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Do you want to sell your business in the shortest time, for the most money? Here are some things to consider:

Proper Preparation is Key

In a normal market with the right preparation, it takes on average 8 to 10 months to sell a  business.  If the work isn’t done ahead of time the business may never sell.  To sell your business in the shortest time, for the most money:

– Have a clean set of financial statements, preferably 3 years of comparative numbers.  A prospective buyer is going to rely on this information when he makes his offer, so the numbers must be verifiable.  Nothing kills a deal faster than information presented that cannot be substantiated.  Ask your advisor or trusted business friend to role play with you to flush out questions a prospective buyer may ask, and be prepared in advance.

Have Realistic Expectations

Do you know what your business is worth?  Listing the business at an unrealistically high price is a waste of time.  Look at what other comparable businesses are being sold for in your industry.  Usually a business broker will give you a free estimate of value, and if done properly will be very close to current market conditions.  Selling your business is an emotional undertaking, but just because you think it is worth something doesn’t make it so.  Support your expectations with market data and price your business fairly.

Market to your Prospective Buyers

Advertise your business on business for sale websites, and send out targeted mailings if appropriate. Prepare a Confidential Business Review to send to interested buyers that shows your business in the best light while providing information needed for a prospective buyer to take the next step and meet with you.

Openly Communicate and Facilitate

Open communication between the buyer and the seller is key to a smooth transaction.  Answer questions promptly, move the deal forward and work through Due Diligence to everyone’s satisfaction.  Talk with your advisors in advance and be aware of your options.

With proper preparation, pricing, marketing and structure, you can sell your business in the shortest time, for the most money.

Steve Barnett has broad-based experience in small to middle market advisory activities.  Prior to becoming a Business Broker, he  served as CFO, Controller and VP Finance of both Manufacturing and Professional Service Companies with expertise in the Aerospace, Consumer Products, Banking and Staffing Industries. Known as “The Valley Business Broker”, Steve serves Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.  Visit Steve’s website at www.TheValleyBusinessBroker.com.