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I want to sell my business – what route can I take?

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Should I use a business transfer agent to sell my business?

If you feel the time is right to sell your business, your next step will be to determine your options to market the sale of your business. There are a variety of avenues through which you can sell your business; however, this will depend on your management appetite, the level of risk you are willing to take and your end goal. Each route will consist of different levels of responsibility, varied costs and a range of time frames.

In the run-up to this stage, assess your circumstance to ensure that realising the value of your investment works in alignment with other business ventures. If you are counting the months to your retirement, plan with sufficient time ahead of you, synchronising the transfer of reins to match your retirement. Selling your business when it is soaring high can give you the best possible chances of maximising market value, as a business with the potential to grow is investment-worthy and deemed appealing by prospective buyers.

Taking professional advice at this point can help you make an informed decision during the business preparation and business valuation stage. Before entering the stage of negotiations, you will need to conduct a business valuation to ensure that you target suitable buyers and aim for an asking price which fulfils market value or beyond. The Selling My Business team answer our most popular FAQ – I want to sell my business – what are my options?

Sell your business using business transfer agents

This is a popular route and a highly recommended option for those new to business selling, company owners with alternative business commitments, or individuals who would rather assign the responsibility to an expert in the trade of business transfer. A business transfer agent is highly skilled in buying and selling businesses and well connected which allows them to offer a full-circle service, from preparing your business for sale, business valuation, sourcing a buyer and negotiating the best possible deal.

At Selling My Business, we have an in-house valuation team who can share their expertise, along with providing a fast turnaround service. Most skilled business transfer agents will be able to market your business to an existing database of actively searching business owners in your sector. This can be a cost-effective solution if you appoint an agent on a no upfront fee.

Sell your business privately

Arranging the sale of your business privately is a route taken by experienced business owners with the necessary contacts in the industry to facilitate a quick sale. As part of the private sale process, you will be required to advertise the business to prospective owners, taking into consideration the confidentiality aspect if you would like to privately market the business without alerting employees and suppliers.

This route can take time, as without the relevant expertise, industry knowledge and legal understanding, you could hinder your chances of a successful sale. The experience of a business transfer agent is indispensable as by buying into the service, you also have access to their understanding of sale price trends and buyer behaviour, all of which can help you reach the best outcome for your business.

Sell your business using an online business selling platform

As part of the private sale route, you may turn to online business selling platforms to market your business to attract prospective buyers around the globe. Bespoke online platforms are also used by brokers and business transfer agents to advertise your business privately to clientele. You may be charged a listing fee, however, check the popularity of the site by tracking visitors and Google rankings as this is a reflection of site credibility. Research client testimonials and customer reviews as these will demonstrate performance.

Sell your business using a business broker

A business broker is an intermediary responsible for sourcing a buyer, conducting sale negotiations and managing communications between the owner and prospective buyer. A broker is typically used to conduct the sale of larger-scale businesses or industry-specific businesses; however, this can be a costly route as you are typically charged an engagement fee, unaffected by whether the business is sold successfully or unsuccessfully.

The preparation stage running up to sale negotiations will affect the business valuation, making it a key part of the business selling process. A business transfer agent will guide you through the process, however, if you are managing the sale of your business solo, you must carry out the relevant steps to tie up loose ends, streamline costs and paint your business in the best possible light to generate interest. Settle any outstanding debts and liabilities, enforce strict credit control measures and collate the necessary paperwork in advance to reduce the likelihood of delays staggering the completion process.

At Selling My Business, our team have combined experience of over 100 years’ in the business transfer trade and have a variety of industry interests. We have a database of over 10,000 potential buyers so we can match your business with a passionate individual. If you’re interested in selling your business and you’re exploring what options are on offer, contact the Selling My Business team for more information.

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