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Your decision to sell:

Making the decision to sell your company is a tough one.  However, when you decide to do so, make sure it’s a priority in your life.  A common mistake is when a seller starts the marketing process and it’s not a priority, it’s becomes obvious to buyers.  Unlike a residential real estate transaction, there are only a limited number of buyers for any business.  If a buyer walks, many times they will not come back.  

Information Gathering:

In my opinion, this is by far the most important aspect to increasing the probability of selling your company for the greatest amount and for the best terms.  It is important to remember, if a buyer has cash and is in an acquisition mode, they will find a company to buy whether it is yours or not.  Be prepared to present the buyer with all company information in a timely, organized and professional manner.  The longer you take to present requested information, the more your company looks unorganized.  Why does a buyer want to purchase an unorganized company?  When there are problems on the surface there are usually a lot more underneath.  Remember 90% of an iceberg is underwater.  Buyers have a lot to learn in a short period of time … don’t make it difficult for them.  If a buyer wants to look at certain information, get it to them in an organized fashion and get it to them quickly!  

Finding buyers and working towards closing:

Actively finding, qualifying, and communicating with buyers is a full time job.  If you are running your company, you need to continue to do so and hire an experienced merger and acquisition professional to sell or merge the company.  Just like any task in life, the more you do it, the better you get.  I have been involved in over 120 merger and acquisition transactions over the last 10 years and have seen people “on the other side of the table” make the same mistakes over and over.  Mistakes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There is too much money at stake, and you don’t get a second chance.

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