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How to Sell a Business Fast
There are times when a business owner needs to sell their business quickly. This could be due to health or financial reasons, or even a change in circumstances. Most business brokers agree that businesses generally take 6-12 months to sell, but what if you can’t wait that long?
It's possible to speed up the process by cutting through to the essentials. If you’re wondering how to sell a business fast, or if it’s even possible, this article highlights where to focus your efforts.
Make Yourself Redundant
The most important part of selling your business is making it attractive to prospective buyers. There are many ways to do this, but if you hope for a speedy sale, making yourself redundant is essential.
Buyers want to know that they can run the business successfully. If you are a crucial part of the day-to-day operation, buyers will wonder if the business will fall apart without you. Ask yourself this: if I take a month off, will the business still be making money when I get back?
If the answer is no, start taking steps to change that. Give more responsibilities to employees, make sure procedures are clearly recorded and ensure that money continues to come in even if you’re not the one making sales calls. If a buyer can see that the business is likely to run smoothly after you step back, they’ll be more confident about making an offer.
One of the longer steps of a business sale is due diligence. This is the step where the prospective buyer examines your business to ensure they understand it thoroughly. To do this, they investigate financial, legal and employment paperwork.
During due diligence you're expected to provide a wide range of documents, including profit and loss statements, income statements, balance sheets, lease agreements and contracts with suppliers, clients and staff. To speed up the whole process, gather all the documents together and make sure they’re easy to understand and ready to be handed over.
This should be done prior to starting the sales process anyway, but is essential if you want to sell your business fast. The quicker a buyer — or their lawyer and accountant — can verify this information, the quicker the sale can settle.
Look for Alternatives
Putting your business on "business for sale" websites and in newspapers is one avenue for finding a buyer. Both of these options can garner a lot of interest, but for a quick sale, putting out your own feelers can be valuable.
Think of your own circle of contacts. Do you have a cousin, neighbour or friend of a friend who might be interested in buying your business? What about your star employee or the apprentice who you took under your wing? You might find someone you already know who’s ready to take on the challenge of running their own business.
Just remember, confidentiality is still key, even when looking for a fast sale. Be careful who you mention it to so you can ensure your business keeps its value.
Contact a Professional
A broker understands how to sell a business fast. You may find a potential buyer in your contacts, but a broker's network is significantly larger. They talk to people who want to buy businesses every day. When it comes to marketing your business to serious buyers, a broker has the experience, knowledge and connections to do it right.
Brokers can also help you gather paperwork, create a summary document and keep confidentiality. Going through the process alone means researching what is required for these steps and trying to implement them. An expert already understands the requirements and has procedures in place, which helps to ensure that everything is done quickly and comprehensively.
If you have limited time, make sure to focus your efforts where they will give you the biggest returns. Utilising your contacts, preparing your paperwork and making yourself redundant will help, but remember to bring in the experts to really speed up your sale.