Dear Aunty B,
I have a successful small business and decided its year nine, and time to sell! How on earth do I go about it? Business brokers don’t seem to get the business or inspire any confidence. Can I sell my business myself?
No, you can’t. A business is not something you whack on eBay and watch the bids climb. In fact very few people would even consider selling their business themselves.
Tom McKaskill is SmartCompany’s columnist on selling a business. As he points out, the entrepreneur knows her business and should understand better than anyone where it has growth potential – which is the basis for a higher sale price.
BUT selling a business is a specialist activity with its own set of legal and accounting issues, and this is one area where experience does count.
Even an experienced entrepreneur who has sold several businesses might like to have an adviser in his team to assist in the negotiations. There is considerable benefit in having an objective, knowledgeable person on your team to provide feedback, suggestions and to keep the negotiation process moving forward.
So should you use a business broker or investment banker to help sell your business? The answer really depends on how well you understand the process of selling a business, whether you already have willing buyers in your sights, and whether you have prepared the business for sale.
He says if you are unsure about how you should prepare your business in order to achieve the best offer, or if you are uncertain how to attract the right buyers, then getting help from professionals who undertake those tasks on a regular basis makes sense.
But make sure the professionals don’t take over or are after a quick sale to grab a commission.
So L, our advice to you is keep looking for the right broker. Keep interviewing until you find someone who shares your vision and sees the potential of your business (while realising that all entrepreneurs are prone to rose coloured glasses syndrome when it comes to price).
Your Aunty B