Frequently Asked Questions for Sellers

How long will it take to sell my business?

It usually takes longer to sell a business than a house or a commercial building. Because of the confidential nature of a business sale, a business advisor cannot put a For Sale sign in the window or front lawn. The average time to sell a business is usually between six to eighteen months. However, there are exceptions.
Some businesses may sell within a month of being put on the market. Others may take several years to attract the right Buyer. A business advisor seeks out and talks to Buyers every day. The next one may be just right for your particular business.

Can I expect an all cash offer or some other type of offer?

For many Sellers, an all cash offer is the only type of offer that is acceptable. Often owners are retiring and pursuing a different life style that requires complete liquidity from their business. Buyer offers run the gamut of possibilities and like any purchase, the Buyer will attempt to “drive a better deal” where possible. Highly desirable industries, business models, intellectual property and high margin businesses command higher prices and better terms, such as all cash more readily than other businesses.

How do you advertise or promote that my business is for sale?

CII uses various vehicles to market and advertise a Seller’s business in the most confidential and discreet method possible. CII promotes the sale of your business through its extensive Brokers Buyer database; 15 websites that target different levels Internationally, Nationally, and Locally along with, and when appropriate, targeted print advertising. CII is a member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) and the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF). As such, our listings are on a multiple listing service so brokers worldwide have access to our listings.

When should my employees, suppliers or customers be informed of the sale?

In order to minimize any potential disruption to the business itself, Sellers typically get best results by informing employees after the closing. A different set of guidelines applies to key management and key employees. Owners often need to consider “getting them on board” early in the process.

How do you handle confidentiality?

Only blind profiles or advertisements are used by CII when promoting a business for sale. Once a prospective Buyer has shown interest and met the Seller’s initial pre-screen requirements, they are required to execute a binding non-disclosure / confidentiality agreement. This occurs before any detailed information concerning a specific opportunity is released. We are committed to protecting the confidentiality of the business and its owner.

We understand that public knowledge of a potential sale can affect the attitudes and actions of customers, employees, competitors, lenders, suppliers, or investors, and thus the value of the company. We also want to safeguard the employment status of a potential Buyer while he considers a very important change for his future.

How long will I be expected to train the new Buyer?

You must weigh the complexity of your business operations and the buyer’s familiarity with the industry in order to arrive at a reasonable answer to this question. Two weeks is usually appropriate in most cases. However, in larger more complex businesses, it is not uncommon for training to be several months, including a consulting agreement. You should maintain some flexibility so not to scare off otherwise legitimate Buyer prospects.

How do you screen or qualify prospective Buyers?

Prospective Buyers are interviewed by a CII Advisor and a BUYER PROFILE is completed, which includes an analysis of net worth and the amount of capital the Buyer is able to use in order to complete the transaction. Sellers should perform their own due diligence on the Buyer, particularly if offering Seller financing.

What kind of purchase agreement should I expect?

Asset purchase agreements are the norm. Purchase agreements vary by the complexity of the business and the transaction. Most purchase agreements are usually accompanied with ancillary agreements such as non-competes, earn-outs if applicable, bill of sale, etc.

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