Category: 12 Common Mistakes

Keep the wrong people on the bus

Most buyers, particularly private equity groups or other sophisticated buyers, aren’t looking to buy your company so they can get a job—they’re looking for an investment. (This assumes your company is earning more than $500,000 a year.) What these investors are particularly interested in is a strong leadership structure that isn’t totally dependent upon you. In … Continued

Don’t clean up your room

Similar to selling a home, it’s important to present your company in the best light. Remember what your realtor told you about “first impressions”—the same is true when it comes to your business. Keep your offices and nearby areas as clean and orderly as possible. Buyers do notice!

Ignore the Importance of CPA Prepared Finances

Nothing lowers your valuation more quickly than incomplete or inconsistent financial records. I strongly recommend investing in a CPA firm to conduct an audit or review of your financial statements from the previous five years. On the surface this may appear to be a sunk cost with no return. However, CPA-prepared financial statements will attract … Continued

Sell to a Competitor

While strategically it may make sense to sell to a key competitor, I have yet to meet a competitor that didn’t feel he was one sale away from putting you out of business. In addition, despite the confidentiality agreement, you expose your business and its key competitive advantages, including process efficiencies, customer contacts, product development, … Continued

Treat confidentiality lightly

You’ve decided to sell your business and you can’t wait to tell your friends and family. No problem, right? Wrong. Until a transaction is completed, sharing the news of your pending sale could have serious negative consequences for the value of your business. Competitors will use the information to attack your customer base. Employees will … Continued

Wait too Long to Sell

Naturally, you want to sell your company when it will fetch its highest value. But like selling a stock at its peak, it’s a very difficult thing to do. Most business owners are so caught up in their own success that they believe it will last forever. A company’s fortunes, however, can change quickly, and … Continued

Use a business broker

Business brokers are a valuable resource for selling local retail stores or franchises, but not business enterprises. An investment banker, on the other hand, works specifically with business enterprises to capitalize on the unique value they offer. As part of this process, an investment banker will develop a strategic marketing plan and a confidential sales … Continued

Go to Market Uncommitted

Many business owners put their companies on the market in hopes of fetching an extraordinary price for their company. The truth is that these windfalls are rare. Instead, buyers need to keep their expectations realistic, because offering your company at a price far above fair market value exposes your business to significant risk and disruption. … Continued

Take your eye off the finish line

It’s only human to fantasize about how you’re going to spend your time and money upon selling your business. But while you’re dreaming of all the exciting changes to come, be sure to stay grounded in business fundamentals, such as pursuing new opportunities, making important strategic decisions, and adequately taking care of customers. It may … Continued

Go at it Lone Ranger-style

As an entrepreneur, you’re used to taking charge and doing things yourself. But when you’re ready to sell your business, you’ll want an expert at your side. A seasoned investment banker will manage the bidding process to maximize your company’s value. Your banker will also help you structure complex deals and offer you legal and … Continued