QUESTIONS SELLERS ASK
The following are some of the most common topics and questions frequently brought up by sellers.
If you have any questions that we have not covered please don’t hesitate to contact us.
On average, between six to nine months to sell most businesses to find the right match of the right buyer for the right business. Keep in mind that an average is just that. Some businesses will take longer to sell, while others will sell in a shorter period of time. There are many buyers looking right now, but your business must be the exact one that appeals to the buyer at this exact time. Not only must your business be just right, the price and terms must fit into our buyer’s ability. Buyers want facts. Business Finders Canada is performance driven and will make every effort to bring interested and qualified buyers to you as quickly as possible.
Ultimately a business is only worth what the market will pay. This will be dependent upon a number of factors:
- How much are the assets of the business worth?
- How much positive cash flow does the business generate?
- How stable is the goodwill of the business?
- What opportunities are there to expand the business?
- How stable is the workforce?
- Does the business have security of premises?
- How dependent is the goodwill upon the current owner?
In summary, valuing a business is multi-faceted, and no set formula works for all.
It doesn’t make any difference what you think your business is worth, or what you want for it. It also doesn’t make any difference what your accountant, banker, attorney, or best friend thinks your business is worth. Only the marketplace can decide what its value is.
Determining the value of the business is the first step in preparing the marketing plan.
We will create a series of blind, non-specific advertisements that will go out to our Buyer’s Pipeline. We have several qualified buyers looking for businesses. Business Finders Canada has developed a strong presence in the Internet and your business will be on over 250 websites across North America and beyond. We also speak to a list of prospects provided by you.
Buyers will want to review several items during due diligence. The following is a list of what most buyers want to see:
Here is a general list that you need to prepare…
- Up to 3 years of Accountant prepared financials – including P&L statements if available
- Up to 3 years of balance sheets
- Up to 3 years of tax returns
- Payables – trade or otherwise
- Vehicle list / titles to vehicles
- Vendor list, Inventory list, Equipment list, Customer list
- Franchise or licensing agreements
- Employment contracts
- Equipment list & value of equipment at current market value (used)
- Value of inventory at your cost (not retail)
- Value of real property (if included in the sale)
- Copy of the lease if business is on leased real property
When a buyer is sufficiently interested, we will assist in the preparation of a written offer to purchase. This Purchase Agreement will spell out the buyers offer in detail. The offer will contain several contingencies that the buyer feels must be met before the transaction goes to actual closing. We will present all offers to you for consideration until you find one that is acceptable to you. This is a contract and you will have the right to accept, counter or reject. It is important to know that time is important and this contract will expire if you do not respond. If you accept the offer, or you counter it and the buyer accepts your counter, be prepared to do some fast work to remove the contingencies.
Business Finders Canada will introduce your business to prospective buyers after they have signed our non-disclosure agreement. They will start the process through the written profile about your business along with detailed verbal description and response to questions. We encourage the buyer to visit your business (when possible )to get a feel for the location, facility and nature of your operation. If there is continued interest we will then setup a buyer/seller meeting that will allow you to meet each other and to go into your business with greater detail. We should now have a very interested prospect.
A buyer will want up-to-date financial information. If you use accountants, you can work with them on making current information available. If you and the buyer want to close the sale quickly, usually within a few weeks, unless there is an alcohol or other license involved that might delay things, you don’t want to wait until the attorney can make the time to prepare the documents or attend the closing. Time is of the essence in any business sale transaction. The failure to close on schedule permits the buyer to reconsider or make changes in the original proposal.
You are not required to finance any portion of the sale of your business, but you need to be aware of the many reasons to consider this option. With reasonable terms, the chances for a timely sale increase dramatically, and at a higher purchase price. The major reason is that most small businesses attempt to minimize the profits shown on financial statements to reduce tax liability. You will need to understand that your new buyer will be considered a new start-up without any track record. Seller financing may be the only way to sell your company.
Training will be important to most buyers. They need to learn your bookkeeping system, opening and closing procedures, who your suppliers and vendors are and their agents, introduction to employees and customers and general product knowledge. The normal time asked for is for 30-days with under two weeks actually being utilized.
Although it sounds harsh, our considerable experience has proven that it is best not to tell your employees about the sale until immediately before or immediately after the sale. Of course, if there is an employee whose expertise will be needed after the sale, you should introduce the buyer to this employee shortly before closing. Your business broker can assist you in determining the timing for notifying employees of the sale.
A business broker is a person or firm who/which acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of small businesses.
Business brokers are the professionals who will facilitate the successful sale of your business. It is important that you understand just what a professional business broker can do — as well as what they can’t. They can help you decide how to price your business and how to structure the sale so it makes sense for everyone – you and the buyer. They can find the right buyer for your business, work with you and the buyer in negotiating and every other step of the way until the transaction is successfully closed. They can also help the buyer in all the details of the business buying process.
A business broker is not, however, a magician who can sell an overpriced business. Most businesses are saleable if priced and structured properly. You should understand that only the marketplace can determine what a business will sell for. The amount of the down payment you are willing to accept, along with the terms of the seller financing, can greatly influence not only the ultimate selling price, but also the success of the sale itself.
We recommend it. A lawyer might be helpful and is always suggested, but not required. Many transactions conclude successfully without one. If you’re more comfortable using a lawyer, we can recommend a few who are experienced.
Yes. We require a contract. Most businesses take between seven to 12 months to sell. In the same way that your business took years to show its potential, selling a business also takes time. Unfortunately, it’s not reasonable to expect the whole process to be completed in a month’s time.
Your business name is never included in our marketing. Buyers sign a non-disclosure agreement, at which time you have full say on whether the name and additional information on your business will be released.
A market valuation shows what a business is worth and can sell for at this moment. Our market valuations are based on multiple factors including actual cash flow and hard assets. We then apply an industry specific formula to determine your market value.
An astute buyer can typically start with an offer that is substantially below your asking price. This initial offer is normally used as the first step in the negotiation process to test the waters. All offers will contain contingencies, including a review of the books and records, obtaining a satisfactory lease, and agreement on training and transition periods. Contingencies are normal as they provide the buyer with the opportunity to verify the information presented in the marketing materials. They also provide some negotiating room for the purchaser as the process moves forward.
Businesses that are owner financed almost always sell better than those that aren’t. In addition, businesses that offer seller financing often sell for 10-15% higher than businesses that do not, although it is more about opportunities to close the deal than actually adding value.