How to Sell a Business in 2022 for Top Dollar

by Erin Schollaert

Updated

If you’re ready to move on from your business: it’s important to plan thoroughly and make sure you get as much money as possible for what your company is worth.

You’ve poured a lot of time and effort into building this brand, so if you’re figuring out how to sell a business, you deserve everything you can get for it!

These are the top things you should know about listing a business for sale and what this means for your financial future!

Where do you sell your business?

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Deciding where to sell your company can be complicated.

You want to ensure you can find the best buyer possible for your needs, but allowing your company to go to a less than worthy option can leave you making far less money in the deal.

Some of the Top Options for Selling and Finding Buyers Are:

  • Online Listing Site – There are countless business for sale websites that allow you to find a buyer. Some of the most popular are BizBuySell, BizQuest, and GlobalBX.
  • Sell Via Broker – We’ll go more into depth on this later- but selling through a broker means you pay a fee for someone else to do the selling for you. Lead flipping is a common strategy by brokers to find more deals.
  • Sell In Your Local Chamber of Commerce – Selling in your chamber of commerce helps you find local buyers who may already be familiar with your company.
  • Sell In An Online Group – There are multiple business groups and communities online where you can sell to peers who have similar interests, including these marketplaces to sell stuff.
  • Market to Business Connections – If you’ve been in business for a while, you may be able to sell to one of your local business connections.
  • Sell Via Social Media – Selling via social media works by connecting with other businesses through sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • To an Investment Bank – Investment banks can be a great location to find buyers and are great if your business is already worth millions.

The option you pick depends heavily on how much your company is worth and where buyers interested in your specific offerings would be.

If your company makes money in the metaverse, it will have a very different buyer profile than a construction business, for example.

If you’re able, spread word of mouth around! Many people are more interested in options they hear about from a peer than they are about options that come up from the seller.

Is now a good time to sell your business?

Timing is a large issue for many people, and it’s fair to be unsure since the economy has bounced up and down constantly over the last three years.

This year, we’ve already seen many dips happening, so it makes sense to want to get out now: but is it the right time?

The most important thing to consider when selling your business isn’t the economy: it’s your business itself.

People and companies want to buy and invest in businesses that are already doing well.

Although the underdog success story is popular, nobody wants to wager hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in the hope that they’ll be able to make a sale, especially when they could start a business from home.

Instead, it’s vital that you do what you can to show that your company is doing well, and if it’s not – that you see if it’s possible to boost it into a more successful phase before you attempt to sell it.

Tactic for Success

This is an awesome year for businesses to sell, so it’s important that you get your company as ready to sell as possible. This means keeping paperwork organized, looking into employee reviews to have the best there, and deciding what assets are going with the business.

How do you calculate what your business is worth?

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Calculating what your business is worth can be extremely exciting – or incredibly disappointing – depending on how your company is doing.

The formula for figuring out your business’s value is straightforward but can take a lot of work to calculate.

The value of your company is the value of all of your assets minus your liabilities.

Assets are everything that has value and you can convert into cash, ranging from inventory to equipment and even real estate.

Liabilities are your accounts payable, any interest you owe, income taxes, bills, loans, overdrafts, and accrued expenses.

Here are two common metrics used to price businesses:

  • Multiple – refers to multiplying your monthly net profit by a multiple value (typically range from 25-60). Common metric used for online businesses.
  • Cap rate – net operating income divided by current market value for the asset. Typically ranges from 4%-15%. If a business is low risk and has high purchase demand, it’ll have a lower cap rate, which means higher sales price.

If your company has multiple locations (like these franchises under 10K), you’ll have to do this math for all of them and calculate it all together.

This is the reason so many people go to investment bankers and brokers to help seal this deal.

Trend on the Rise

Over 77% of business owners expect wages to jump in 2022, and although profits continue to rise: many are taking this as a sign to sell before it gets more expensive: or before profits drop.

Do you need a broker or investment banker to sell your business?

If this is the first business you’ve ever sold, and there are millions of dollars worth of assets and liabilities, it could be a good idea to hire an investment banker or broker to help you out.

Not only can they guide you through the process to some degree: but they’ll also work hard to get as much money for your company as possible since they get paid depending on how well the sale goes.

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Deciding whether or not to seek professional help depends entirely on whether you can afford one or whether you have the time and skills to do things on your own.

If you’re unsure, consider talking to a few to find out what they think they could do for your business.

What assets do I include in the sale?

Figuring out which items are considered assets and which aren’t can be complicated if you’ve been running this business since the beginning.

It might feel like a large part of the company is intertwined with your personal life: so it’s vital that you break down what does and doesn’t count.

Most assets are items like machinery, raw materials and inventory, patents, royalties, intellectual property, and real physical property.

These assets will allow the buyers to run the business and continue to legally keep much of the company the same or rework it to their tastes.

Main Things Not Included With Your Business:

  • Investments – Your investments don’t immediately go with your company when you sell it.
  • Long-term Debt – The long-term debt you owe will still be yours and should be paid off with the proceeds of your sale.
  • Personal Assets – Whatever personal assets you have within the business are still yours.
  • Employees In Some Cases – If you sell your business, there are no legal repercussions if your employees decide to leave the company if it’s of their own free will.

Is it a good idea to sell to a competitor?

Selling your company to a competitor can be complicated because you both know so much about the business.

This might make them lowball you on an offer if they decide they want to add insult to you leaving the competition: but it could also mean they’re more driven so they can knock out another person they’ve been working against.

When selling to a competitor, you don’t have to tell them why you’re selling, but you should be clear on what you want out of the sale.

If you’re considering starting another similar business from the beginning and just want to start with a fresh slate: selling to a competitor might not be a good idea because you’re building someone up who can do worse damage to your new business.

Although few people start a business of the same type when they sell theirs, if you’re considering doing this: don’t sell to a competitor.

Trend on the Rise

Over 74% of companies use their relationship with a competitor to sell more products, so why stop now that you’re selling your company? A competitor may be more driven to purchase than someone new to the industry.

Should I tell my employees about this?

Deciding whether or not to tell your employees can be complicated.

You want to do right by them if they’ve been working hard for your company, but if they bail or quit while you’re trying to find buyers, it might hurt your chances of getting what your company is worth.

If you decide to hide it from them, be careful about where and how you advertise that you’re selling.

Most sales are generally quietly done until they’re completed, so it shouldn’t be hard to keep them out of the public eye.

Tactic for Success

When selling your company, it’s better to be open and honest with your employees and try to find a way to work them into the deal so they can still have a job.

If that’s not possible, it’s better to tell them early and reward them for saying as long as they possibly can.

Wrapping Up

Whether this is your first business or your tenth, you deserve to get everything you deserve for it.

Consider the answer to each of these questions, and get every cent your company is worth.

About the Author

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Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.