Owning a business


Owner's Guide: Best resources for how to sell a small business

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Sam Rodriguez

March 26, 2024 ⋅ 7 min read

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As a small business owner, about 80-90% of your net worth is tied up in your business. Beyond the nest egg your business represents, what it feels like to you matters too: anything from an extension of you to a burden you can’t wait to unload.

What’s universal about the decision is that it comes with a list of questions: Should I sell my business? How much is my business worth? What are the pros and cons of working with a business broker? How will I find a buyer if my business is more niche?

That’s why we created this guide — to surface the most important questions about selling a business, and answers to those questions, in one place.

About us: We started Baton because we believe all business owners — not just a select few — deserve to have the trusted data and expertise they need to succeed at every step of their journey — from business valuation to sale.

What are the steps to take before selling my business?

The very first question you’ll want to ask yourself is:

Article: Is it the right time to sell my business?

Generally, you want to exit strong — when the last couple/few years of cash flow have been solid. The above article helps you weigh the personal and professional considerations. … but there are other factors to consider. Like: Article: Understanding the current SMB market This article covers the two main business types in the SMB market, current market factors, and deal structure trends.

Video: Exit Strategies: How To Sell Your Business [Source: The Franchise Guide]

Tips for planning your exit - as the source name suggests, this one is great for franchise unit owners.

Article: Have a "selling a business checklist" just for you

Whether you decide to sell your business yourself or work with a business broker, get a sense of where you are and what lies ahead.

Once you have a general lay of the land: Article: Take a deeper dive into your business valuation and steps to sell your business

(Gauging your readiness, finding help, how long it takes to sell, etc.)

Podcast: Secrets to Selling Your Business In this episode, Marilyn Garcia talks about educating sellers on the process and terms they should be familiar with going in.

Before you get a valuation:

Article: Get your books in order

Clean books will be key to getting an accurate business valuation and will help you stand out among other sellers when you’re ready to list your business.

Video: FINANCIAL RATIOS: How to Analyze Financial Statements

Hoping to close the deal quickly? Offering seller financing can help, but first:

Article: Understand the tax implications of seller financing.

What do I need to know about business valuations before I get one?

Getting a small business valuation is a necessary step before selling your small business. But it can be a siloed and expensive process (or cheap and unreliable). First, it’s important to:

Article: Understand what goes into a small business valuation

Whether you’re using a business valuation calculator or working with a business broker, one of the things that will go into your valuation will be discounted cash flow analysis.

Video: Warren Buffett Brilliantly Explains Discounted Cash Flow Analysis + Example! [Source: Dividendology]

Before you list your business for sale, you’ll be wondering:

Article: Know the difference between SDE and EBITDA

Both are important factors in calculating your business’s worth and something buyers will be interested in digging into.

Own a plumbing, landscaping, or other type of service business? Article: Learn how to value a service business

(Look at SDE multiples vs. fair market value or FMV vs. asset-based valuation methods.)

Article: How to find a business or company valuation calculator Valuation calculators range anywhere from “garbage in, garbage out” to an indispensable tool to have in your back pocket as you consider how and how much to sell your business for. The above article lists some of the top sources and ways to get a business valuation.

Should I get a business broker to sell my business?

Article: Consider the pros and cons of working with a business broker

Many small business owners shy away from brokers based on the fees and the sense that a successful business should “sell itself.” It’s important to understand the pros and cons before making the decision.

Article: Why you may want to work with a broker — even if you have a buyer lined up

Many deals fall apart in the advanced stages. Learn the role brokers play in helping get your deal to the finish line.

How do I find a buyer for my business?

Article: Finding a buyer for a niche business

Concerned about finding a buyer for your niche business? This article explains everything from the different buyer types, outreach approaches, deal negotiation and closing processes for niche business owners. (You’re good.)

Podcast: Carl Allen on Cashing out While Protecting Your Brand and Culture Along the Way [Source: Built to Sell Radio]

Article: Selling your business to an employee

If keeping your legacy alive is important to you, selling your business to a key employee can be one of the best ways to go about it. This article dives into the many benefits, deal and financing considerations, and some things to look out for.

I’m ready. What do I need to know about the process to sell my business?

Article: Need to get out ASAP? How to sell a business quickly.

This article gets right to it, covering everything from steps to take to timing to financing options that can expedite deal closure.

Listing your business for sale online is not like listing a bike on Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor; there’s a lot more on the line and a lot more to do here. First, understand:

Article: How to sell a business online or list your business for sale online.

And then there’s the strategy for the business listing itself. This article covers the elements you’ll need:

Article: 10 Steps for Creating a Successful Online Business-for-Sale Listing [Source: BizBuySell]

Article: Know the different tax strategies for a business sale [Source: SBA.gov] Will your business sale be treated as the sale of multiple assets? Will you incur capital gains? What if you’re a partnership? This article breaks it down nicely.

Article: How to transfer your business to the buyer

This article covers different types of transfers based on your goals and business structure, and it covers the final steps (membership certificate, updated operating agreement, etc.) you’ll need to take to seal the deal.

Article: Looking ahead to post-exit… where should you invest capital gains after selling your business? [Source: Caliber.com]

Small business owners’ stories

🫧 A cleaning company owner discusses his experience getting a valuation

🌱 How one business’s valuation turned into conversations and actions

💊 Pharmacy owners find their “honorable successor” and retire on a high note

🥞 A food stand owner found a broker who’d take a fair bite out of his sale proceeds

🏡 A landscaping company owner tried BizBuySell but ended up with Baton

➡️ Ready to discuss selling your business? Our process starts with a free valuation with no strings attached. If you decide to work with us, we’ll help you get fairly compensated for your life’s work while providing a higher level of personalized support along the way.