Why is Selling a Business so Hard?

Jacob Orosz headshot
by Jacob Orosz (President of Morgan & Westfield)

Executive Summary

Causes

The Process

  • It’s complicated – Businesses are complex with countless moving parts that make for a nuanced, inefficient process. Lots can go wrong, and both parties have much to lose, so things can get disharmonious and slow.
  • It’s based on trust – Letters of intent are non-binding, and the purchase agreement isn’t usually signed until closing, which means the process is entirely based on trust until the very end.
  • It’s unpredictable – On a long enough timeline, anything can go wrong, and that’s doubly true of selling a business. Deals are difficult to predict.
  • Useful information is scarce – Many parties enter the process with a limited understanding of the steps involved and unrealistic expectations about the timeframes or what may be required of them.
  • The failure rate is high – The sale is a complex, multi-step process where every step must be successfully completed to reach the next stage, or the deal will die.

The Market

  • The market is inefficient – The desire to maintain confidentiality can limit exposure for the business.

Buyers

  • Buyers are unpredictable – Selling a complex asset subject to significant interpretation, to a diverse group of buyers with a wide range of experience, sophistication, and preferences, in an inefficient market with intriate processes. The result is simple – buyers can be unpredictable.
  • Buyers are risk-averse – Buyers can lose a lot of money if things go wrong, so they’ll do everything they can to mitigate risk.
  • Many buyers are sophisticated – Many sellers hire inexperienced advisors and go up against highly experienced, sophisticated buyers.

Sellers

  • Few businesses are prepared – Less than 10% of sellers have optimally prepared their business for sale.
  • Few sellers are emotionally ready – Few sellers are emotionally prepared for what they’re about to encounter.
  • Sellers may have unrealistic expectations – Hearsay and unrealistic expectations are common due to a lack of experience and information on the process.

Sellers and Buyers

  • Most parties aren’t clued-in – Many parties aren’t familiar with M&A and can slow down the transaction due to a lack of understanding.
  • Sellers & buyers don’t always take advice – Some parties don’t listen to their professional advisors, which causes unnecessary delays.
  • A lack of experienced advisors – Others hire professional advisors who have limited M&A experience, which also causes delays.

Third Parties

  • Third parties add uncertainty – Third parties add another layer of uncertainty to any deal, especially if they have no incentive to get the deal done.

Action Steps

Prepare for the Sale

  • Build the Best Team – Hire the most experienced advisors you can, which should include an M&A advisor, an M&A attorney, and an accounting firm (to prepare a QoE).
  • Educate Yourself – Learn about the process of selling a business, the technicalities of the deal, and the aspects of exiting that can present a challenge.
  • Set Realistic Expectations – If the value of your business doesn’t meet your expectations now, develop a plan to increase the value until it does.
  • Prepare Your Business for Sale – This is by far the most neglected part of the process by sellers and involves the following:
    • Exit Plan – Retain an M&A advisor or investment banker to prepare an exit plan.
    • QoE – Retain an M&A firm to perform a quality of earnings analysis.
    • Data Room – Prepare for due diligence by uploading the documents to a virtual data room.
  • Prepare Emotionally – Educate yourself on the process so you understand what to expect on a personal level. Talk to other business owners who’ve been through the process before.
  • Build a Support Network – Arrange a network of friends and professionals who can serve as your sounding board throughout the process.
  • Build a Buyer Database – Begin building a database of potential buyers as soon as possible, which may help you identify buyers that would otherwise have been missed.

Doing the Deal

  • Pick the Right Buyer – Listen to your gut and your advisors and pick a buyer you trust.
  • Listen to Your Advisors – Hire the best professional advisors you can and listen to them.
  • Move Fast – Prepare in advance so you can move fast once the deal gets going.
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FAQs

  1. Are some transactions easier than others? Yes, but it’s difficult to predict which transactions will be difficult and which will be a easy, even for seasoned advisors. Be prepared, and consider yourself fortunate if it all goes smoothly.
  2. How does a buyer’s personality affect a deal? While the mechanics of a deal may be straightforward, a buyer’s bravado can complicate a transaction immeasurably. Take bold claims from buyers with a pinch of salt.
  3. Is our fee reduced if the deal is easy? No. A flat fee is there to cover every eventuality, and to guarantee our commitment whatever happens. You pay a flat fee regardless of the amount of effort or difficulty involved. Luckily, the reverse is also true. If a deal is difficult, you pay zero commission.
  4. I have a letter of intent. How far along in the process am I? It depends. You could be close to the beginning or closer to the end. Generally speaking, a signed LOI places you a few steps before halfway, and still at the buyer’s advantage.

Here’s a breakdown of how difficult most transactions are:

  • 5% of transactions are a piece of cake
  • 10% to 15% of transactions are relatively simple and the parties highly cooperative
  • 50% of transactions turn out to be an average amount of work
  • 25% of transactions are tough and challenging but doable
  • 10% of transactions turn out to be a nightmare

Introduction

On M&A Talk, we’ve hosted over a dozen entrepreneurs who’ve sold their businesses, several with exits well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Nearly every one said they grossly underestimated how difficult the process would be. Why? The majority cited a failure to prepare:

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As well as inadequate prep, selling your business can be challenging simply because the process is so complicated and the market so inefficient, because businesses are intricate and difficult to assess, and because buyers are unpredictable and risk-averse, leading to lengthy due diligence.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the points of tension you’ll likely face when selling your business, and how you can plan ahead to avoid them.

The Process of Selling a Business

It’s Complicated

Selling a business will be one of the most complex endeavors you will face in your professional career. If everything goes right, the process will take approximately one year. Even in best-case scenarios, it can take six to nine months. The worst-case scenarios can take several years, or if you’re really unlucky, fold completely. We encountered one owner whose business took over nine years to sell and another whose took eight.

How long will it take to sell your business? This graphic is based on our 20 years experience of exit deals:

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While we’ve done our best to simplify the process of selling a business by breaking it down into four distinct steps, the truth is that no matter what you do, selling a business is an elaborate process with many potential pitfalls. The good news is, over 50% of businesses sell in three to 12 months.

It’s Based on Trust

99% of letters of intent are non-binding, which means the buyer can walk away for any reason whatsoever before closing. While you can try and hold the buyer’s feet to the fire, it probably won’t work, and you’ll have no recourse if the buyer walks.

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Additionally, it’s uncommon for buyers in the middle market to submit an earnest money deposit, so you have little in the way of leverage to hold the buyer to the deal. Buyers in the middle market view their investment in due diligence as a surrogate for an earnest money deposit, rightly so if they invest sufficient resources in it.

The following graph shows how many buyers submit an earnest money deposit:

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Last but not least, the purchase agreement isn’t signed until closing in the majority of cases. This means that a non-binding LOI is all you have from a buyer until the day of closing. 

Moving from a signed LOI to close is all about trust, which is thorny with such opposing objectives in the deal. Additionally, the parties likely don’t know each other – this may be the first time they’ve met – so trust may be thin on the ground.

Ultimately, the LOI represents a moral commitment, but the buyer can always back out until the close.

It’s Unpredictable

Because the process takes a long time, there’s plenty of time for things to go wrong. 

Businesses are complex, the system is arduous, the buyer is changeable, and third parties abound. The result is an unpredictable process with many twists and turns along the way. Nearly every transaction has several, if not dozens of unforeseen u-turns, detours, or near-death experiences. Most deals almost die at least a few times before they reach the finish line.

The letter of intent is a moral commitment – but the buyer can always back out before the closing date.

Useful Information is Scarce

Another significant challenge is that there’s a dearth of practical information on the process of selling a business. Much of the information that is available is either hypothetical or written by so-called experts with limited real-world experience.

Because selling a business is such a complex process, it takes a significant amount of time to learn about and understand the process. Many sellers enter it with scant understanding of the steps and unrealistic expectations about the time frames or what may be required of them. 

The result is that many sellers are sidelined at multiple stages because they don’t know what’s customary or what to expect. It’s common for sellers to balk at buyer’s requests, which are quite reasonable in the industry, simply because they aren’t familiar with what’s required of them.

The Failure Rate is High

Because the sale process is a complex, multi-step affair where every step depends on successfully completing the last, any failure mid-stream means the deal is dead. 

Golf is a useful comparison in many aspects of business, but sadly not the exit. Even if you score a 12 on that par four, you still have the opportunity to finish the course. When selling your business, it’s every round or none at all.  

Hard Sell: The M&A Market

It’s an Inefficient Market

The business of buying and selling companies is highly inefficient. While the internet has improved the options and available knowledge in recent years, the process remains far from optimal.

One problem is, with so many sellers available to buyers, what makes you special? If they never learn about your business, you’re like Schrödinger’s cat – you might not even exist.

While there may be dozens of “perfect” buyers out there, the real question is, “How will you find them?”

Then comes the problem of confidentiality. You likely don’t want your customers, employees, and suppliers to learn of your plans just yet, so you must conduct the sale on a confidential basis. But there’s a tradeoff between privacy and maximizing exposure, and therefore purchase price, for your business.

It takes time to both prepare a buyer list and reach out confidentially, and it’s difficult to know if you’ve excluded several or more ideal buyers who might’ve paid more.

Business Barriers

Businesses are Complex

What exactly is a business? It’s a collection of people, processes, documents, trade secrets, equipment, furniture, fixtures, customer lists, goodwill, intellectual property, and dozens of other tangible and intangible assets. It’s more of a concept than a tangible object. 

And no two businesses are the same. There are hundreds of moving parts in each one. The result is it’s difficult for the buyer to understand and assess the true value of your business. 

And because there are countless parts, there are countless things to go wrong. Buyers are understandably risk-averse and wary of unknowns, so they first protect themselves with a thorough purchase agreement that covers as many bases as possible.

Due Diligence & Purchase Agreements

Due diligence is the next step in reducing risk. But amid such complexity, mitigating risk 100% is impossible, so due diligence may end in persuading the buyer to make the leap regardless.

While there may be dozens of “perfect” buyers out there, the real question is, “How will you find them?”

Finally, any potential issues must be addressed in the purchase agreement. The buyer knows little about your business, so most ask you to sign fairly comprehensive representations and warranties in the purchase agreement, statements of fact regarding dozens of aspects. But, even though you own the business, you may have limited knowledge of some of its workings, so you must temper these statements with that proviso. 

The result is that purchase agreements are ultimately tools for allocating risk with many unknowns. As seller, you’re expected to assume the majority of that risk, and you may be sideswiped by its thoroughness, especially if you’re liable for certain events for several years after closing.

Difficult Buyers

Buyers are Unpredictable

There’s a wide variety of potential buyers in M&A – HNWIs, strategic buyers, industry buyers, private equity firms, independent sponsors, search funds, family offices, and more. 

Buyers are diverse in background and experience. Some have completed hundreds of transactions and run an established team with a tightly-defined process. Others are brand new to M&A and have never done a deal before, despite being at the helm of a billion-dollar company.

It’s an inefficient market and a difficult process, selling a complex asset with hundreds of tangible and intangible elements subject to significant interpretation, to a diverse group of buyers with a wide range of experience, sophistication, and preferences. The result is simple – the parties can be unpredictable.

Buyers are Risk Averse

Write out a check for 10% of your net worth. Not 10% of your liquid cash, but your net worth. Now address the check to one of your enemies – perhaps the competitor who’s been a thorn in your side for the last fifteen years. It’s unlikely you’d write that check without doing everything humanly possible to mitigate the associated risks.

Sophisticated buyers tend to follow industry customs and norms, while less experienced buyers can be harder to anticipate.

With an infinite number of things waiting to go wrong in a business, buying one is inherently risky, and the failure rate of acquisitions only serves to prove it.

Yes, you understand your business, and you’re comfortable with it. But you’ve owned and built it for years, so of course the risks feel manageable to you. For the buyer, they’re not.

They’ll be circumspect and approach as slowly and cautiously as possible. In their eyes, anything can go wrong, and there’s only so much they understand about a business in two to three months. No matter how much due diligence they do, they’ll be cautious at best, and fearful at worst.

Buyers are Sophisticated

If you’ve ever played a round of golf with a professional, you’ll know the difference between looking effortless and whiffing at every turn. 

An experienced buyer who’s been through the M&A ringer several times before needs no hand-holding. To mix metaphors, if it’s your first rodeo, you’re about to be taken for a wild ride. It’ll be over before you know it, and you won’t know what happened until it’s too late.

Sounds melodramatic? Just ask any seller who failed to educate themselves on the role of exclusivity, or the working capital time bomb, or dozens of other cards that savvy buyers keep up their sleeves. 

Fighting Back

Sellers often think they know best, or take over negotiations at the behest of their advisors, or the buyer drives a wedge between the seller and their team. The results are never pretty. 

Consider this: should you take the advice of your adversary? Don’t let the buyer drive a wedge between you and your team.

Such sellers fall straight into the buyer’s trap, and get gored. They assume their investment banker is making a mountain out of various minutia and, of course, the buyer agrees. So, the seller snaps control of the reins and invariably is flung from the arena in no time.

If you’re dealing with an experienced and sophisticated player, the only way to leverage the odds is to hire your own experienced and sophisticated player. And you must rely on their wisdom. One trick buyers play is to try to make you think your advisors are unnecessarily slowing down the deal. Consider this: is it wise to take the advice of your adversary? Perhaps you’d like to add another 10% to that check. 

Difficult Sellers

Few Businesses Are Adequately Prepared

In our experience, only around 5% of businesses are optimally prepared for the sale at hand. 

The secret to preparing your business for sale is simply to do it. Once you do, you’re ahead of 50% of the rest. To get even closer to success, engage an M&A advisor with significant experience to prepare an exit strategy for you, which will include steps to take before you begin to sell.

Few Sellers Are Emotionally Prepared

We get it. It happens. Limited information is available on the topic and sellers rarely volunteer to share their experiences, so it’s not surprising that new sellers are often emotionally unprepared for what’s ahead.

When it comes to emotional preparation, sellers commonly encounter three main surprises:

The Struggle is Real

Few sellers anticipate how difficult it’ll be to sell a business and how thoroughly buyers try to minimize risk. When the process inevitably hits a speed bump or intensifies, many sellers prematurely give up or get sidelined, or don’t respond with the appropriate force. It’s like setting out to climb Everest and giving up at the first sight of snowfall. Experienced climbers know what to expect and prepare accordingly. 

It’s common for sellers to balk at the buyer’s due diligence list or the first draft of the purchase agreement, not knowing it’s in line with industry standards. Many refuse to listen to their advisors because they feel caught off guard, or that their advisors just want to get the deal done and move on.

No Support Structure 

Sellers often wish to keep the sale a secret, so they have few friends or others to console in when the going gets tough. Sellers need someone who’s been through the process before, who can put their problems in perspective and keep them on track. 

While professional advisors have their role, few will feel it’s within their remit to be an emotional punching bag, especially if they feel the seller doesn’t play their part by listening to advice and educating themselves.

We firmly recommend sellers connect with friends and others during this time, especially those who’ve been through the process before.

Emotional Ties 

When they’re close to the closing table, some sellers begin to second-guess their decision. Either they aren’t prepared emotionally to let go or they have nothing to take the place of their business and keep them occupied. Again, this is where a personal sounding board comes into play. 

Talking to other entrepreneurs who’ve been through the process before is key to maintaining your emotional fortitude throughout. It’s also important to meditate on your reasons for selling and reconnect with your longer-term goals from there. 

Unrealistic Expectations

One of the most challenging types of seller is the one with unrealistic expectations. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of big talk when it comes to selling a business. Look no further than the “country club multiple” to understand the pernicious effects of hearsay. It’s common to boast about success in business circles, and this includes the granddaddy of all transactions – the sale of one’s own company. 

Talking to other entrepreneurs about the exit process is key to maintaining your emotional fortitude.

Many owners who successfully exited like to brag about their success, and we don’t blame them. After decades of hard work, it’s difficult not to. Unfortunately, a natural tendency in tall tales is to leave out the gory details. 

For example, if you fetched $50 million for your business, but you only received $10 million in cash at closing (the remaining $40 million was based on an earnout), you might overlook that little detail in the telling. The $50 million part – sure, you’ll mention that. 

The Devil’s in the Detail

Skimming over the details is common after the fact. M&A transactions are highly confidential, and in most cases, you won’t be privy to how the puzzle fits together. After all, purchase prices are rarely a simple number, nor any part of a transaction. They’re a matter of give and take, and any one element is meaningless without understanding the whole, or the negotiating positions of the parties involved.

Your friend sold his business and only had to sign a limited set of representations and warranties? Sure, that’s possible. But it’s also possible that they received a lower price and less favorable terms, paid for representations and warranties insurance, had a simpler business than you, had significant negotiating leverage over the buyer, or… you get the point. No element of an M&A transaction can be viewed in isolation.

CPA Confusion

Another way to confuse matters is to ask a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) what a business is worth. The answer is simple – it depends on who the CPA represents. If they represent the seller, it’s around a 10.0 multiple – because that’s what most publicly traded companies are valued at in the industry. If they represent the buyer, it’s usually the net book value, rightly, of the hard assets. So the seller’s CPA says the business is worth $50 million, while the buyer’s CPA says $10 million. Go figure. Someone is wrong, or perhaps they both are.

Unrealistic expectations are usually due to a lack of education or a lack of accurate information and understanding about the process, and there’s a paucity of each when it comes to selling your business.

Sellers & Buyers in M&A

Many Parties Aren’t Clued-in

Many buyers and sellers simply aren’t intimately familiar with the technical aspects and mechanics of the buying or selling a business.

Sellers are often dismayed to learn that working capital is customarily included in the purchase price in middle-market transactions. This means the buyer will begin collecting the accounts receivable at closing. We just consulted with one seller who had over $3 million in accounts receivable for a business likely only valued at $6 to $7 million. It’s common for such sellers to not learn until much later that they don’t get to collect that $3 million, that it goes to the buyer instead.

Another common cause of sellers’ woes is the first draft of the buyer’s due diligence list. Almost every seller grossly underestimates how thorough due diligence will be. Many think the process may take a couple of weeks and involve a dozen or so documents, and recoil at the sight of a list that contains hundreds. 

Due Diligence & Purchase Agreements 

It’s common for buyers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, performing due diligence in an attempt to minimize their risk. In a recent episode of M&A Talk, I talked to a private equity firm that spent over $1.5 million conducting due diligence on a $20 million transaction. As a seller, it’s critical you understand how grueling due diligence can be and to be fully prepared.

If due diligence comes as a blow to the seller, chances are the buyer will discover something that warrants a price concession later. The only question is, “How big is the price cut going to be?” If the seller isn’t prepared for this, they’ll likely be sidelined, and it’s common for some to walk away at this point.

The size of a buyer’s purchase agreement and due diligence list often come as a shock to the inexperienced seller. Don’t be caught on the back foot. 

It’s also common for sellers to balk at first sight of the purchase agreement. The majority of purchase agreements for middle-market businesses are in the range of 30 to 50 pages. If a seller isn’t unaware of this and unprepared for the level of protection the buyer will likely propose, they’re already on the back foot. To compound the dilemma, if the seller has retained an attorney with limited M&A experience, chances are they’ll focus on the wrong issues and protract the process.

Sellers & Buyers Don’t Always Take Advice 

Even if the seller has built an advisory dream team, it’s common for some to ignore their advice. 

In another recent transaction, our seller reeled when she saw the buyer’s first draft of the purchase agreement. Even though she had a long-term, trusted relationship with her M&A attorney, she refused to listen when he told her the draft was fairly standard and nothing to be concerned about. 

It took her over a month to get back on track and to be willing to begin negotiating the purchase agreement. The result was a loss of thousands of dollars in additional legal fees because of the delay, and a loss of trust from the buyer who thought we were having second thoughts.

Failing to trust your M&A attorney can add months to the sale process and even derail the deal when the buyers finds out you’re nit-picking.

In the same transaction, the parties were held up on several representations and warranties, which were also industry standard. This time, it was both parties who delayed the process. Had it been just the professional advisors involved, the terms would have been quickly resolved, but because neither party fully understood how representations and warranties work, they reacted adversely and dug their heels in. 

After several weeks of attorneys educating their respective clients, the deal picked up steam again.

A Lack of Experienced Advisors

Another common problem is hiring advisors who have limited M&A experience. Accomplished advisors can work much more efficiently because they’re familiar with industry norms and standards and are capable of making tradeoffs and keeping the deal moving along.

After all, most negotiations boil down to the allocation of risk, and M&A experts are adept at swiftly discerning between a mountain and a molehill.

For example, a 10% to 15% cap on indemnification for certain reps and warranties is customary, and any experienced attorney will know this. An inexperienced one may not, and may attempt to reason that a cap shouldn’t be in place at all. This will inevitably result in a gridlock until one party is willing to budge. 

An expert is unlikely to budge on a point that goes against industry norms, so it’s usually left to the amateur to admit their ignorance, which they rarely do.

Outside Help(less): Third Parties

Third Parties Add Uncertainty 

Third parties include other professionals, landlords, the government (applying anti-trust approvals, tax clearances, etc.), franchisors, customers, employees, suppliers, and many others. All have the power to hold up the deal, especially if they have no incentive to get it done.

Whether it’s a supplier attempting to opportunistically increase pricing in exchange for consent to assign the contract, or a key customer threatening to abandon ship if the business is sold, third-party issues are widespread and inherently unpredictable.

Unsolicited Advice

In a recent transaction of ours, the landlord managed to kill the same deal almost twice in a row. Despite numerous attempts to induce them to acquiesce to an assignment of a lease option, the parties failed to do so and the deal died. Back at bat nearly a year later, the landlord attempted the same tactic again. This time, we found a workaround and were able to close the deal despite their lack of cooperation.

Another favorite worrywart is back-seat drivers who lecture on the fairness of a deal, despite having zero real-world M&A experience. Family members, business associates, the guy next to you on the plane, all straining to offer their two cents. Well-meaning stuff, but it does little except sow seeds of doubt in the seller’s mind.

Summary of Factors

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Simple Selling: FAQs

Are some transactions easier than others?

Yes, absolutely. The challenge is that it’s difficult to predict which transactions will be difficult and which will be a breeze, even for seasoned advisors. 

Knowing which deals will be tough is like knowing which days you’ll need car insurance. When it comes to selling your business, your safest bet is to assume it’ll be rough going, be prepared, and consider yourself fortunate if it all goes smoothly. 

How does a buyer’s personality affect a deal?

Two years ago, our buyer claimed his deal would be so easy we could do it in our sleep. Already at the 5-yard line, it’d be simplest we’d ever seen, criminal to even get paid, the seller should donate their fee to charity because there’d be so little for us to do. Once his infomercial was over, the transaction turned into a living nightmare. 

While the mechanics were quite vanilla, the buyer’s bravado added more than a little unwanted spice and complicated the transaction immeasurably.

After two months, the seller reached boiling point and told me she couldn’t continue working with him, and appointed another family member to take over the reins. Even with an emotionally detached player in the mix, the problems went on. Finally, after months of nightmares, we closed the deal.

It’s best to take all miracles with a pinch of salt, and so it goes with buyers who make outrageous claims.

How many deals are easy vs. hard?

Here’s a breakdown of how difficult most transactions are:

  • 5% of transactions are a piece of cake
  • 10% to 15% of transactions are relatively simple and the parties highly cooperative
  • 50% of transactions turn out to be an average amount of work
  • 25% of transactions are tough and challenging but doable
  • 10% of transactions turn out to be a nightmare

Is your fee reduced if the deal is easy?

No. A flat fee is there to cover every eventuality, and to guarantee our commitment, whatever happens. You pay a flat fee regardless of the amount of effort or difficulty involved. Luckily, the reverse is also true. If it’s a deal from hell that doesn’t close, then you pay zero commission. 

I have a letter of intent. How far along in the process am I?

To quote a million attorneys, it depends.

You could be on your 5-yard line, with 95 yards to go, or you could be on their 10 yard-line with only 10 yards to go. It depends on all the factors above. Generally speaking, a signed LOI places you a few steps before halfway, and definitely still at the buyer’s advantage. 

Simple Selling: Action Steps

Selling a business is hard, but you can stay out of the 10% nightmare cases by following the lead of your M&A advisor. To recap the basics, you should also:

Pick the Right Buyer – As you know, the process of selling a business is based more on trust than a contractual obligation. To minimize challenges, listen to your gut and professional advisors and pick a buyer you trust. The buyer you commit to will greatly impact how difficult your transaction becomes.

Listen to Your Advisors – Hire the best professional advisors you can, and listen to them. Your advisors have been through this dozens, or hundreds of times, and their experience is invaluable, but only if you heed their advice.

Move Fast – The old saying is worth repeating – time kills deals. The longer a deal takes, the more that can go wrong. And the more prepared you are, the quicker the deal can move. Prepare in advance so that you can stay mobile once the deal gets moving.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are endless ways to complicate a sale. As a business owner, you’ll need to factor in everything from the choppiness of your market to the experience of your team and the personality of your potential buyer. 

Take advice, but be selective about the source. A trusted and experienced confidante who’s been through the process and understands the intimate details of the transaction is one thing, but unsolicited input from your dentist is another.

In golf, heed the advice of your instructor if he happened to train Jack Nichalous and twelve other pros, but pass on that courtesy tip from your friend with a 39-handicap.

And if you’ve never ridden a bull before, let the bull riders do their thing.