A good Business Broker will spend hours educating business owners about what to expect at every phase of the selling process; a difficult job made harder by the fact that misinformation about selling a business comes from every direction — from preconceived notions held by business owners themselves, to suspect advice from well-meaning peers and advisors.
Following is a stubborn myth about selling your business:
Selling is about getting what I want
It’s easy to think that you’re in the driver’s seat when you’re selling your business. You’re not going to walk away from a lifetime of work unless someone makes it worth your while. A buyer can give you what you want or you will simply not transact with them! Wrong. Unless of course what you want is to run your business forever.
If you plan to approach negotiations with a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ attitude, then you may eventually have to scrap the idea of selling your business. Buyers and their advisors are too conservative or too smart and won’t succumb easily to Sellers who don’t want to acknowledge that a business sale is a two-way street.
In the world of commerce the essence of any successful sale is based on both parties understanding what the customer wants as well as understanding what the seller hopes for. Selling a business is no different.
This is not to say that your goals for a sale aren’t relevant. They most certainly are. In fact, you’ll want to work with a good Business Broker to identify your primary goals for a sale before going to market, and articulate them early to interested buyers.
The buyer will also have clear goals for an acquisition. And while you are the one with something to sell, you’ll have a hard time consummating a transaction unless you also understand and acknowledge the buyer’s point of view. As a Business Broker of thirty years’ experience let me suggest that “Deals most often get done when both sides are equally accommodating.” Talk to GMO about the educated, qualified buyers we are currently servicing and their criteria. We may have a match for you.
Reality: You will not get everything you want in a deal, and neither will the buyer. Be prepared to find common ground.
Graham O’Hehir GMO Managing Director