8 Steps to Follow When Selling a Business

Selling a business is a complex, multi-step process that requires careful planning and execution. Whether you are retiring, looking for new opportunities, or experiencing financial difficulties, selling your business can be a significant decision that will have an impact on your future. To ensure a smooth and successful transaction, it is crucial to follow the proper steps when selling your business. An attorney with experience representing clients in business transactions can help ensure that you follow all of the correct procedures while working to protect your financial interests.

Step 1: Determine the Value of Your Business

Before listing your business for sale, it is important to determine its value accurately. There are various methods used to evaluate businesses based on factors such as profitability, assets, liabilities, market conditions, and industry trends. Consulting with an experienced appraiser or business broker can help you assess the fair market value of your business objectively.

Step 2: Prepare Your Financial Records

To attract potential buyers and instill confidence in them regarding the viability of your business, it is essential to have well-organized financial records. These may include balance sheets, income statements, tax returns for at least three years, cash flow statements, and other relevant documents. Buyers will want to review these records when performing due diligence.

Step 3: Clean up Your Business Operations

Buyers prefer businesses that operate efficiently without any outstanding legal issues or operational problems. Before putting your business on the market, address any pending lawsuits or regulatory compliance concerns. Ensure all contracts with suppliers, vendors, clients, or employees are in order and up-to-date. A smoothly operating business will be more attractive to potential buyers.

Step 4: Develop a Marketing Strategy

To attract potential buyers effectively and maximize exposure for your business while maintaining confidentiality about sensitive information like employee details or trade secrets, you can develop an appropriate marketing strategy targeting prospective buyers within your industry. You may utilize online platforms, business brokerages, and industry networks to reach a wide range of potential buyers.

Step 5: Negotiate the Terms of the Sale

Once you receive offers from interested buyers and have completed the necessary due diligence on them, you can begin negotiating the terms of the transaction. This includes discussing purchase price, payment structure (such as a lump sum or installment payments), transition period assistance if required by the buyer, non-compete agreements, and any other specific conditions related to closing the deal.

Step 6: Prepare Legal Documentation

After agreeing on purchase terms with a buyer, it is essential to draft legally binding documents that outline all aspects of the sale carefully. These may include a letter of intent, asset purchase agreement, stock purchase agreement, or merger agreement depending on your entity type and the way the transaction will be structured. An experienced attorney can ensure that all documents will be prepared correctly.

Step 7: Complete Due Diligence 

The buyer will conduct due diligence, which will usually involve a detailed inspection of all aspects of your business including financial records, contracts, licenses and permits, assets and liabilities, intellectual property, and any other relevant factors that may affect them after they assume ownership of the business. It is important to make sure you provide accurate, complete information promptly during this critical phase of the transaction.

Step 8: Close the Deal

Upon successful completion of due diligence and finalizing negotiations, you can sign all required contracts and other documents to complete the transaction. An attorney can help prepare the required documents, including a bill of sale, warranties, asset lists, and employment agreements. They can also ensure that contracts include terms that will protect both parties, such as indemnification clauses and non-compete clauses. Upon completion of the transaction, ownership of the business can be transferred to the buyer.

Contact a Naperville Business Transactions Attorney

Selling a business requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. By following the steps outlined above, you can increase your chances of a successful transaction that meets your financial goals and ensures a smooth transition of ownership. Each business transaction is unique, and it is essential to work with an experienced attorney who can help you protect your financial interests. The skilled DuPage County business sale lawyer at the Gierach Law Firm has extensive experience with business transactions in Illinois. Contact us today at 630-756-1160 to set up a consultation.

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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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