Integra has been in the business of helping people sell their businesses for many years. Our well-trained professionals bring an unparalleled level of expertise to the business sale process.
Below are some commonly asked questions that we receive from those interested in learning more about the Integra method to sell a business. This information is designed to help you better understand the business sale process as well as to explain the advantages of using a professional broker to manage the sale. If you cannot find the information you are seeking, or if you have additional questions, please contact us directly. We will gladly assist you. What are the steps of the selling process?
Below are the general steps your Integra broker will guide you through when selling your business:
- Help you identify the goals you expect to meet with the sale of your business.
- Market the sale of your business confidentially. Your employees, customers and competitors will be unaware that your business is for sale.
- Screen potential buyers before presenting them to you.
- Work with you to arrange meetings with potential buyers.
- Represent you and your best interests in negotiating with prospective buyers. Your broker will also help you evaluate each offer when trying to sell a business with his or her knowledge of current market trends, financing matters and business law.
- Manage the negotiations, keeping your interests in the forefront, until an acceptable deal is agreed upon and closing legalities are finalized.
- Work towards your complete satisfaction in every facet of the successful sale of your business.
A more detailed outline of the selling process is available by clicking here.
What can I do to help sell my business?
As Integra begins the process of selling your business, there are certain things you can do to help us:
- Keep normal working hours.
- Make sure your financial records are an accurate reflection of revenues, business expenses and assets/liability levels.
- Conduct business as usual. Do not let inventory levels dip below normal.
- Keep the business clean and in good repair.
- Remove equipment or furniture that is not part of the sale.
- Provide us with required information in a timely manner.
- Be as accommodating as possible in setting appointments to meet with buyers.
How can Integra help me determine the value of my business and establishing an asking price?
Integra will do a no cost, no obligation, in-house valuation of your business. Should you then want to engage the services of Integra to sell your business, the process of putting the value on your business will be described in detail. In some instances, it may be advisable to engage the services of an independent third party business appraiser. Integra can also assist with this engagement.
How does Integra market my business to potential buyers?
Integra has experience in developing an effective process to sell a business to prospective buyers. Integra brokers typically adhere to a 10-step process in managing business sales transaction; however, your broker may modify this process based upon the nature of your business or local market conditions. When you meet with one of our business brokers, he or she will be delighted to provide you with a detailed explanation of the entire marketing process.
We first market your business to our large databe of potential buyers. To sell a business, we advertise on the Internet, via the Integra website and several other business listing websites. It’s not uncommon for many buyers to relocate for the right business. We may run generic advertisements in the classified section of the local newspaper. To ensure your confidentiality, all marketing excludes any specific identifying information on your business.
How long will it take to sell my business?
It usually takes longer to sell a business than a house or a commercial building. Because of the confidential nature of a business sale, a business broker cannot put a For Sale sign on the window. The average time to sell a business is usually between six to eighteen months. However, there are exceptions.
Some businesses may sell within a month of being put on the market. Others may take several years to attract the right buyer. A business broker seeks out and talks to buyers everyday. The next one may be just right for a particular business.
What types of offers should I expect to receive when I sell my business?
Since Integra is experienced in the valuation process of businesses and in demonstrating the true value of businesses to prospective buyers, it is common for us to receive full price offers on the businesses we represent. All offers, however, will contain some important contingencies, including review of the financial books and records of the business, obtaining a satisfactory lease and agreement on training and transition periods. Other contingencies specific to your business may also be included. Contingencies are normal and provide the buyer with the opportunity to verify the information presented in the marketing materials.
How will the sale of my business be financed?
Seller financing is usually the cheapest and easiest to obtain. It also tells the buyer that the seller has confidence in the business. There are no loan fees and the interest rate is usually lower than the bank rates, but the term of the loan is often shorter. Seller notes make up the majority of buyer financing.
Banks will loan money on businesses that show a strong earnings history on the tax returns. They require a lot of documentations and the payment of upfront fees. In recent years, bank loans, which are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, have become very popular and more readily available. Integra has numerous alliances with aggressive SBA and commercial lenders that are more than willing to work with us to facilitate the financial side of the transaction. We package your business for presentation to the selected lenders and often have the financing pre-qualified before we even talk to the prospective buyers. This, of course, makes the selling process and selection of qualified buyers much easier, as well as making the buyer very comfortable in moving forward with the purchase of your business. We generally arrange an introductory meeting between the lender and buyer in our office immediately after we have an accepted offer to purchase, which expedites the closing process. From time to time, if the business being sold does not qualify, for one reason or another, for outside financing, then it then may be necessary for the seller to do some financing of the sale. When this happens, we will, on your behalf, negotiate the best down payment and terms possible.
How long is the training period for the buyer?
This is very dependent upon the size and complexity of the business. Generally speaking, however, you, the seller, are in the best position to make this determination. Nevertheless, this is negotiable, but you should be prepared to give adequate time to train the buyer and this service is included in the selling price of the business. Remember, if you are financing any portion of the purchase price, you still have a financial interest in the business, so properly training the buyer is in your best interest.
Will I have to sign a non-compete agreement when I sell my business?
Yes. Generally, the non-compete agreement covers the area from which your current customers are generated and the time period commonly is anywhere from three to five years.
When should I tell my employees I plan to sell my business?
Although it seems harsh, our experience has shown that it’s best to tell your employees about the sale immediately before or immediately after the sale is complete. Of course, if there is an employee whose expertise will be needed after the sale, you should introduce the buyer to this employee shortly before closing. Your Integra business broker can assist you in determining the timing for notifying employees.