Mergers & Acquisitions Advisory

A Neumann & Associates, LLC

August 11, 2019

Business Seller’s Checklist

By Jeremy Albelda

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Successfully selling a small business is a unique and challenging project, to say the least.  The small business owner must have many things in place in order to have a high probability of an efficient transfer and exit from their own company.

According to Achim Neumann, President of A Neumann & Associates, LLC, a Merger & Acquisitions Advisor, headquartered in New Jersey  “Selling a business is not like selling a piece of real estate – while both are daunting, there are many more complexities and nuances to properly marketing and closing on a commercial enterprise.  It is imperative that the business owner has his house in order so to speak to have any chance of a fruitful experience.”

With that in mind, here is a look at 10 checklist items that must be in place before a deal can ultimately be completed:

  1. Clear Goal & Motivation – An owner must be fully committed to achieving the goal of selling or it will never get done. Without such motivation, much time and energy will be spent in a hollow pursuit of an unrealistic outcome.
  2. Trustworthy Team of Professionals – From a valued CPA to an experienced corporate attorney to a savvy M&A firm, this will be the team to execute an efficient transaction – quickly maximizing financial return in a professional and confidential manner. This team will help the owner understand the process, determine a path forward and close the deal with the right buyer.
  3. Honest Information – Decisions are only as good as the information that they are based upon. Before making the decision to sell, a business owner must fully understand the correct business valuation of the firm, its marketability and the leverage going into the marketplace.  This is properly done through an independent business valuation that is accredited, multi-dimensional and meets the requirements for SBA lending.  This process and document will set the stage for the efficient transaction.
  4. Viable Business – Is the business profitable? Does ownership get paid?  Does ownership enjoy some other benefits and perks?  If yes, then this is a good start.  Some other aspects of a viable business are positive revenue/profit trends, strong demand for the product or service, clean facility and an experienced professional team in place.  Businesses are valued and sold as ongoing concerns – it must be attractive to own in order for someone else take a huge risk and be interested in the investment.
  5. Clean & Accurate Record keeping – Numbers matter, and properly filed tax returns along with current financial statements are key to any transaction. Correct valuation, marketing, buyer due-diligence and bank financing all hinge on this aspect.  We’ve all heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out” and it is never more true that in the process of selling a small business.
  6. Distinct Competitive Advantage – A business owner must be able to articulate exactly why they are successful and why their clientele is loyal to them. Competition is fierce, and a buyer will want to know precisely what sets them apart from it – whether it be pricing, unique offerings, superior customer service or convenient location.
  7. Enticing Growth Story – Buyers invariably want to know if the company is scalable and if revenue can be increased moving forward. After all, they are making a sizable investment out of their own pocket and certainly want to know the path upwards.  An owner should be able to explain the exact kinds of monetary investments needed (salesperson, new fleet, new territories, etc.) that can make a significant impact on sales.  New target markets and new product/service offerings must be a possibility for a potential buyer to act aggressively.
  8. Flexibility – It is important for buyers to see flexibility in a seller with regards to transition time, possible consultation agreement moving forward, lease terms and the like. If a seller simply states that he wants to hand over the keys and move to the Bahamas, it will be a long time before anyone takes that seriously.  Most sellers want to make sure that “their baby” is in good hands and is successful moving forward, so this is rarely an issue.  A supportive seller is always a plus with the buyers.
  9. Leverage – The stronger the seller’s position, the better the deal structure will be. The ingredients for positive leverage include solid revenue growth (demand within a strong industry) and no dependencies.  Dependencies of any kind (heavy client concentration, irreplaceable employee or the owner themselves) are not attractive and will certainly diminish bargaining power accordingly.  You are only a strong as your weakest link and you can be sure that a buyer will exploit that weakness.  The result will show itself in the offer made and the deal ultimately executed.
  10. Patience – It generally takes 2 to 3 years to properly prepare a business for sale including valuation and corrective measures. It then will take another year or so to ultimately get to the closing table.  Even with a strong team in place, the business owner must maintain strong performance and remain patient throughout a process that is complicated and demanding.

“While selling a small business is challenging and time consuming,” says Gary Herviou, Vice President, “it certainly is doable and rewarding if done properly.”

It is critical for a seller to begin early – proper valuation and marketability analysis is the first step in understanding exactly what is needed to meet the exit strategy goal.  With the correct team of professionals and the proper approach in tow, the small business owner can and will execute a transaction that is worthy of the great business they built.

About A Neumann & Associates, LLC

A Neumann & Associates, LLC is a professional mergers & acquisitions and business brokerage firm having assisted business owners and buyers in the business valuation and business transfer process through its affiliations for the past 30 years. With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, the company has senior trusted professionals with a deep knowledge based in multiple field offices along the East Coast and has performed hundreds of business valuations in its history. The firm’s competitive transaction fees are based on successfully completing transactions. For more information, please contact A Neumann & Associates at 732-872-6777 or info@neumannassociates.com

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Client Testimonials

“I recently contacted A. Neumann and Associates about getting a valuation of my business done. I spoke with Marc, who explained the process in detail. After meeting with Marc in order to get a clear understanding of my business, and what I was hoping to accomplish. His patience in answering all my questions and his knowledge of the proper way to market my business gave me great confidence that this is the firm I will be using to sell my business for max value. Working with Marc at A Neumann & Associates was very easy and professional. I did not know all that was going to be involved in selling my business but they helped me through the process. What I thought was going to be a just another one of those pushy sales companies was just the opposite. Polite, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to talk to and deal with. I highly recommend this firm to anybody who wants to sell now or down the road. Marc not only knows his stuff, but actually is a real nice guy.”

Double Diamond

“Used A Neumann & Associates to sale my business. could not imagine having done it with out the patience and experience Gary provided. Thanks Gary,”

Dennis Frazier

“Working with Marc and his company was a pleasure. What I thought was going to be a just another one of those pushy sales companies was just the opposite. Polite, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to talk to and deal with. Marc handled most of the interaction and he has one of the greatest demeanors. Again, it was a pleasure working with him and his firm.”

Douglas DiCeglio

“I recently completed an acquisition using A Neumann & Associates. Tony Valentino was very helpful and accessible during the entire process. They do a thorough job vetting both parties and got us to the finish line.”

Srini Mudambi

“Claus out of Florida helped us with the sale of our business. We had never done anything like this and him and his team walked us through the process from start to finish. We had some challenges through the process and Claus continued to show up even in the difficult conversations.”

Colby Harris, Co-Owner, Del Mar Designs

“Claus Madsen thoroughly helped us with selling our company. From the 1st introductory meeting explaining to us what was possible, to providing us with resources to assist with the sale. Claus was invaluable throughout the whole sales process. Claus was with us every step of the journey and always made himself available for any questions or issues that came up along the way. If you are interested in selling your business, I encourage you to reach out to Claus and the ANA team so that they can let you know what’s achievable. These guys will make it happen!”

Ron Harris, Co-Owner and Vice President, Del Mar Designs

“A Neumann & Associates is the only business broker I would use or consult with. They have assisted with 3 business sales over the past 15 years with me. They are honest and sincere and have always performed better than my expectations. They are the only one i would use for the sales of my businesses.”

James Belanger, Business Owner

“I wanted to take a second to commend the exemplary customer service from both you [Karin Neumann] and Mr. Valentino. It’s both a rarity in the industry, and very much appreciated.”

Andrew G., Investor

“We worked with Neumann & Associates to investigate the purchase of a research company in 2010 and found Achim to be capable, forthright and realistic. His depth of experience enabled us to fully understand our options, offering creative options that might enable the acquisition. While we didn’t acquire that particular company at that time, we know exactly who to call whenever we’re looking to buy or sell a business.”

Daniel Coates, Buyer

“Purchasing a business through this firm was a pleasure. Gary was very professional and transparent throughout the entire process. I look forward to working with A Neumann & Associates in the future.”

William Klemens, Buyer
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Contact A Neumann & Associates, LLC

If you are considering selling your business, please contact us to learn more about our comprehensive service spectrum. Our experienced professionals will answer all your questions about selling a privately held business in complete confidentiality. Please fill out our contact form, or call us at 732-872-6777. We will contact you directly and will never identify ourselves to your employees.

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