What are the odds of your business actually selling once you have made the decision to sell? Well, if the annual sales of your business are $750,000 or less, research indicates that the odds of your business selling are only 18 percent. If your annual sales are $750,000 to $2 million, your odds increase to 25 percent. If your annual sales volume is above $2 million, the odds increase to 30 + percent. Keep in mind that approximately 75 percent of all businesses have annual sales of less than $750,000.
What does this all mean? To put it bluntly: if you are thinking of selling your business, you have about a one in five chance of it actually selling. This obviously begs the question: why are the odds so poor? One would think that if you put your business on the market, it should sell in a reasonable length of time. Here are some reasons why some businesses didn’t sell-as explained by various business brokers and intermediaries. They are excerpted from an article in INC magazine, April 2002.
They say that timing is everything. Many business owners wait until the economy is down. Their own business is also paying the price for the slowdown, so they elect to sell. Now they discover that the price they thought they could get for their business is not realistic in today’s market. Sellers should keep in mind that the best time to sell is when their business is doing well.
One factor that emerges from the comments by intermediaries above is the lack of financing. This would seem to indicate that the sellers wanted all cash, or, at least, a good portion of the selling price in cash. Three of the comments stated that the reason the deal didn’t go through was that “financing was impossible to find,” “the buyer couldn’t get financing,” and “.fell apart for lack of financing.” The reasons that obtaining financing is so difficult are (1) the business doesn’t qualify for financing, (2) the buyer doesn’t qualify for financing, and, most importantly, most small businesses are not financeable. Banks are generally not interested; the Small Business Administration (SBA), although certainly an option, only comes through in less than 10 percent of deals. If lenders are not interested in financing the sale of the business, there are only two choices: the buyer pays all cash or the seller finances the sale.
Tips for a fast sale
Here are two major ways to increase the odds that your business will be the one in five that sells:
Following these guidelines and tips might not sell your business, but it will certainly increase the odds. Almost any business will sell under the right circumstances. If you are serious about selling, the first step would be to call a professional business broker. He or she can answer all of your questions about the selling process and what it takes to sell your business in today’s economic climate.
The Perfect Business
The perfect business, the one that would be sure to sell, has the following attributes:
There is an old saying that goes something like this: “The worst day of working for yourself is better than the best day of working for someone else.”
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