Three Common Errors When Selling A Business

The old saying that “there is no replacement for experience” is a truism that has stood the test of time. The simple fact is that a lack of experience or expertise can dismantle your deal.
Consider the following scenario – a business owner nearing retirement owns a multi-location operation that is doing several million in annual sales. He interviews a well-respected and experienced Business Advisor and is impressed.

However, the business owner’s niece has recently received her MBA and has told her uncle that she can handle the sale of his business and in the process, save him a bundle. On paper, everything sounds fine, but as it turns out the lack of experience or expertise gives this business owner less than optimal results.

Let’s take a look at a few problems that recently arose with our nameless, but successful, business owner and his well-meaning and smart, but inexperienced niece.

Error #1 No Confidentiality Agreements

One problem is that the business owner and his niece don’t use confidentiality agreements with prospective buyers. As a result, competitors, suppliers, employees and customers all learn that the business is available for sale. Of course, learning that the business is for sale could cause a range of problems, as both employees and suppliers get nervous about what the sale could mean. Ultimately, this could undermine the sale of the business.

Error #2 Incorrect Financials

Another problem is that the inexperienced MBA was supposed to prepare a financial analysis and offering memorandum. In the process, she compiled some financials together that had not been reviewed or audited. While on paper this seemed like a small mistake, it failed to include several hundred thousand dollars the owner took. He simply forgot to mention this piece of information to his niece. Clearly this mishap dramatically impacted the numbers. Additionally, this lack of information would likely result in lower offers as well as lower bids, or even decrease overall prospective buyer interest.

Error #3 Failing to Include the CFO

A third key mistake in this unfortunate story was a failure to bring in the CFO. The niece felt that she could handle the financial details, but in the end, her assumption was incorrect. The owner and the niece failed to realize that prospective buyers would want to meet with their CFO, and that he would be involved in the due diligence process. In short, not bringing the CFO on board early in the process was a blunder that greatly complicated the process.

The problem is clear. Selling a business, any business is a complex process and far too important for an amateur. When it comes time to sell your business, you want an experienced Business Advisor with proven experience to represent you. Again, there is no replacing experience!

Copyright: Business Brokerage Press, Inc.


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M&A Business Advisors represents sellers and buyers of privately owned businesses in a wide range of industries in California and Nevada. Our services include Selling a Business, Buying a Business, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Sales and Acquisitions, Valuations, Opinion of Value, SBA Finance and Business Consulting. Sell your Business, Buy a Business, How do I determine the Value of a Business, How do I Sell my Business Confidentially, What is a Safe Way to Sell my Business, How long does it take to Sell a Business, How do I Sell a Business in California, How do I Sell a Business in Nevada, Search Businesses for sale. We represent Sellers and Buyers in Southern California, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, Kern County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Los Angeles, Torrance, Gardena, South Bay, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel, Upland, Woodland Hills, Chatsworth, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Camarillo, Newport Beach, Irvine, Anaheim, Brea, Northern California, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, San Ramon, Napa, Sacramento, Nevada, Northern Nevada, Southern Nevada, Reno, Carson City, Tahoe, Las Vegas.