How to sell a business

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How to sell a business
Roadmap f the deal
Every deal has unexpected twists and turns ... an experienced guide brings peace of mind!

BUYERS
BUYERS

Buyers

"I'm ready to work for myself."

Sellers

"I think it's time to sell."
SELLERS
SELLERS
1
Ready to Own

It’s one of life's toughest decisions: are you ready to be your own boss? The emotional and financial rewards of being self-employed can be great for those that are truly ready and willing to work hard to succeed.


First, pause and take stock of your life. You have to answer all the questions on the emotional checklist an enthusiastic “yes” before taking the plunge. Are you ready to work harder than you’re ever worked before? Are you passionate about the industry you’re about enter? Can you hear “no” often, and keep going with the same strength of spirit? How well do you overcome daily adversity? What is your risk tolerance? Remember, not every business succeeds, but those that do reap the rewards of being the boss!


Once you’re emotionally ready, run down the practical questions checklist to maximize your chances of success. Do you have the talent and knack for the business you’re considering? Do you have sufficient experience? Do you have sufficient financial cushion and investment capital? Do you have a good working knowledge of business fundamentals, or professionals you can rely on?


Lastly, take a moment and consider the classic debate between buying an existing business vs. starting one from scratch. (Spoiler alert: we’re enthusiastic fans of buying the right opportunity.) Buying the right business often means immediate cash flow, available financing, a great location, or a bargain purchase price.


Once you’ve walked the emotional checklist with your family and ticked off the practical requirements, you’re ready to find the right business. Business ownership isn’t for everybody, but for those up to the challenge, it is truly rewarding. Nobody said it will be easy!

 ...  Read More
1
Ready to Sell

It’s approaching fast: the time is coming when you won’t be in charge of the business. Perhaps you’re nearing retirement, struggling with your health, or maybe you just have a case of serious burnout; there are many reasons Owners decide it’s finally time to sell. It’s a difficult decision, but once you’re truly ready, it’s time to begin the process.


The first step is the most important one, and usually makes or breaks the sale: choosing the right business broker to represent you! You’ll rely on them to properly value the business, prepare the information package and supporting documents, advertise and market the business, negotiate offers, facilitate due diligence and escrow, and even negotiate with the landlord. And remember, the talent level, experience, and integrity of business brokers varies widely. 


So how can you select a good business broker? There are several things to consider, but in short, your broker should have a good reputation and plenty of experience selling a variety of businesses. They should understand and be aligned with your personal and professional goals from the sale. Lastly, you should be personally comfortable with them. Personality and style fit are just as critical as the professional and experience fit. You will disclose a lot of personal and financial data to them, and they will be a significant part of your life for the next 6 to 18 months in this very important deal! 


Start by getting referrals, visiting business brokerage websites, and interviewing brokers. Once you’ve narrowed it down, always meet the broker face-to-face to confirm you're comfortable working with them. Don’t forget to see an example of how they market other businesses; the material should be engaging and professional. 

 

Once you've selected the broker to represent you, you'll sign a listing agreement which outlines the terms of the broker's representation; there are some key terms to expect out of any reasonable listing agreement. Your broker can then start the hard work of selling your business.

 ...  Read More

It’s approaching fast: the time is coming when you won’t be in charge of the business. Perhaps you’re nearing retirement, struggling with your health, or maybe you just have a case of serious burnout; there are many reasons Owners decide it’s finally time to sell. It’s a difficult decision, but once you’re truly ready, it’s time to begin the process.


The first step is the most important one, and usually makes or breaks the sale: choosing the right business broker to represent you! You’ll rely on them to properly value the business, prepare the information package and supporting documents, advertise and market the business, negotiate offers, facilitate due diligence and escrow, and even negotiate with the landlord. And remember, the talent level, experience, and integrity of business brokers varies widely. 


So how can you select a good business broker? There are several things to consider, but in short, your broker should have a good reputation and plenty of experience selling a variety of businesses. They should understand and be aligned with your personal and professional goals from the sale. Lastly, you should be personally comfortable with them. Personality and style fit are just as critical as the professional and experience fit. You will disclose a lot of personal and financial data to them, and they will be a significant part of your life for the next 6 to 18 months in this very important deal! 


Start by getting referrals, visiting business brokerage websites, and interviewing brokers. Once you’ve narrowed it down, always meet the broker face-to-face to confirm you're comfortable working with them. Don’t forget to see an example of how they market other businesses; the material should be engaging and professional. 

 

Once you've selected the broker to represent you, you'll sign a listing agreement which outlines the terms of the broker's representation; there are some key terms to expect out of any reasonable listing agreement. Your broker can then start the hard work of selling your business.

2
Prepare to Market

Brokers do great deal of upfront work so they can professionally and aggressively market each business for sale. 

 


Prepare an Information Package


The information package summarizes the business, describes the circumstances of the sale, and shares why it is an opportunity to an interested Buyer. It includes photos and usually a video tour or an owner interview to add further depth. The package provides sufficient information for Buyers to decide either: (1) this business is interesting and worth further investigation, or (2) they should pass because it’s not a good fit for them.


Your broker will ask for your business documentation to create the package: financial statements, lease, asset lists, distribution agreements, non-compete agreements, work samples, marketing media, copies of any patents/intellectual property, special licensing, etc. We process this documentation, prepare it professionally, and use it to create the package and help answer Buyer inquiries. 



Become Knowledgeable about the Business


A good broker will quickly become knowledgeable about your business; it’s why we ask all those pesky questions! 


  • We are usually flooded with Buyer inquiries once we begin marketing. Since we only get one chance to make a good first impression on each Buyer, we must be prepared to answer any questions we may be asked. 


  • As we learn about each business, we occasionally uncover obstacles to a smooth sale: unsaleable inventory, unfavorable lease restrictions, expensive deferred maintenance, etc. We look at each business with a trained eye to identify and resolve any issues before going to market! 


  • We confirm the valuation of the business, and make sure the asking price is one the market will bear. Pricing too high, a business won't receive enough inquires to find the right Buyer. Priced too low it will receive phenomenal interest, but we probably left money on the table. 


By the time a good broker is finished, they will be able to represent the business with the highest level of knowledge and professionalism! Sellers can support this effort by providing all requested documentation quickly and accurately! The longer we wait to receive the documents we need, or the less accurate they are, the longer it takes us to bring your business to market. So help your broker out!

 ...  Read More

Brokers do great deal of upfront work so they can professionally and aggressively market each business for sale. 

 


Prepare an Information Package


The information package summarizes the business, describes the circumstances of the sale, and shares why it is an opportunity to an interested Buyer. It includes photos and usually a video tour or an owner interview to add further depth. The package provides sufficient information for Buyers to decide either: (1) this business is interesting and worth further investigation, or (2) they should pass because it’s not a good fit for them.


Your broker will ask for your business documentation to create the package: financial statements, lease, asset lists, distribution agreements, non-compete agreements, work samples, marketing media, copies of any patents/intellectual property, special licensing, etc. We process this documentation, prepare it professionally, and use it to create the package and help answer Buyer inquiries. 



Become Knowledgeable about the Business


A good broker will quickly become knowledgeable about your business; it’s why we ask all those pesky questions! 


  • We are usually flooded with Buyer inquiries once we begin marketing. Since we only get one chance to make a good first impression on each Buyer, we must be prepared to answer any questions we may be asked. 


  • As we learn about each business, we occasionally uncover obstacles to a smooth sale: unsaleable inventory, unfavorable lease restrictions, expensive deferred maintenance, etc. We look at each business with a trained eye to identify and resolve any issues before going to market! 


  • We confirm the valuation of the business, and make sure the asking price is one the market will bear. Pricing too high, a business won't receive enough inquires to find the right Buyer. Priced too low it will receive phenomenal interest, but we probably left money on the table. 


By the time a good broker is finished, they will be able to represent the business with the highest level of knowledge and professionalism! Sellers can support this effort by providing all requested documentation quickly and accurately! The longer we wait to receive the documents we need, or the less accurate they are, the longer it takes us to bring your business to market. So help your broker out!

2
Find the Right Business

Finding the right business to buy is often the longest part of the process. It is a “needle in a haystack” search; it's not as simple as scrolling through one master list of every local business for sale. Professional business brokers typically represent Sellers and have a collection of businesses for sale in their local market. Most have mediocre-at-best websites, so you often must inquire directly. Additionally, there are several larger marketplace websites with thousands of existing businesses for sale; those are excellent places to find potential acquisitions.


You can speed up your search if your expectations are properly set in advance.

  • Remember that business brokers market their businesses anonymously, and will insist you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before sharing any specific details.


  • Every Seller’s greatest concern is ensuring their prospective sale remain confidential; be a good citizen and follow BottomLine’s Buyer’s Code of Conduct to avoid unintentionally damaging their business.


  • Know what makes a particular business right for you! Don’t waste time looking at businesses that don’t match your requirements.


  • There are several core “Buyer Dos” and “Buyer Don’ts” that should guide your actions during the search process. Follow these common sense tips to ensure a smooth search.


  • Also remember that (the good) business brokers have many businesses for sale and speak with numerous Buyers every week. Part of their job is to make sure that interested Buyers are genuinely qualified to purchase the business! Make yourself stand out and be memorable, qualified, and easy to work with.


Be patient; this part of the process takes time. Some Buyers find the right business immediately, while others look seriously at a dozen or more. You’ll know when you've found the right one!

 ...  Read More
3
Evaluate the Opportunity

You finally found a business that caught your eye. What appealed to you? It’s different for everybody: a perfect location, it’s your dream business, a bargain priced asset sale, perhaps it has great cash flow, and other times it’s merely a great acquisition! In any case, it’s time to learn more.


Start with the broker; they’re your best source of information, as it’s their job to know everything worth knowing about the business. There are a number of questions to be answered before making an offer. The broker should be able answer them, as well as provide financial statements, the current lease, an asset list, and any other relevant documents. Remember that the material available varies. Asset Sales where the concept is not expected to continue often don’t have financials. Businesses with real estate included won’t have a lease, but instead include information on the property.


Remember, the business broker will be asking you questions at the same time! It is the broker’s job to determine if you are a qualified buyer, i.e. if you would be a good fit to purchase the business. The questions will cover the spectrum: experience (licensing, past work history, past entrepreneurial experience), financial (investable cash, credit scores, net worth), and “soft” questions (your backstory, why you want to own the business, etc.).


As you’re moving through this process, you’ll feel your mind shift as you learn more. If the business is a good fit, your original interest will grow and you’ll begin to see the potential. You’ll start to strategize what you’d do once you’re in charge. If the opportunity isn’t the right fit, no problem, move on to the next one! 


Remember that you’ll rarely get ALL your questions answered prior to making an offer, you’ll think of them faster than they can be answered. Start a list and save them for due diligence. 

 ...  Read More
3
Market the Business and Qualify Buyers

Your business is “on the market”!! Each business is aggressively advertised, 100% confidentially and anonymously. BottomLine advertises to:


  • Our database of interested Buyers.
  • The major business-for-sale websites.
  • BottomLine’s website!
  • Specialized groups (trade groups, associations, etc.) that may be interested in your particular type of business.
  • Assorted other venues, where appropriate for the business.


Sellers rest assured: no Buyer receives detailed information about a business until we receive a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement. 


We typically receive many inquiries on our businesses for sale, so the challenge is usually finding the “right” Buyer: one that is financially qualified, has the right experience, and “has the right story” behind wanting to own your business. We routinely get hundreds of inquiries before we sell each business; our job is to eliminate the tire kickers and unqualified Buyers and focus on genuinely interested parties. We’ll often interview dozens of prospects before even one becomes interesting.


However, once a prospective Buyer gets serious, we'll work with them in earnest. After prequalifying them, we’ll educate them about the business: this involves answering detailed questions, facilitating conference calls with the Seller, and arranging discrete tours of the business where appropriate. The goal is to help the interested Buyer decide if this opportunity is a “good fit” for them.


When a qualified Buyer is motivated to own, and they find a business that is the right fit at the right price, that’s the recipe to receive an Offer!

 ...  Read More

Your business is “on the market”!! Each business is aggressively advertised, 100% confidentially and anonymously. BottomLine advertises to:


  • Our database of interested Buyers.
  • The major business-for-sale websites.
  • BottomLine’s website!
  • Specialized groups (trade groups, associations, etc.) that may be interested in your particular type of business.
  • Assorted other venues, where appropriate for the business.


Sellers rest assured: no Buyer receives detailed information about a business until we receive a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement. 


We typically receive many inquiries on our businesses for sale, so the challenge is usually finding the “right” Buyer: one that is financially qualified, has the right experience, and “has the right story” behind wanting to own your business. We routinely get hundreds of inquiries before we sell each business; our job is to eliminate the tire kickers and unqualified Buyers and focus on genuinely interested parties. We’ll often interview dozens of prospects before even one becomes interesting.


However, once a prospective Buyer gets serious, we'll work with them in earnest. After prequalifying them, we’ll educate them about the business: this involves answering detailed questions, facilitating conference calls with the Seller, and arranging discrete tours of the business where appropriate. The goal is to help the interested Buyer decide if this opportunity is a “good fit” for them.


When a qualified Buyer is motivated to own, and they find a business that is the right fit at the right price, that’s the recipe to receive an Offer!

4
Make an Offer

You’ve found the right business and hatched a plan to turbocharge it. Now it’s time to begin the process of buying it.


An experienced broker who has done this many times before will guide you through the process. Together you’ll prepare a purchase agreement, the document which details the terms and conditions of your offer to buy the business. You’ll start with one of the standard forms used to handle these types of transactions, then customize it to suit the particulars of your purchase. Many of the terms will be straightforward, and are terms and contingencies commonly found in most properly prepared purchase agreements. Other terms have to be written from scratch, and are unique to your deal. Once you’re satisfied with the offer you and your agent have crafted, you’ll submit it to the Seller for their review. 


Expect some back-and-forth negotiations, as offers are seldom accepted “as is”, even if they are excellent. Price is one of the most common negotiating points, and terms frequently need to be clarified or revised. Your broker will facilitate the negotiations and handle the mechanics of the process, until a mutually acceptable offer is reached. 


A few details you may need to know:

  • There are two types of purchases: an Asset Purchase vs. a Stock Purchase. Asset Purchases are far more common; Stock Purchases are advantageous in fewer situations. There are pros and cons to each approach; your broker can help you decide between the two.
  • Some Buyers prefer to lead with a Letter of Intent (an “LOI”) rather than a purchase agreement. It’s a perfectly valid approach typically seen in larger, more complex deals. Just like everything else, there are pros and cons to this approach, your Agent can help you determine when to use an LOI over a purchase agreement.
 ...  Read More
4
Review the Offers

You’ve received Offers to buy the business; that’s very exciting! Now it’s time to evaluate them. The choices seem simple: you can either accept, counter, or decline.


However, there’s a lifetime of nuance in those options, and that’s where an experienced Broker really pulls their weight. We'll never make that decision on behalf of a Seller; we only facilitate the process. We can (and do) advise on what you might consider in the circumstances, how the terms of the offer might affect you, and what the broader impacts of your decision might be. A good broker has seen hundreds of deals over the years and can look at your circumstances objectively and from a different perspective to help you decide.


Expect some back-and-forth negotiations. We will handle the mechanics of the process until a mutually acceptable offer is reached; rarely are more than one or two counter offers necessary. And remember, price is not always the most important term of the deal!

 ...  Read More

You’ve received Offers to buy the business; that’s very exciting! Now it’s time to evaluate them. The choices seem simple: you can either accept, counter, or decline.


However, there’s a lifetime of nuance in those options, and that’s where an experienced Broker really pulls their weight. We'll never make that decision on behalf of a Seller; we only facilitate the process. We can (and do) advise on what you might consider in the circumstances, how the terms of the offer might affect you, and what the broader impacts of your decision might be. A good broker has seen hundreds of deals over the years and can look at your circumstances objectively and from a different perspective to help you decide.


Expect some back-and-forth negotiations. We will handle the mechanics of the process until a mutually acceptable offer is reached; rarely are more than one or two counter offers necessary. And remember, price is not always the most important term of the deal!

Under Contract*

You and the Buyer have agreed to terms and signed an offer … congratulations! This is a big step, but there a few important things to remember: 


  • Offers are generally contingent on the upcoming Due Diligence, the audit where the Buyer investigates the accuracy of the business’s books and records. The Buyer is not yet locked into the purchase; if the business doesn’t pass diligence to their satisfaction, they can typically withdraw without penalty prior to opening escrow.


  • Serious Buyers will take diligence seriously; it is a huge investment of a Buyer’s time, plus any funds they may spend on professional advisors (typically an accountant and occasionally an attorney). They have a lot of documentation to review in a very short time, so be prepared to support their efforts in a timely fashion.


  • Sellers can only accept one offer at a time, so this Buyer is now the front runner to purchase the business. However, experienced Brokers doing their jobs will continue to market the business and often accept backup offers on more popular businesses.
5
Due Diligence

Due diligence, the audit where the Buyer verifies the accuracy of the business’s books and records, must be completed before a Buyer will open escrow. Due diligence is essentially a very detailed quality control check: the Buyer is confirming that the business is “as advertised”.


Sellers can facilitate due diligence by producing all the requested documentation for their Buyers quickly and correctly. Keep the Buyer’s perspective in mind: they must review all the documents for accuracy, perform any facility or equipment inspections, and complete any financing or franchisor prequalification. At the end of the process, everything has to “pass the gut check” that buying this business will be a good purchase, well-suited to their business goals. That’s a lot to accomplish in a limited period of time! But generally, if all questions are answered to their satisfaction, your Buyer will have confidence in their purchase and will be excited to open escrow.


Keep in mind:

  • Buyers are typically wary entering diligence. Answering their questions helps inspire confidence, so everything you do (within reason) to support that effort is usually worthwhile.
  • You will produce a great deal of documentation in short order, and then wait for the Buyer to respond with yet more questions and documentation requests. Be patient, your Buyer is typically just being thorough. As long as they make steady and reasonable progress, honor their requests. 
  • Don’t get frustrated if the Buyer asks questions that seem obvious or that you feel implies there are issues with the business. Their job is to fact check to make sure their investment will be a sound one. Again, be patient. 
  • Remember, you’re evaluating the Buyer too! You’ll get a sense of whether they have the qualifications and experience to run the business, and if they can work with your customers. Your Broker should also receive documentation verifying the Buyer can finance the transaction.


Due diligence concludes when the Buyer’s questions are answered to their satisfaction, and any due diligence contingencies are released in writing.

 ...  Read More

Due diligence, the audit where the Buyer verifies the accuracy of the business’s books and records, must be completed before a Buyer will open escrow. Due diligence is essentially a very detailed quality control check: the Buyer is confirming that the business is “as advertised”.


Sellers can facilitate due diligence by producing all the requested documentation for their Buyers quickly and correctly. Keep the Buyer’s perspective in mind: they must review all the documents for accuracy, perform any facility or equipment inspections, and complete any financing or franchisor prequalification. At the end of the process, everything has to “pass the gut check” that buying this business will be a good purchase, well-suited to their business goals. That’s a lot to accomplish in a limited period of time! But generally, if all questions are answered to their satisfaction, your Buyer will have confidence in their purchase and will be excited to open escrow.


Keep in mind:

  • Buyers are typically wary entering diligence. Answering their questions helps inspire confidence, so everything you do (within reason) to support that effort is usually worthwhile.
  • You will produce a great deal of documentation in short order, and then wait for the Buyer to respond with yet more questions and documentation requests. Be patient, your Buyer is typically just being thorough. As long as they make steady and reasonable progress, honor their requests. 
  • Don’t get frustrated if the Buyer asks questions that seem obvious or that you feel implies there are issues with the business. Their job is to fact check to make sure their investment will be a sound one. Again, be patient. 
  • Remember, you’re evaluating the Buyer too! You’ll get a sense of whether they have the qualifications and experience to run the business, and if they can work with your customers. Your Broker should also receive documentation verifying the Buyer can finance the transaction.


Due diligence concludes when the Buyer’s questions are answered to their satisfaction, and any due diligence contingencies are released in writing.

Open Escrow*

Congratulations, you’re opening escrow! The business is officially off the market; you’ve found your Buyer. 


Opening escrow may seem like “just a paperwork step”, but it is actually quite important. Opening escrow instructions must be checked carefully, as the escrow officer will follow those instructions to the letter for the remainder of the transaction. Opening escrow starts the countdown to purchasing the business, and only when all of the requirements and tasks are finished can the purchase be completed. The Buyer and Seller are now committed to completing the transaction, unless one of the offer's contingencies cannot be completed.


Every deal has different terms, so every set of opening instructions will be different.

6
In Escrow

Escrow serves a valuable role; no business purchase should be without one. The escrow company facilitates completing the transaction, ensuring all the terms and conditions of the purchase agreement have been met before allowing the sale to complete.


Escrow is a crazy-busy time for Buyers; they’re performing all the tasks to take over a new business. Escrow is relatively busy for Sellers as well: you must run the company “as usual”, prepare for your upcoming exit, and support the Buyer’s efforts to step into the business.


Those tasks frequently include: 


  • Working with the Buyer’s team to provide any documentation or answer any questions. Financiers (bankers), attorneys, accountants, real estate appraisers, inspectors, etc. often require your input.
  • Working with escrow to clear any outstanding debts with tax agencies, landlords, or other creditors. 
  • Working with escrow to remove any issues with clear title to the assets.
  • Working with the landlord to assign the lease.
  • Working with the franchisor to clear and debts and transfer the franchise.


Escrow often feels to Sellers like they're simply waiting for the Buyer to “just get it done”. Just remember they’re working diligently to complete their side of the deal, but they have A LOT to accomplish in a short period of time. Also remember that Buyer’s contingencies remain active during escrow; if any contingency isn’t fulfilled and released, the Buyer won't be obligated to complete the purchase.


Actually, your most important task during escrow is to run the business at the top of your game. Whatever your primary day-to-day role is, put in your best effort. Continue to drive sales ferociously. You want to deal your Buyer the best starting hand possible. They are buying a going concern, and Buyers are typically nervous that business will slide right during escrow, right as the they are about to take over. Leave the company in great shape, so you have a strong finish and a satisfied Buyer!

 ...  Read More

Escrow serves a valuable role; no business purchase should be without one. The escrow company facilitates completing the transaction, ensuring all the terms and conditions of the purchase agreement have been met before allowing the sale to complete.


Escrow is a crazy-busy time for Buyers; they’re performing all the tasks to take over a new business. Escrow is relatively busy for Sellers as well: you must run the company “as usual”, prepare for your upcoming exit, and support the Buyer’s efforts to step into the business.


Those tasks frequently include: 


  • Working with the Buyer’s team to provide any documentation or answer any questions. Financiers (bankers), attorneys, accountants, real estate appraisers, inspectors, etc. often require your input.
  • Working with escrow to clear any outstanding debts with tax agencies, landlords, or other creditors. 
  • Working with escrow to remove any issues with clear title to the assets.
  • Working with the landlord to assign the lease.
  • Working with the franchisor to clear and debts and transfer the franchise.


Escrow often feels to Sellers like they're simply waiting for the Buyer to “just get it done”. Just remember they’re working diligently to complete their side of the deal, but they have A LOT to accomplish in a short period of time. Also remember that Buyer’s contingencies remain active during escrow; if any contingency isn’t fulfilled and released, the Buyer won't be obligated to complete the purchase.


Actually, your most important task during escrow is to run the business at the top of your game. Whatever your primary day-to-day role is, put in your best effort. Continue to drive sales ferociously. You want to deal your Buyer the best starting hand possible. They are buying a going concern, and Buyers are typically nervous that business will slide right during escrow, right as the they are about to take over. Leave the company in great shape, so you have a strong finish and a satisfied Buyer!

Close Escrow*

Closing escrow is a big deal! It means your Buyer is ready to take ownership of the business. All the terms and conditions in the escrow instructions have been completed, and all contingencies of the transaction have been released.


Closing usually happens very rapidly after the final tasks have been finished: the lease assignment, closing inventory, and all final licensing approved. It’s a flurry of activity until it isn't .... and then suddenly, the to-do list is complete and it’s time to close. Tomorrow the business will be owned by the Buyer! Sometimes it’s a touch anticlimactic, but don’t worry, there will be plenty of training and transition activity in the days to come.

7
Transition and Training

You're no longer in charge! You’ve entered training and transition, that fixed window of time to bring the Buyer up to speed. The training time varies among businesses and was agreed upon in the Offer.



Training

Train your successor thoroughly: impart your wisdom and experience. Focus on teaching those skills and knowledge the Buyer didn’t come with, where they can learn the most from you. These are typically the core areas of the business’s value: operations, a formula, a process, sales strategies, technical knowledge, etc.


If you’ve owned the business a long time, this is your chance to pass on your experience and ensure its’ continuity. The more thoroughly you train the Buyer, the better chance of success they will have!



Transition

As you’re training, you’re also transitioning operations and key relationships to the Buyer. Again, this varies among industries, company size, and the role you filled in the business, but your job is to support the new owner as you fade into the sunset. You'll transition the core areas of the business, including:


  • Day-to-Day Operations, which may range from supervising key staff and upper management, to operational details such as alarm codes, keys, utilities, passwords and accounts, bank accounts, etc.
  • Employees: Positively support the Buyer and his new role in the company. The employees may be nervous about the transition, so reassure them they are in good hands.
  • Suppliers and Partners: Help your Buyer leverage any existing perks such as special discounts, volume pricing, training or preferred product availability.
  • Clients: Personally introduce your Buyer to key accounts and share your strategies to maximize those accounts’ value.
  • Industry Relationships: Introduce your Buyer to any industry relationships worth having, so they have a chance to benefit from and cultivate them.


Be supportive of your Buyer: they're ramping up on a new business, so you may still run pieces of the show until they get fully settled in. It’s a lot to swallow all at once.


A final thought: Always over deliver during training and transition. The details of the purchase will fade over time, but your Buyer will always remember how well (or poorly) you treated them on your way out.

 ...  Read More

You're no longer in charge! You’ve entered training and transition, that fixed window of time to bring the Buyer up to speed. The training time varies among businesses and was agreed upon in the Offer.



Training

Train your successor thoroughly: impart your wisdom and experience. Focus on teaching those skills and knowledge the Buyer didn’t come with, where they can learn the most from you. These are typically the core areas of the business’s value: operations, a formula, a process, sales strategies, technical knowledge, etc.


If you’ve owned the business a long time, this is your chance to pass on your experience and ensure its’ continuity. The more thoroughly you train the Buyer, the better chance of success they will have!



Transition

As you’re training, you’re also transitioning operations and key relationships to the Buyer. Again, this varies among industries, company size, and the role you filled in the business, but your job is to support the new owner as you fade into the sunset. You'll transition the core areas of the business, including:


  • Day-to-Day Operations, which may range from supervising key staff and upper management, to operational details such as alarm codes, keys, utilities, passwords and accounts, bank accounts, etc.
  • Employees: Positively support the Buyer and his new role in the company. The employees may be nervous about the transition, so reassure them they are in good hands.
  • Suppliers and Partners: Help your Buyer leverage any existing perks such as special discounts, volume pricing, training or preferred product availability.
  • Clients: Personally introduce your Buyer to key accounts and share your strategies to maximize those accounts’ value.
  • Industry Relationships: Introduce your Buyer to any industry relationships worth having, so they have a chance to benefit from and cultivate them.


Be supportive of your Buyer: they're ramping up on a new business, so you may still run pieces of the show until they get fully settled in. It’s a lot to swallow all at once.


A final thought: Always over deliver during training and transition. The details of the purchase will fade over time, but your Buyer will always remember how well (or poorly) you treated them on your way out.

8
Ramp-Up the Business!

You’re done, the business is yours! You’ve finished one journey, only to begin another more challenging (and hopefully deeply rewarding) one. You’re now running the show, although perhaps not quite 100% comfortably. Don’t worry; that comes with time and experience. 


It’s time to start executing your master plan. Maybe it’s a complete rebrand, or perhaps you’re adding new products or services. Perhaps you’re absorbing a business into a larger company. Some Buyers invest full throttle in marketing and advertising ... a web and social media blitz.


Whatever your approach, you’re in charge now, and your business can go as far as your ambition, skill, and effort will take you. Remember, good luck is the result of good planning and hard work. So get to it!

 ...  Read More
8
Wrap Up and Wind Down

You’ve handed over the business, which is operating full speed ahead under new leadership. There are always loose ends after you’ve passed the reins, so it’s time to wrap up and wind down: 



Wrap Up

Outstanding tasks rarely line up 100% with the handover date, so there are usually loose ends for the business that overlap into the Buyer’s ownership. They vary from deal to deal, but often include: 


  • Completing any outstanding projects.
  • Billing and collecting any final accounts receivable.
  • Paying any outstanding accounts payable.
  • Paying any remaining government taxes: sales, employment, etc.


Wind Down

Wind down activities vary widely. Sellers frequently close down the entity that owned the company; sometimes because it will no longer be used, other times for liability protection. Wind down activities may include: 

  • Closing supplier accounts.
  • Closing state accounts.
  • Closing the entity with city, state, and federal agencies as required.
  • Financial wrapup, such as closing bank accounts, credit cards, etc.


Sellers often have extended relationships with their Buyers after the training. You may be receiving note payments or have a consulting agreement with the new owner. Maybe it’s as casual as being available for your Buyer to call for help when they get in trouble.


Whatever the case may be, you’re now free to move on to whatever awaits you! Enjoy your newfound freedom!

 ...  Read More

You’ve handed over the business, which is operating full speed ahead under new leadership. There are always loose ends after you’ve passed the reins, so it’s time to wrap up and wind down: 



Wrap Up

Outstanding tasks rarely line up 100% with the handover date, so there are usually loose ends for the business that overlap into the Buyer’s ownership. They vary from deal to deal, but often include: 


  • Completing any outstanding projects.
  • Billing and collecting any final accounts receivable.
  • Paying any outstanding accounts payable.
  • Paying any remaining government taxes: sales, employment, etc.


Wind Down

Wind down activities vary widely. Sellers frequently close down the entity that owned the company; sometimes because it will no longer be used, other times for liability protection. Wind down activities may include: 

  • Closing supplier accounts.
  • Closing state accounts.
  • Closing the entity with city, state, and federal agencies as required.
  • Financial wrapup, such as closing bank accounts, credit cards, etc.


Sellers often have extended relationships with their Buyers after the training. You may be receiving note payments or have a consulting agreement with the new owner. Maybe it’s as casual as being available for your Buyer to call for help when they get in trouble.


Whatever the case may be, you’re now free to move on to whatever awaits you! Enjoy your newfound freedom!

BOUTGH!
BOUTGH!
Bought!
The energy and drive you bring will propel you to success!
Sold!
The company is in good hands. The next chapter of your life begins!
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