How to Sell Your Company for More Than It’s Worth

Are you considering selling your company?

Buying low and selling high is the dream of almost every single person in the world. When questioned how to sell your company for profit, the answer lies with people like Warren Buffett and Donald Trump billionaires. This advice sounds amazing, is amazing, but it is much more difficult to navigate than you would think. If it truly were that simple there would be many more millionaires walking around today. If you are looking to sell your business the odds are not in your favor. Many businesses are listed but never sold and many times the ones that do sell are sold for much less than the seller hoped for. However, Michelle Seiler-Tucker, business broker and founder of Capital Business Solutions, says that you can potentially sell your business for much more than its worth if you have the ability to follow a few instructions.

“Unfortunately many business owners wait until a catastrophic event has occurred in order to sell their business and when that usually happens the business is typically trending downward and it’s not making as much money as it once was,” she says. “The best time to sell a business is when your business is doing well.” Timing is everything in life and in the business world it is no different. Do not wait until your business has peaked. If you are going to sell do so when business is booming.

She also noted that the majority of businesses do not have their books in good enough shape to be attractive to potential buyers. If you are hoping to sell high, then you need to have your books in tip-top shape. “Most business owners live out of their business in order to decrease their tax liability so many [of them] are running all kinds of personal expenses and non-recurring expenses through their business, such as travel, meals, entertainment, repairs, etc., and this is really true discretional earnings so we have to dig deep, go through all the books and records and add those personal and non-recurring expenses back to the bottom line. This is one of the most crucial aspects of learning how to get your company to sell for more than it is worth.

Branding is also important to the selling price of your business. There are five levels of branding that range from not knowing the company to only using and recommending the company. You obviously want to be recommended by customers because that is free advertising. Not only is branding key but so are the customers. If you have a small list of clients, then your business is not going to be as attractive. If you are the only client, then you are in trouble.

Understanding what makes a business valuable is what will help you to set your business apart from the plethora of others. Not only do you need to invest in a strong brand but you need to diversify your clientele. Learning how to put your company up to sell is not the easiest thing in the world but it can be accomplished by learning the ins and outs of your business. Once you are able to do this you will be well on your way to selling your business for much more than you ever thought possible.

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Sell a Business Successfully

Some hurdles to  consider when selling a business

According to a recent survey 6 in 10 business owners are looking to sell a business in the next year alone. This is a sharp rise from other years and many are placing the blame on baby boomers that are looking to retire or simply move on to another field of interest. If you are one of these owners, then you have many large hurdles in front of you that need to be cleared before you can walk away with money in your pocket. Having a business to sell is a great way to finance a new career path, retirement, or it can help you tie up loose ends. Regardless, it is your business and you can choose what you do with it and when you do it. Here are some things to remember along the way.

Preparing Your Business for Sale

While your word might be as good as gold, perspective buyers are not going to simply take your word as gold. When it comes time to sell you need to have already prepared the proper paperwork. This includes identifying your accounts are receivable as well as your accounts being payable. You should have a clear list of clientele and what the relationships consist of. You need to clearly identify the employees you have as well as their importance to your business. The proper research must be finished before the business ever hits the open market. Having a business to sell is one thing. Having a business ready to sell is an entirely different ballgame.


What is your business to sell worth? This is a million-dollar question that many have struggled to identify. The best way to determine the value of the company is by adding all of the assets and subtracting the debt. Another option is to look at yearly income and then multiply by 5. One of the best options is to bring in outside counsel for an unbiased and professional approach. Do not sell yourself short but make sure you do not overprice the business.

Who Is the Target?

Who are you going to sell your business to? Finding the right buyer can be very tricky and many times business leaders will seek the help of investment bankers to find potential buyers. When you have a business to sell the last thing you need to be worried about is finding a buyer. Make sure you have exhausted the ranks and you have placed the word with the right people in the right circles. Spend time talking with others in your field. Perhaps a competitor would like to buy you out. Regardless of where they come from it is important that you line up potential suitors before you pull the plug.
Your business has been your life for a long time. You have hundreds of thousands of hours invested and untold amounts of money. Making the right decision about selling can be made a lot easier by simply doing your homework along the way. If you have a business to sell then you need to take the time to properly vet and document all there is to know about the business before it hits the market.
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Prep Your Business for Sale the Smart Way

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When deciding to put your business for sale, there are many factors that you must consider and plan for in advance. While your current structure and management might meet your needs they might not be the best suited for a quick and profitable sale. As the owner of the business, your goal is to make as much money as you can in the shortest amount of time possible. With this end goal in mind let’s examine a few areas of your business that could be fine tuned in the effort of maximizing your profit.

Lead Management Team

The goal of every growing business is to structure itself in such a way that the owner does not have to be involved in every single aspect. Having a great executive team will not only help you maximize your income but it will also serve as a reminder to prospective buyers that the business can operate successfully without your involvement.  Scott Humphrey is the Executive Director and Head of U.S. Mergers & Acquisitions of BMO Capital; he says, In the case of an existing owner, the buyer needs to come in and not only get comfortable with the business but ensure the business will continue to grow without the owner. This increases risk greatly.

Middle Management Team Structure

While the executive team in any business is vital to the success of the company, the most overlooked aspect of the management team is the middle management areas. Perspective buyers are looking for a business that has a solid foundation from which to pull future executives. Further, middle management is typically the team that delivers the day to day results that drive the business. When putting your business up for sale it is imperative that your company is bolstered with a solid middle management team.

Financial Information

While most businesses are adept at keeping their inner financial information secret, this is not going to be possible with a purchase in the near future. The common practice is to make sure you have at least 2 years of audited records to showcase the strengths of the business. Additionally, before your business becomes listed for sale, it is important to make sure you have separated any holdings that you would like to keep or sell at a later time. Examples could include items such as real estate.


Clients are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, the business will fall apart and all of your employees would be left jobless. Buyers need to know what the customer base looks like and how diversified it really is. An example for this can be seen in our business portfolio. If your company is based on a single large relationship then your bottom line could be adversely affected simply because of how damaging it would be if that client were to leave.

As the time approaches for you to make your business available for purchase you are going to be attacked from all sides with a plethora of information. Making sure you have the right information, as well as the right strategy, will help create an environment where your business transaction runs smoothly and you end up very profitable. Make sure you follow these tips as you set up your sale for the business.

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How to Market Your Company for Sale

Company for sale

For many small business owners, the desire to sell a company is not very strong. However, there do come times when it is necessary or it is simply time to move on and market your company for sale. Yet navigating the waters of selling a business can be harder than trying to start the business. It is not in your best interest to simply place a sign in the window and you certainly want to be careful when it comes to customers, creditors, and the competition. Unless you are going to target a specific competitor, you do not want them to know you are looking to sell. Discretion and confidentiality are the keys here and they need to be listened to. You could do a quick Google search for “sell my company” but that will only take you so far. The best thing to do is to prepare for the sale of your company now for what could potentially come in the future.

The first thing you need to be aware of is the definition of your likely buyer. Who are they? Who would want to acquire my company for sale?What will they need to possess in order to purchase? Is your business going to be marketed towards anyone wanting to start a business or does it need to be more specific? Can anyone with money buy the business or are you looking for a credentialed buyer? Are you looking for a sole individual buyer, a group buyer, or are you looking to sell to a competitor? These are all questions that need to be answered when you start asking about selling your business.

Once you have determined the type of buyer you are going to market to, you need to research how to find that person/group. It might be beneficial to compile a list or a guide of the specific details you are looking for. You may be able to list your business for sale on the Internet or maybe you will choose to use a classified section in a reputable business magazine. You also have the option of hiring a consultant to help in this matter as they could have deeper connections in your field. They could also have the ability to tap into perspective buyers.

Once you have identified the person you are looking for and the manner in which you will seek them, take the time to study your area and learn what could make your business more appealing/attractive. This is also a good time to examine your business and adjust any areas that might have been overlooked or neglected. Remember, a healthy business is a very attractive business. If your company is deemed unhealthy it could still sell but it will not bring the revenue you seek.

Once you come to the point where you say, ?I want to sell my company?, you need to already have laid the groundwork for the sale to be successful. You may want to read this post on how to exit a company successfully. Without proper due diligence and legal wrangling your sale will fall flat and you will be back to square one. The best way to market is to build a strong business, know what you want and whom you want, surround yourself with the best resources, and ultimately allow the business to work for you.

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How Do You Make Your Company Sale-Ready from the Beginning

When starting a company your goal is to eventually grow and sell it for more money than you could ever imagine! That is the goal of many entrepreneurs, to make their companies sale-ready, and yet very few make the needed changes to achieve that goal. The most common mistake is failing to lay the groundwork for the company to survive without you. The key is to make your company sell ready from the very beginning. Regardless of when you sell the company, there are active steps that you can be taking to make sure your business can be sold at any time. The following tips are just a few ways that you can make sure that when you do place your company for sale, you will be able to achieve your dreams.

Buyers are looking for several key attributes in a company that is listed and ready for sale. They are interested in profitability, the culture, the management, how competitive your business is, and ultimately, how well the company can be scaled. Incurring large sums of debt is a bad policy to live by personally so why do so many businesses do it? If your company is in debt this will detract from the profitability and will likely scare off investors. Does your company for sale have a competitive edge? If your business is simply providing commodities that can be purchased elsewhere then you are not making an attractive business for perspective buyers.

Is growth a possibility with your business? Most prospective buyers are not looking to be painted into a corner. If the business has no potential for growth, then the buyers are not going to waste their time. Make sure you are building your business with growth in mind for it to be successfully sale-ready. Finally, do your employees understand the fine details of the business? If the team is poorly trained, or if you are simply poorly staffed, buyers are not going to find your business as attractive as they could.

There are also several ?technicalities? involved with the business model of trying to build it for future sale. Are your employees classified correctly? If they are not then you could be opening your buyer up to potential tax issues. If you are leasing a space for the business, has the landlord approved the transfer of the lease into another name? if not, and the business must move, is this going to be a workable solution? How are the long term contracts of the suppliers that you use? Many times these contracts are based on personality and any unsettling movements in the business landscape could cause major ripples. Has the business handled the proper tax liability?

If you are looking to the future, then you are probably already planning to have your company ready for sale at some point. Make sure you have examined these aspects of business life to assure that you are doing all you can now to prepare for the future. The decision to place your company for sale is not something to take lightly. Setting the groundwork for future sale is going to require a bit more research and legwork but the benefits will far outweigh anything you could imagine.

Are you considering selling your business? We can help you. Contact us anytime at?