When selling your small business, you'll be bombarded with questions - from the brilliant to the ridiculous.
You need to be prepared for them all. The more you're prepared the better experience you'll have with potential business buyers.
Tim Cunha (SF Bay Area Business Broker at 650-600-3751) reviews many of these possible questions. Here are some questions you can expect to be asked:
1. Why would you want to sell your business?
Although, as a business broker, I tell business owners that the "best time to sell is when you're doing well," buyers always want to know the "real reason. My response usually is simple: it's the right time for the seller because of retirement, a move to another locale, or another business opportunity they want to pursue. And then I ask the buyer a simple question: "Would you want to buy a business that isn't doing well?"
2. What does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
The buyer wants to know if you have an economical, practical, scalable, and sustainable system and process for getting new customers.
3. What is the extent of your market penetration?
The buyer, being interested in future growth, needs to understand how big the current market is and what percentage of it you already own. And, how can that market be expanded, vertically and horizontally?
4. Who are the buyers of what you're selling?
Strategic buyers - those already in your industry - are looking for potential synergies between what you sell and what they sell. Knowing the details of your customers' demographics, you will be better equipped to help a buyer assess a strategic fit.
5. How do you produce, acquire, or process what you're selling?
By asking this question, potential buyers can assess the uniqueness and distinctiveness of your method of creating whatever product or service you make or deliver. Prospective buyers need to learn if you have proprietary systems or procedures that make you stand apart and would be difficult for a competitor to replicate. The more unique you are, the more valuable you may be. For obvious reasons, they will want to know if any of this unique or proprietary value depends on any one (or more) specific persons.
6. What (if anything) makes your product or service unique or special?
Knowing if there are aspects of your business that will protect the buyer from current and potential future competitors is vital to their assessment of your value. What, if anything, have you done to distinguish yourself from and protect yourself from the competition?
7. What are your operations and management processes?
Depending on the type of buyer, they are going to want to know how easily they can take over day-to-day and strategic management, or integrate it into their existing operations. They will want to know how you manage your bookkeeping and finances, marketing and sales, purchasing procedures and vendor relations, procedures for managing materials and inventory, and methods for producing and delivering the product or service.
8. What employees are essential to your team? ... to future success?
Any potential acquirer needs to understand the dynamics of your team—how deep is "the bench?" They need to know who are the key players, what motivates them, and how they will be incentivized to stay with your business once you are no longer the owner.
This list is not exhaustive, but it is a good insight into the kinds of questions you, and your broker, need to be prepared to answer to properly represent your business to prospective purchasers.
About The Author: Tim Cunha is a Business Broker in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having managed and sold several businesses of his own, Tim offers business sellers extensive personal experience and professional expertise in building business value, planning a successful exit strategy, "packaging" and promoting the sale, and coordinating a successful and profitable transition. Tim can be reached direct at 650-600-3751.
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Janet Carrera - Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - SF Bay Area
Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.
|Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area
McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.
|Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services
California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.
|Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses
Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.
|Prabhjot Randhawa, Broker: SF Bay Area, Northern Central Valley
I'm a Business Advisor at Liberty Business Advisors of San Fransisco. I have over 20 years of experience in all phases of entrepreneurship. During the past 15 years my concentration has been in business of mergers and consulting. I have owned and operated over 10 businesses.
|Matt Weiler, Business Broker: Gas Station Specialist
Business Broker Specializing in primarily gas stations. Geographic area of focus: San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento and as far South as Monterey, California. To sell or buy a small or large gas station phone Matt (gas station business broker specialist) direct at 408-623-0920.
|Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services
Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.
|Mike Brewer: Liquor License Brokers, ABC Consulting Services
Liquor license brokerage and consulting services. We provide: Alcohol License Transfers Application Consulting & Processing, Liquor License Purchases & Sales, City Zoning Permits & Land Use Entitlements, Public Convenience or Necessity Findings and Letters. Phone Mike Brewer direct at 800-437-1100.
|Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews|
|Buying A Business: Why Is It Important To Look At Its Tax Filings?
Business tax filings are very important factor in determining the credibility of business financials. Just seeing those financials, you can't determine whether those values are overstated or not. Some business owners provide made up financials to buyers - so, that's where tax fillings come in.
|Who Really Represents The Business Buyer In A Deal? Does Dual Agency Work?
Who really represents the buyer? The selling broker or agent through dual agency? Many brokers and agents weigh in on this Discussion on BizBen. Bottom line is all business buyers need to know who really represents them and has their best interest at heart when seeking and negotiating on deals.
|BizBen Index: Weekly Results - 274 California Businesses Sold 5/21 - 5/25
For the week of 5/21 thru 5/25, 274 California small businesses were sold by business owners, business brokers, and agents. In 2017 16,956 CA small businesses were sold. So far this year (2018) 3,896 small to mid-sized California businesses have sold so far by business owners, agents, and brokers.
|Thinking About Selling A Small Business? Know These 8 Factors That Matter
The likelihood of selling a business is often determined by external factors in the marketplace. Here are eight influences on how easy, or difficult it might be when selling a small California business. Peter Siegel at 866-270-6278 (BizBen ProSell Program) explains these factors for owner/sellers.
|Business Purchase Financing Expert Gives Tips On Proving Cash Flow
What are the actual "provable" adjusted net earnings (cash flow) of a small to mid-sized business being purchased? Buyers need to look carefully at all financial info for the "real" adjusted net income or cash flow. Peter Siegel, MBA (business purchase financing expert) at 866-270-6278 explains.
|Getting An SBA Loan To Buy A Small Business: Dispelling Some Major Myths
When seeking SBA loan financing many potential business buyers have wrong information about the process of securing the best financing to buy a business. Peter Siegel, MBA (at 866-270-6278) a business purchase financing expert delves into the myths and facts regarding SBA loan financing.
|Is Starting With A Higher Selling Price A Good Strategy? The Pros Debate
Is it a good idea to start with a higher sales price for your business when going to market? San Francisco Bay Area Business Broker Rob Hartman initiates this Discussion on BizBen with other Advisors And Intermediaries on BizBen discussing this basic strategy of selling a small business in CA.
|5 Dangerous Trends Small Business Seller/Owners Should Consider When Selling
Business brokers and other Advisors on BizBen discuss key areas small business owners should think about before they sell their small to mid-sized business. Topics include: Commodization, Amazon, Big Box Stores, Rules and Regulations, and Baby Boomers. Rob Hartman, SF Bay Area Intermediary explains.
|See All News, Tips And Events|