7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a Small Business
Each year in the United States, entrepreneurs start over 600,000 new businesses. Unfortunately, not all of these companies reach the heights their founders intended.
Investing in effective business management tactics is an important component of running a successful business that all entrepreneurs should prioritize.
Not everyone knows how to sell a small business. We’ve developed a quick guide full of business selling tips that explains all of the essential things to consider. Let’s get started with what you need to know about selling a small business.
1. Inaccurately Representing Your Business
This is one of the most common mistakes small business owners make when putting their company up for sale. Undervaluing (or overvaluing) your business can immediately turn off potential buyers, so it’s important to be realistic about what your business is worth.
You may also develop a reputation for being dishonest, which will make it even harder to sell your business down the road.
2. Not Having a Solid Exit Strategy
When you’re ready to sell your small business, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to do next. Do you want to retire? Start a new business? Travel the world?
Whatever your plans are, you need to communicate them to potential buyers so they know what to expect. Having a solid exit strategy will also help you negotiate a better sale price for your business.
3. Not Preparing Your Financials
One of the first things potential buyers will want to see is your financial information. If you’re not prepared, it will be difficult to get a good price for your business.
Make sure you have your books in order and can provide potential buyers with accurate information about your revenue, expenses, and profit margins.
4. Failing to Negotiate
Many small business owners are afraid to negotiate when selling their business, but it’s important to remember that you are in control of the sale. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want — you may be surprised at how much you can get!
5. Not Understanding the Tax Implications
Selling a small business can have major tax implications, so it’s important to understand the laws before you finalize any deal. Speak with a tax advisor to make sure you are taking advantage of all the tax breaks available to you and that you are not paying more taxes than you need to. It’s also important to remember that failing to pay your taxes can come with legal penalties.
So, even if you’re not planning on selling your business anytime soon, it’s still a good idea to stay up-to-date on the tax laws.
6. Not Having a Lawyer
When you’re ready to sell your small business, you need to have a lawyer on your side.
A lawyer can help you navigate the legal aspects of the sale, including drafting a sales agreement and ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is in order. Having a lawyer can also help you protect your interests if there are any disagreements during the sale process.
7. Not Working With the Right Buyer
Just because someone offers to buy your small business doesn’t mean they are the right buyer. It’s important to take your time and find a buyer who is a good fit for your company. They should have the resources to properly run your business and be able to meet your expectations for the sale.
Otherwise, you may end up regretting the sale down the road.
How Do I Find the Best Buyer For My Business?
Consider working with a professional. A broker can help you find the right buyer for your business and negotiate a sale price that is fair for both parties. They will also be able to handle all the paperwork and legal aspects of the sale so you can focus on running your business.
You can also talk to your lawyer or accountant. They may know of potential buyers who would be interested in your business. You can also post an ad online or in your local newspaper.
Just make sure you include all the important details about your business, such as its size, location, and type of business. You should also include your asking price. It’s also a good idea to work with a business broker.
What Red Flags Should I Watch Out For?
As you might guess, one of the biggest red flags you need to keep an eye out for is buyers who are trying to lowball you. If someone offers you an unreasonably low price for your business, walk away. It’s also a good idea to be wary of buyers who want to pay in installments or with a promissory note. These types of deals can be very risky and often end up costing the seller more money in the long run.
Another red flag to watch out for is buyers who are reluctant to put anything in writing. If a buyer is unwilling to sign a sales agreement or other paperwork, it’s a good sign that they are not serious about buying your business. Don’t waste your time with these types of buyers — move on to someone who is more serious about the purchase.
Finally, be wary of buyers who want to rush into a deal. A legitimate buyer will understand that you need time to think about their offer and consult with your advisors. If a buyer is pressuring you to make a decision right away, it’s a good sign that they are not looking out for your best interests.
Selling a Small Business Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
Selling a small business may seem difficult, but it’s much easier than you might expect. Make sure that you consider the above information so you can avoid obstacles you may have encountered.
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