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OPTION A - Seize the moment - tips for business sellers

A business broker will apply industry-tested valuation methods

Business sellers need to realize the troubled current market is favorable to buyers with capital looking for a killer deal. Sellers should act quickly to launch the selling process. There are vital steps to take — and crucial realizations to face — in preparing for this all-important transaction.

1. Resolve current problems as soon and as thoroughly as possible.

If the business is a partnership, both parties should agree about the major decisions to be made in the selling process. Hopefully, in cases where the business is a partnership, a buy-sell agreement is firmly in place.

2. Financial records must be accurate, up-to-date, and impressive indicators of the owner's business ability.

Some buyers may be willing to buy potential, but they don't want to pay for it. In fact, sellers should be open about all aspects of the business that might affect the sale; otherwise, once the real facts are revealed (as they inevitably will be!), the sale may be lost.

3. Sellers must understand from the beginning that they may have to help finance the sale.

The seller's business broker, in qualifying potential buyers, will also assess their financial credibility and their ability to run a successful business, thus helping to take the understandable fear out of seller financing.

4. Sellers should also seek the advice of a business professional in determining price.

The business broker will apply industry-tested valuation methods, and will incorporate those intangibles to be ensure that the business will not be under-priced. At the same time, the business broker will point out to sellers how the price is dictated by the marketplace and that realistic pricing is an absolute must. Most buyers, faced with an out-of-sight price won't wait for it to drop--they'll just go elsewhere.

5. In marketing the business for sale, sellers benefit many times over from the guidance of a business broker professional.

The business broker who lists the particular business for sale represents the seller and works toward completing the transaction in a reasonable amount of time and at a price and terms acceptable to the seller. The broker will also present and assess offers, and, at the appropriate juncture, he or she can also help in structuring the sale transaction itself. The broker and the seller become a team, involved in a relationship of mutual trust, with the common goal being the successful business sale.

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