Selling a Business

A confidential and efficient service


Before a business sale, we strongly advise the Owner to focus on improving profitability and in putting the key staff and systems in place so that it is a turn-key operation.

Equally important is a conversation with financial advisors to understand the tax issues and how to implement the right structure.  Such issues as the use of capital gains tax exemptions and the criteria the company must meet for the exemption.

The Process we follow to Sell a Business.

Step 1 – Price the Business

The starting point is a realistic valuation of the business. Our valuation is based on the financial performance of the company and current market conditions.  

Step 2 – Market the Business

We actively market businesses in a confidential manner and explain the business to a buyer in a comprehensive and thorough way.

For our clients, confidentiality, is one of the most important elements that must be considered during the process.  The wrong information leaks at any time can harm the business, either competitively or at the relationship level with employees, suppliers and customers. Once the sale process has begun, control of information related to the sale must be carefully controlled.

Marketing a business requires planning.  We approach individuals, strategic and financial buyers and other intermediaries looking to buy businesses for their clients.  We screen the buyers to avoid wasting time working with unqualified buyers and quickly establish if a buyer has the appropriate level of expertise and the financial ability to proceed.  

A buyer will have many questions and concerns that have to be dealt with:

  • What’s the future of the product or service? Are sales expanding?
  • Is there an established market with a good repeat customer base?
  • What about the labour situation? Will the key personnel stay?
  • What is Owner’s role? How difficult will it be to replace them?
  • Will it be possible to get bank financing for the purchase?

Step 3 – Negotiate Terms

Awareness of financing options, tax, legal and employee issues and creative solutions to them are crucial. We often help negotiate the terms of a deal which all parties and their advisors will work towards. Being aware of and overcoming the obstacles to find agreeable terms is a key role we play. Issues related to employees, working capital, holdbacks, earn-outs, non-competition, training and transition must all be dealt with and managed.

Step 4 – Close the Deal

We help manage the due-diligence process to conclude the transaction. From our experience we know what information a buyer will likely request to validate the legal and financial condition of a company.  Due-diligence involves the increased presence of advisors who introduce new perspectives and the need to maintain momentum is crucial at this stage and is a key role we play in the process.

Developing an exit plan for a business owner and then selling the company is a hands-on, time intensive project requiring a great deal of communication, collaboration and interaction – as a result it is much better to work with a broker that you feel fully understands your business and will represent it and you well.

Whatever stage your business is at a meeting with an advisor with experience and expertise can provide an owner with valuable information.