Often when you talk with owners who made a failed attempt to sell their own businesses, most wish they had used an experienced intermediary. You can’t underestimate the complexity, the time needed, and the outside assistance required for a successful outcome.

It’s likely that transitioning out of your business will be the biggest financial transaction of your life, and you want to make sure that you have a team on your side who is working to make it as successful as possible. Experienced professionals will give you the best possible advice to make your transition a successful one. Here is an overview of the players you need on your business transition team and the varied roles they play during the transition process:

Business Transition Advisor

A business transition advisor can help you determine whether an outside sale is the best way to transition and how much money you will need to net in order to meet your financial goals.  In addition, they can refer you to other seasoned, specialized advisors through his or her extensive professional network. These advisors are familiar with the transition planning process and will help you execute on your transaction.

Think of a business transition planner as the quarterback of your transition team. The business transition planner’s skill keeps all your advisors working together in a timely and efficient manner with the team focused on your goals and objectives.

Business Broker or Investment Banker (for larger businesses)

If you’re selling externally, you’ll want to work with a business intermediary who has experience marketing and selling businesses like yours. This individual will assess your business and determine a likely range of selling prices. In addition, he or she will prepare a confidential marketing piece, invite and help qualify prospective buyers and work with you to close the transaction.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A CPA can estimate the taxes that will be due on your transaction and can help structure your deal to avoid negative tax consequences. In addition, they can assist with preparing and pulling together the necessary documents that will be required by potential buyers. You definitely want to work with a CPA who has experience doing business transactions.


Your attorney will be instrumental in the deal negotiations and will draft any contracts, leases, employee retention or other agreements that may be needed for the transition. It is essential that you work with an experienced business transaction professional.

This list of advisors is not all inclusive and may vary depending on your transition plan. You want to make sure you have assembled a team of advisors that will work collaboratively and in a holistic, integrated, comprehensive manner to assist you in achieving your desired outcome. It takes a well-rounded team of talented business transition professionals to successfully sell a business. And, you want to enlist the assistance of trained, qualified advisors with the tools, resources, and objectivity who can assist you with this process.

The key to a successful sale is a combination of preparation, planning, and assembling the correct team.


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