How long will it take to sell my business?

On average, how long can I expect for it to take to sell my business? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process? Are there any shortcuts I can take?

image with caption_1.jpg

If the goal is to maximize price—as it usually is—the sale process can take substantially longer than a business owner might expect. The sale process frequently requires six to nine months from the time an owner is fully prepared to sell his or her business to the ultimate closing of the deal, including buyer outreach efforts, the fielding of indications of interest, due diligence, the negotiation of final terms and documentation, and any pre- and post-closing adjustments. Although these specific steps are considered by many to be the sale process, they really constitute just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, an essential part of any deal is the preparation phase, which can take several months or longer and can have a material impact on the length of the sale process and outcome of the deal.

"The only effective way to shortcut the sales process is to plan far ahead for your desired liquidity timeline."

Being thorough during the preparation phase—including engaging trusted advisors early in the process—can dramatically speed up the entire sales process and improve the outcome. This preparation phase involves simulating the due diligence that a potential buyer will ask of your business, including gathering critical and accurate financial, human resources, marketing, customer, supplier, environmental, regulatory and legal information. Ultimately, the only effective way to shortcut the sales process is to plan far ahead for your desired liquidity timeline, and work towards that goal with the aid of your trusted advisors by proactively implementing the best practices of a much larger organization into your business.

Garrett M. Wilson, CFA, CVA

RGL Forensics, Denver, Colorado

7887 East Belleview Ave, Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80111 US

(720) 360-3142 /