough to sell your business. Big mistake! That is one sure-fire way to minimize your value, and potentially harm your business if the local perception is that you are getting out of business. Or, maybe you’re planning on a succession plan – your child, an employee or a friend could be a prospective buyer. But to maximize the number of interested buyers, and get maximum value, you'll need to reach out to a bigger pool. This often includes putting ads in newspapers and trade publications, and on business-sale websites, and designing a digital advertising campaign including emails and targeted outreach to likely strategic buyers and investment funds.

By building a team with the right credentials, not only can you sell your business efficiently, but you’ll avoid possible legal and financial ramifications. The first thing to do when selling your business? Build a team of pros.