As an owner who is thinking about selling your business to a third party or transitioning the ownership to family or other insiders, it’s important to educate yourself about the process and work with professional advisors who specialize in business transfers and have the expertise to manage all facets of your transaction.

There are myriad aspects to consider and serious decisions that will need to be made, and not having the right team in place could cost you. After all, you only get one chance to sell your business and you want to do it right!

Some of the activities your advisory team will assist you with include:

  • An assessment of your personal needs and objectives
  • Business valuation
  • Business performance improvement and maximizing company value
  • Pre-deal preparation and diligence
  • Finding the right buyer
  • Maximizing your deal price and terms of your deal
  • Personal financial and estate planning
  • Addressing potential deal killers in advance

As you can see, there are a lot of moving pieces and you want to have high-quality, experienced professionals on your side who will assist you every step of the way.

Identifying Who You Need on Your Advisory Team

Your advisory team may include a variety of professionals throughout different phases of the transition process. If you are planning an internal sale, the advisors needed will be a bit different from those for an external sale. In either case, 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. And as with any team, you want someone to coordinate the team to make sure they are working to ensure all work is completed on time and that your goals and objectives are paramount. Make sure your goals and objectives are “top of mind” for all advisors and that you are receiving the assistance you need.

External Business Transition Advisors

The advisors you should select for an external sale will include:

  • Business transition advisor
  • CPA with experience in tax planning for business sales
  • Transaction attorney
  • Business intermediary (business broker or investment banker)

Selling your business to a third party can be a potential minefield for business owners if you don’t have the proper guidance in navigating the marketplace. This is a complex world of investment bankers, private equity groups, lenders, financial buyers, lawyers, and due diligence. Getting prepared for a possible transaction and minimizing taxes and fees takes time, preparation, and the assistance of a skilled advisory team.

Internal Business Transition Advisors

For an internal sale, you will most likely need the following advisors:

  • Business transition advisor
  • CPA with experience in tax planning for business sales
  • Corporate or transaction attorney

The internal sale must be carefully negotiated and structured to minimize taxes and fees and will require the buyer(s) to be included in the process over the course of many meetings, until an agreement is reached.  

Quarterbacking the Entire Process

Whether you will be selling your business internally or externally, you should retain a qualified advisor who will act as quarterback of the team to ensure that all work is completed on time and that your goals and objectives are the focus every step of the way. In addition, this person can provide access to specialized advisors for your unique business situation. You should seek out the necessary advisors early in the business transition planning process. It can take time (12-24 months) to pull together the team and consummate the transaction. Once you have the right team in place, your quarterback will keep all of your advisors working together in a timely and efficient manner.


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