Is The Old Adage True: Your First Offer Is The Best Offer - When Selling A Business?

Comments & Replies: 4     Views: 6972     Posted By: Joe Ranieri  Joe Ranieri, Business Broker: LA, Orange Counties

Sometimes business brokers just can't win with their clients, because if an offer comes in too fast & too early then they must have lowballed the price & the seller is suspicious, and if not enough offers come in after putting the business on the market - they may look unproductive to their clients.

Topics: Buying A Business, Selling A Business     Tags: business brokers, buying a business, selling a business



Sometimes business brokers just can't win with their clients, because if an offer comes in too fast and too early then they must have lowballed the price and the seller is suspicious, and if not enough offers come in after putting the business on the market then they must not be doing enough advertising. A high priced offer from an unqualified buyer can be frustrating for a business broker because it skews a seller's expectations. Typically, most people whether they are selling their home, car or other personal property, they believe that it's worth more than it is, so if a high-priced offer comes in fast, it only validates that claim.

Selling a business is about finding the RIGHT buyer for the business. Selling a business under most circumstances takes time. I might write multiple offers on a business before finding one that's acceptable. Even if I know a seller may not accept an offer that a buyer wants to write up, I'll still write it up and if it's unacceptable have the seller write "Rejected" and initial so the buyer knows I'm not holding them at bay as a negotiating tactic and they know where they stand and can either counter, write up an acceptable offer, or move on and look for another business.

The first month of a business being on the market there is a flurry of activity and so a seller should not tie themselves down to an initial offer that is probably not going to go anywhere. When a qualified buyer comes along a seller should work with them, because it is true that the longer a business sits on the market the less eyeballs see the business and that my welcome buyers who try to take advantage of the seller.


I agree with Joe on many of these points but I would also like to add several more of my own suggestions from working with business owner/sellers and brokers and agents in the BizBen ProSell Program. I too believe the first 30 to 45 days are the most critical for selling a small business.

Here are my recommendations for owners and brokers who partake in the BizBen ProSell Program:

1. Price your business for sale correctly from the start - no games, have a reason why you priced the business the way you did - justify your price based on assets being sold with the business, annual cash flow, ROI analysis, history of earnings, competition, the ability for sustained and hopefully future growth. As an owner don't try and price your business yourself - get professional advice - advice without bias one way or the other. Remember 70% of small businesses in California never sell and the biggest factor is too high of price and the second is a deal structure that doesn't make sense! Get a professional business valuation completed before going to market.

2. Always accept back up offers and keep buyers moving forward - always. Have buyers who have given an offer on a time table to get things accomplished - like due diligence, getting approval for financing, meeting with the owner, lease renewal negotiations etc. If the current buyer balks, negotiates in bad faith or generally shows a lack of continued interest - move to the next buyer on the list pronto! As a professional courtesy make sure you let all potential buyers know where they "stand" in waiting to put an offer on your business.

3. Don't play games - let all buyers know where they stand when reaching out about making an offer on your business for sale. Stay firm on your price (remember you can always optimize the deal structure) - as long as you have priced your business correctly from the start you should have no problem getting a willing and able business buyer who sees your pricing logic and buys your business!


I think the operative word is "depends". A number of variables will help determine whether that first offer is indeed the best offer. As an agent, I know that one of my duties is that of protecting my client. What does this mean? It means that as a part of my protection, I need to vet all potential buyers to make sure that we have a buyer that can indeed proceed and complete the purchase. Therefore, things such as proof of funds and loan pre-approvals will help us to ensure that the ball will not be dropped and that we do not waste our time. The last thing that anyone wants is to drop out of escrow, which will do nothing but create a misconception to future buyers that your business is not properly priced or that it is not good investment. Yes, the longer the number of days on the market carries with it an inherent negative stigma. It is like the kiss of death and as an agent I do advise my clients on knowing when to consider taking an offer versus when to decline an offer. I would say, that my experience, has been that the first offer, as long as it is fair market offer, should be heavily considered. Why? One reason is simply put, if it's priced right, a savvy buyer will jump at the opportunity of making a decent offer. Furthermore, a savvy buyer will already have a good idea as to the business value and they will know it is a good deal. So, yes, "depends" will be dependent on your agent's knowledge, experience and his/her ability to guide you properly so that if that ship has arrived that that ship doesn't leave the port without you in it!


The key to a seller knowing if the first offer is "best" is having a reasonable and realistic market valuation. There should be some rational demonstrable basis for the price being asked. Willingness to discount a price too much or too quickly raises red flags of caution for buyers.

Sellers also have to realize that the "best" offer is not necessarily the highest offer--rather, it's the offer that will justify financing, from a reliable buyer with the resources and ability to actually close the deal. Furthermore, the price can often be justified by the structure of the transaction; here a professional broker can provide the expertise and creativity needed to devise a win-win deal structure.

Back-up offers are important, and they help keep the initial buyer on deadline. Nothing kills a deal more than the passage of time; and, some buyers suffer from "paralysis by analysis." They can't make a decision or keep to a time schedule. You need alternative options.



  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - San Francisco 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.

Helen Yoo, New Century Escrow - Escrow Services In Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Shalonda Chappel: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California

Escrow services to brokers/agents, sellers, & buyers. Established 43 years. Extraordinary service. Experienced with handling difficult transactions. One stop for all your escrow needs: Bulk sales, lien searches, UCC searches, liquor license transfers, publishing & recording services. 951-808-3972.

Janet Carrera: Escrow & Bulk Sale Service - 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.

Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - CA

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.

William F. Ziprick, Attorney: Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

Through creative problem solving, attention to detail, accessibility, & understanding that unnecessary delay is often a deal killer, I work closely with my clients and other professionals to consistently achieve a high rate of closings. Office: 909-255-8353, Cell: 509-951-7230.

Brad Steinberg, Business Broker: Laundromat Specialist

PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.


  Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews
Should I Buy A Business That is Losing Money? Feedback From Top Advisors

Are businesses worth taking a look at when they are losing money? Multiple Advisors & Business Brokers weigh in on this topic and say yes! (but be careful) on a BizBen Discussion. Some great feedback on this topic will make potential business buyers (and money losing sellers) want to read this info!

Confidentiality: Why Keeping A Deal Quiet Is Important To Sellers And Buyers

Owners should keep the fact that they want to sell their small business confidential. Before releasing information to prospective buyers, buyers should commit to confidentiality in writing & should understand why it is important. Peter Siegel, MBA a ProBuy and ProSell Advisor with BizBen explains.

Coronavirus: Advisors Discuss The Topic - Buying & Selling Small Businesses

During this time period of being "sheltered in place" we discuss strategies, best practices that business buyers, business brokers, agents, and owner/sellers are practicing or thinking about during these times of being immobilized. Also discussed are business types that may be good purchases.

Absentee Run Businesses - A Myth Or Reality When Buying A Small CA Business?

Buyers search for an absentee business, wanting to collect profits generated by a successful enterprise without having to stand at the sales counter or cash register, without having to cook, operate equipment or talk to customers. Peter Siegel, MBA offers his intake on absentee run businesses.

If You Plan To Offer Seller Financing: 3 Things Owner Sellers Need to Know

When selling your business, offering seller financing is a great way to help your business standout from others on the market and it is also a good strategy to consider that can help you close a sale. Peter Siegel, MBA (BizBen ProSel Program & Financing Expert) explains. Reach him at 925-785-3118.

Buying A Small Business That Is Not For Sale - Strategies For Business Buyer

Approaching business owners directly to see if they want to sell can sometimes work well for business buyers searching to buy a business. Another way is to broadcast your search criteria via the BizBen ProBuy Program to all brokers, agents, and intermediaries who sell businesses in California.

5 Myths About Selling A California Business: Best Tips For Sellers & Brokers

Peter Siegel, MBA (at 925-785-3118) - BizBen Director discusses myths associated with the process of selling a business and some of them can actually cause deals to fall through. Don't let your sale be comprised, be aware of these common misconceptions related to the process of selling a business.

Thinking Of Selling My Business: What Factors Create Value And Drive Price?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what enhances the value of a business. The following factors in this Discussion Post on BizBen are aspects of a business that really drives its value and pricing. Business owners thinking of selling should check these out these factors before selling.


Tim Cunha Business Brokerage
Health Care Broker Ralph Santos
Escrow Services Diane Boudreau-Tschetter
Veld Group Business Brokerage Los Angeles County
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Vlogs and Podcasts
Business For Sale California Stats
Advertise On BizBen
California Educational Events Buying And Selling Businesses
New Postings Reports On BizBen Sign Up
BizBen ProSell Program
Instant Email Alerts On BizBen


BizBen - Where California Deals Get Done! 888-212-4747
7172 Regional Street #364 · Dublin, CA. 94568
BizBen · Copyright © 1994 - 2020, All Rights Reserved



Clost Login


Please confirm your registration by clicking the link we've sent to .

If you can't see it, please check your junk mail folder.

If you have any problems registering, or need assistance with your new BizBen User Account please phone BizBen Customer Support at 888-212-4747.



First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email Address:*
Confirm Email:*
Create Password:*
Confirm Password:*
Phone:
(   
 


You Are A:
Individual
 
Intermediary
 

Email Address:
Password:
 

500 New & Refreshed Detailed Postings Daily
Over 2500 Resources Available On BizBen
Since 1994. Where California Deals Get Done!
Considering Hiring A Business Broker? Ask These Questions First, Then De...
Read More News
Buy A Business Or Start From Scratch? 5 Key Differences For Business Buy...
Read More News