If you have never sold a business before, who better to lead the sale process than the guy who knows far more about the business than anyone else? Who better to steer the ship than the gal who knows exactly what she wants from the sale of a business?
Before you answer, pause for a moment to consider the possibility you might just be the worst possible person to sell your company.
Why? As the one most emotionally attached to your business, you will likely find it difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate with a prospective buyer in a detached, dispassionate and effective manner.
In the mid-market range, most buyers are experienced and skilled in buying companies just like yours. They understand that all deals travel rough and shark-infested waters because they are the sharks! Their favorite meal is the owner sailing the sale waters alone.
And at some point, all sales negotiations become intense. Experienced transaction professionals anticipate and manage the inevitable lulls and storms few owners have the stomach to endure.
But let’s assume, as you might, that you will have no problem navigating the rough waters of the typical sale process. Can you do so while simultaneously doing everything necessary to keep your business running at full steam? Rare indeed are the owners who can keep their companies running at peak performance while negotiating the intricacies of a sale.
If there was ever a time to stay focused on your company, it's while you are negotiating the sale of your business, a process that often lasts six months or more. Any drop in company productivity, sales or income is like blood in the water and will be subject to the buyer’s scrutiny. It also has the potential to scuttle even the best deal.
And keep in mind that once the deal closes, you are the only member of the cast who may have to work with the buyer as an employee. The more crucial you are to the success of your company, the more likely it is that a buyer will require your continued services after the sale. For that reason, many sellers understand it might be in their long-term interest to assume a less visible, and thus less adversarial, role during the sale process.
If you allow your deal attorney, business broker or investment banker to take the lead in negotiations, you are better positioned to remain detached from, yet still in control of, the process. For example, if your lead adviser reaches an impasse with the buyer’s representatives, you can insert yourself at the appropriate time to break a deadlock. This is precious capital you cannot afford to squander by being in the thick of the fray, day in and day out.
As transaction intermediaries (business brokers and investment bankers) are quick to point out, the right transaction intermediary should bring value to the sale process. They argue that you should receive more money on better terms when they organize and conduct negotiations.
You may find the assistance of a good transaction intermediary to be valuable in:
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