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How Long Will Selling My Business Take

The process of selling a business can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on the size and complexity of the business. It typically consists of four main stages: Presale Preparation, Valuation, Marketing and Prospecting, Negotiations and Due Diligence, and Sale and Transition.


During the presale preparation stage, the business owner needs to assess any areas of the business that need to be improved or updated before it can be put on the market. This can take anywhere from 1-3 months. The next stage is business valuation, which typically takes 1-6 weeks. After that, the broker will begin the process of marketing and prospecting, which can take 1-6 months. During the negotiations and due diligence stage, potential buyers will assess the business and negotiate a price. This typically takes 1-3 months. Finally, the sale and transition process occurs, which can take 1-3 months.

What can business brokers do and, what can’t business brokers do?

Business brokers are the professionals who will facilitate the successful sale of your business. It is important that you understand just what a professional business broker can do — as well as what they can’t. They can help you decide how to price your business and how to structure the sale so it makes sense for everyone — you and the buyer. They can find the right buyer for your business, work with you and the buyer in negotiating and along every other step of the way until the transaction is successfully closed. They can also help the buyer in all the details of the business buying process.

A business broker is not, however, a magician who can sell an overpriced business. Most businesses are saleable if priced and structured properly. You should understand that only the marketplace can determine what a business will sell for. The amount of the down payment you are willing to accept, along with the terms of the seller financing, can greatly influence not only the ultimate selling price, but also the success of the sale itself.

What Can I Do To Facilitate The Process?

A buyer will want up-to-date financial information. If you use CPA's, accountants, or bookkeepers, you can work with them on making current information available, likely in quickbooks ar some similar software program. If you are using an attorney, make sure they are familiar with the business closing process and the laws of your particular state. You might also ask if their schedule will allow them to participate in the closing on very short notice. If you and the buyer want to close the sale quickly, usually within a few weeks, unless there is an alcohol or other license involved that might delay things, you don’t want to wait until the attorney can make the time to prepare the documents or attend the closing. Time is of the essence in any business sale transaction. The failure to close on schedule permits the buyer to reconsider or make changes in the original proposal.

What Happens When There is a Buyer For My Business?

When a buyer is sufficiently interested in your business, he or she will, or should, submit an offer in writing. This offer or proposal may have one or more contingencies. Usually, the contingencies concern a detailed review of your financial records and may also include a review of your lease arrangements, franchise agreement (if there is one), or other pertinent details of the business. You may accept the terms of the offer or you may make a counter-proposal. You should understand, however, that if you do not accept the buyer’s proposal, the buyer can withdraw it at any time. At first review, you may not be pleased with a particular offer; however, it is important to look at it carefully. It may be lacking in some areas, but it might also have some pluses to seriously consider. There is an old adage that says, “The first offer is generally the best one the seller will receive.” This does not mean that you should accept the first, or any offer — just that all offers should be looked at carefully.

Once you and the buyer are in agreement, both of you should work to satisfy and remove the contingencies in the offer. It is important that you cooperate fully in this process. You don’t want the buyer to think that you are hiding anything. The buyer may, at this point, bring in outside advisors to help them review the information. When all the conditions have been met, final papers will be drawn and signed. Once the closing has been completed, money will be distributed and the new owner will take possession of the business.

How Important is Seller Financing?

Surveys have shown that a seller who asks for all cash, receives on average only 70 percent of his or her asking price, while sellers who accept terms receive on average 86 percent of their asking price. That’s a difference of 16 percent! In many cases, businesses for sale that are listed for all cash just don’t sell. With reasonable terms, however, the chances of selling increase dramatically and the time period from listing to sale greatly decreases. Most sellers are unaware of how much interest they can receive by financing the sale of their business. In some cases it can greatly increase the amount received. And, again, it tells the buyer that the seller has enough confidence that the business for sale can, indeed, pay for itself.

Eliminate Surprises

What Financing Options 
are Available?

When it comes to financing a business the options are limited compared to other purchases. In reality there are basically 2 options outside of seller financing, SBA loans and Private Money. The SBA doesn't actually do loans, they give the guidelines and secure them on behalf of the lenders who are approved to offer them. 

When it comes to Private Money, there are several forms those funds can be made available. First is simply a typical loan or cash-out loan on an asset such as a home or investment property. They can also come in the form of investment dollars from wealth managers, hedge funds, or family offices, but these are typically only available for middle market deals of $10 - $50 million dollars and are often an investment play to later sell or divest for a profit. 

Any of these methods can work for the right situation. We can help you determine which is right for you or your buyer as we do the funding for most of the transactions ourselves.

There are several ways to finance a business, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common methods:


Self-Financing: Many entrepreneurs use their own savings to start their business. This can include cash savings, retirement accounts, or equity in real estate. While this provides maximum control over the business, it also puts personal assets at risk.


Friends and Family: Entrepreneurs often turn to friends and family for initial funding. This can be beneficial since these individuals may offer more favorable terms than traditional lenders. However, borrowing from friends and family can strain personal relationships.


Bank Loans: Traditional banks and credit unions provide a range of loan products, including term loans, lines of credit, and equipment loans. These loans usually require a solid business plan and good personal credit history.


Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: In the United States, the SBA guarantees loans made by banks to small businesses, reducing the bank's risk and making it easier for businesses to get funding. SBA loans require a detailed application and collateral but offer competitive terms.


Angel Investors: These are individuals who provide capital for startups, typically in exchange for equity or convertible debt. Angel investors can also provide valuable mentorship and networking opportunities.


Venture Capital: Venture capital firms invest in startups and early-stage companies that have the potential for high growth. In return, they usually require equity in the company. This type of financing can help a business grow rapidly, but it often comes with strings attached, such as giving up some control and a share of future profits.


Crowdfunding: Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow entrepreneurs to raise funds from a large number of people, usually in exchange for a product or service. This can be a good option for consumer-focused businesses.


Trade Credit: Suppliers may offer trade credit, which allows businesses to delay payment for goods and services. This can help manage cash flow but requires good relationships with suppliers.


Leasing: Instead of purchasing, businesses can lease equipment, vehicles, and even premises. This can help reduce upfront costs.


Grants: Some government agencies and organizations offer grants to certain types of businesses, particularly in industries like technology, education, and healthcare. 


Each financing method has its benefits and drawbacks, and what works best will depend on the specific circumstances of the business, including its stage of development, financial condition, and growth prospects.

What does a Valuation Cost

The cost and duration of a business valuation can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the business, the purpose of the valuation, and the valuation firm conducting the analysis. Here are some general guidelines:

Cost: Business valuations can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. For small businesses, the cost might be in the range of $3,000 to $7,500. For larger and more complex businesses, the cost can easily exceed $10,000 and can go up to $50,000 or more. Factors that can affect the cost include the size of the business, the complexity of the business operations, the industry in which the business operates, and the purpose of the valuation (e.g., for a potential sale, for litigation, for tax purposes, etc.).


Duration: The time it takes to complete a business valuation can also vary widely. A simple valuation might take a few weeks, while a more complex valuation could take several months. Factors that can affect the duration include the availability and quality of the business's financial records, the complexity of the business's operations, and the workload of the valuation firm.

*As a side note we do offer free valuations in certain circumstances and for the purposes of working with either very small businesses or just to get an idea of what a sale might bring to the owner. We can use these for a sale and can do them if we are listing the business for sale. Certified and Non-Certified valuations have their place and we will recommend them when appropriate.

Can I sell the business Myself and if so, What Challenges would I face?

Yes, you can sell your business yourself, but whether it's advisable or not depends on several factors:

Advantages of Selling the Business Yourself:

Cost Savings: Hiring a business broker or investment banker can be expensive. They typically charge a commission based on the sale price of the business, which can be a significant amount of money. By selling the business yourself, you can save on these fees.​

Control: Selling the business yourself gives you more control over the process. You can decide who to approach, how to market the business, and how to negotiate the deal.

Disadvantages of Selling the Business Yourself:

Time and Effort: Selling a business is a complex and time-consuming process. It involves preparing a sales memorandum, marketing the business, vetting potential buyers, negotiating the deal, and managing the due diligence process. If you're also trying to run the business at the same time, this can be a significant burden.

Lack of Expertise: Unless you have experience selling businesses, you may not have the expertise to navigate the process effectively. This can result in a lower sale price or a deal that is not structured in your favor.

Limited Network: Business brokers and investment bankers often have a network of potential buyers that they can tap into. If you're selling the business yourself, you may not have access to as many potential buyers.

Emotional Attachment: As the owner of the business, you may have an emotional attachment to it, which can cloud your judgment and make it harder to negotiate effectively.

In general, if your business is small and you have the time and expertise to manage the sales process, selling the business yourself can be a viable option. However, for larger businesses or for business owners who don't have the time or expertise to manage the sales process, hiring a professional can be a good investment.

What Types Businesses do you Sell or Specialize In?

At Axis Business Advisors, we specialize in helping business owners and buyers come together to make successful transactions.


We are business agnostic and can provide expertise in a variety of industries, such as tech, healthcare, entertainment, construction, hospitality, and automotive. Our experienced team is here to help make the process of buying or selling a business as simple as possible.


We understand the complexities of buying and selling businesses and have a track record of successful deals. We provide a comprehensive range of services to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible, from initial valuation to due diligence and finalizing the deal. We are dedicated to helping business owners and buyers achieve their goals.

What happens if my business doesn't sell?

If your business doesn't sell, there are several options and steps you can consider:


Reevaluate Your Asking Price: The price might be the biggest hurdle. If it's too high, potential buyers may be deterred. You might need to lower your expectations and adjust the price to make it more attractive.


Improve Your Business's Financial Performance: If your business isn't profitable or if there are financial issues, it might be hard to attract buyers. You could focus on improving the financial health of your business before trying to sell it again.


Enhance the Appeal of Your Business: This could involve improving your business operations, customer base, products or services, or other aspects that could make your business more attractive to potential buyers.


Consider Seller Financing: If obtaining financing is a challenge for potential buyers, you could consider offering seller financing, where you provide a loan to the buyer to purchase the business. This can make your business more attractive to buyers, but it also carries risks as you're relying on the buyer to make the payments.


Hire a Business Broker or Advisor: If you were trying to sell the business yourself, you might want to consider hiring a professional. They can help you market your business, find potential buyers, and negotiate the sale.


Wait for Better Market Conditions: If the market conditions are poor, it might be hard to sell your business. You could wait for a better time to sell.


Consider Other Exit Strategies: If selling isn't working, you might want to consider other exit strategies. This could include merging with another business, passing the business on to a family member, or liquidating the business.


Remember, selling a business can take time, often longer than you might expect. It's important to be patient and persistent, and to consider getting professional advice if you're having difficulty selling your business.

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