Mergers & Acquisitions Advisory

A Neumann & Associates, LLC

October 6, 2014

When is the Best Time to Sell My Business?

By Joseph Eneldas


At A Neumann & Associates, we get asked the question “When is the Best Time to Sell My Business?“ all the time.  The answer is tricky.  While there are “better” times than others, quite honestly there is no way to tell “the best” time to transfer out of a business.  With that said, there should be a methodical approach to the transfer by the business owner and there are indeed some guiding principles to be considered.

“We encourage our clients to take an objectives-driven point of view when contemplating an exit from the business,” says Achim Neumann, President. “It is vital to identify exactly what the ultimate goals are and then to see if a sale will meet those goals.”  Sounds simple, but sometimes this process can take years to properly execute.

Among many, some of the most commonly expressed goals of a sale include retirement, financial security, lifestyle change, taking care of employees, and enabling future growth of the company.  Each business is unique and the decision to sell is truly an individual one based upon very personal circumstances.  Neumann adds, “The key is for the business owner to acquire as much accurate information as possible and take steps to position the company for a proper transfer.  This will give the owner the best chance to maximize financial return and meet his/her stated goals when the time comes.”

With this in mind, let’s examine some of the essential steps in this process:

1.  Knowing the true value of the company.

If a business owner assumes that they know what the business is worth, he/she will be sadly mistaken.  Commonly used “rules of thumb” such as multiples of revenue, EBITDA and the likes are fine for cocktail parties but certainly not as the basis for a sale.  An independent and accredited fair-market valuation of the firm should be performed at least every 2 years.  This unbiased and multi-dimensional report will provide a thorough analysis of true worth as an ongoing concern.  Guessing is not an option.

2.  Knowing the true marketability of the company.

Through the valuation process, the business owner should be given a complete marketability analysis from an experienced Mergers & Acquisitions professional.  It is crucial for the business owner to understand exactly how the business will be received by the buying and financing communities.  Investors and banks will be looking at certain things and asking certain questions – the owner should know these in advance and be able to provide the correct answers.

3.  Understanding what drives value and marketability.

With the valuation and accompanying marketability analysis in hand, the next step is to identify the specific value drivers within the firm and enhance the attractiveness and worth accordingly.  In preparing the business for sale, it is essential to eliminate any perceived dependencies – on ownership, on a specific employee, or on a specific client.  Moreover, specific steps should be taken to improve vendor relationships, expand the client base, streamline fulfillment systems, and empower dedicated employees.

4.  Understanding the transfer process completely.

Finally, the business owner should be aware of (and completely comfortable with) the exact selling process including the owner’s role, the correct team to assemble, and how long the process takes.  If the above 3 steps have been taken, this transfer process will be evident and the owner empowered to tackle this unique proposition.  With a professional M&A team on his side and having taken the proper steps to position the company, the business owner will maximize the firm’s performance, ensure confidentiality, and execute an efficient sale.

“You can’t time the market – either on Wall Street or on Main Street,” says Neumann. “However, what small business owners can do is clearly define their goals and then put themselves in the best position possible to execute a sale.  If this is done properly, then the financial return from a transaction will be maximized and odds are the other objectives will be met as well.  This is the ideal scenario.”

There is no “best time to sell,” but there is a “best approach to selling,” and it is incumbent upon ownership to know this and utilize it.  Simple concept?  Yes.  Always done – and done properly? Not so much.

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

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Client Testimonials

“I had been in touch with Karin and Gary from A Neumann & Associates regarding some opportunities and was looking forward to meeting with them. Hence, when they organized a seminar in Princeton, NJ, I was quick to sign up. The seminar was very informative as the team walked the attendees through various scenarios and referenced real life buying/selling situations they had been through. The sessions by Gary, Karin and Achim were crisp and focused and brought clarity to potential seller and buyers. I strongly recommend the team and look forward to continue working with them.”

Gaurav Tyagi

“Thank you for your Event on "How to value, Sell, and Buy A Business for Maximum Profit" and the insight into ANA’s approach on what is involved in the Business Exit for sellers. Garys Hervieiou's "Business Valuation", Achim's "Deal structure" presentation and Karin’s "Preparing the Package" are real street knowledge shared. They answered attendees questions which makes it more interesting for learning from others. Great for small businesses like us. The presentations were totally worth our time and travel for the event to Princeton, NJ from Rockville MD. Ravi Bhutani, President, CIPS”

Ravi Bhutani

“Gary, this is to thank you for an excellent job done in selling our business. We could never have done it without your professional expertise, dedication and time put in without reservation to make it happen. We will gladly and highly recommend you to anybody in our position.  It was a pleasure to work with you.”

Pat Iammatteo, Owner

“Your vetting is simply outstanding, among the best I've seen from a broker.”

Eric H., Investor

“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
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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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