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The Sunbelt Process Of Selling A Business

Selling a company is an experience that some entrepreneurs will only have once in their lifetime.  It is an event for which most have little training and no direct experience.  Yet selling your business is possibly the single most important issue for your financial future.  It is beneficial to you that you have a general knowledge of the entire process of selling a business before making decisions about how to precede.

The following is a step-by-step summary of the typical business sales process:

  1. The process starts with a preliminary, no-obligation meeting that is scheduled at the seller's convenience, and usually held at the Sunbelt office to preserve confidentiality. The broker will ask many questions about the business and operations.  This is time where information is exchanged, so the seller and broker can become acquainted with each other and their respective businesses.
  2. After meeting, the broker will determine a most probable selling price based on the Fair Market Value. At that time the seller will need to provide the broker with profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax returns of the business covering the last three years. We strongly recommend that clients obtain an independent valuation of the business being offered for sale. Sunbelt will gladly recommend one or more experienced, qualified valuation firms for your consideration.
  3. Once the broker has come up with the Fair Market Value of the business the seller decides whether or not they want to move forward and retain Sunbelt of Nashville to represent the seller. If so, a Listing Agreement is filled out and signed by the seller. At that time, the seller provides the broker with the following:

    • Complete lists of all equipment and other assets to be included or excluded in the sale.
    • The most recent interim profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and sales tax returns.
    • Real and personal property leases.
    • Copies of all patents, licensees, loan documents, contracts or agreements.
    • All agreements relating to employee benefits.
    • Any environmental reports.
    • Copies of all other documents needed to present a fair and accurate description of the business to prospective buyers.
    • During the representation period, the seller must update each document when any material changes have occurred.

  4. Sunbelt of Nashville will create a CBR (Confidential Business Review) on the business. Our CBR tells a story about your business including the type of detailed information that a registered, qualified buyer will want to know to help them make an educated decision. The way your business is presented to a buyer is extremely important as it is their first impression.
  5. Sunbelt will develop a marketing strategy unique to the seller’s business and needs.  We utilize the latest technology to present your business to other business brokers and strategic buyers all over the Country. Our marketing program ensures your confidentiality and provides maximum exposure for your business. Your listing is placed in various industry databases and internet sites, which are constantly updated.
  6. Buyers who have responded from the advertisements are required to fill out a Confidentiality Agreement and a Personal Financial Summary of funds from which they will use to purchase the business. Once the buyer is qualified, they will be shown the CBR. If further interest is shown after they review the CBR, the broker will arrange a meeting or conference call with the seller.
  7. After initial meetings, prospective buyers are encouraged to make written offers, which you may accept, reject, or counter. Effectively negotiating purchase and sale agreements requires skills gained over many years. Experience matters! 
  8. Once an offer is accepted, due diligence starts. Due diligence is where, for a specified time frame, the buyer has an opportunity to verify the profitability of the business and review other critical matters. It is also the time where contingencies are to be satisfied and/or removed.  Common contingencies include financial and legal reviews, a covenant not to compete, employment contract, an assignment of lease and sometimes obtaining satisfactory financing.  After all the contingencies have been met or waived, the transaction closes and you are paid.