One of the most common questions we hear in our Dallas office (and in our offices nationwide) is, “How long will this take to sell my business?” Of course, every sale is different, and we can’t predict the future with 100% accuracy, so it’s impossible to give a specific answer. But generally businesses take at least 6 to 9 months to sell from the time you actively start looking for a buyer to the time the deal is closed. To be safe, assume a year for the whole process. But let’s break it down a little for you.
When you’re working with experienced business brokers like CGK Business Sales, we’ll be with you every step of the way. When we come on board, our first task is to get your business ready for marketing. That means getting an accurate business valuation, pulling together your documents, and writing the advertisements that will be used to sell your business. That process can take 3-4 weeks.
The next step is usually what takes the longest – finding a qualified buyer and negotiating the offer. This time is dependent on a number of factors that will vary for each business.
- Reaching buyers isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re trying to do this on your own, you’ll likely struggle unless your business network is extensive. Business brokers like CGK Business Sales have extensive buyer databases and relationships that can help get your business in front of the right people faster.
- The market for some business sectors is cooler, and for others they are in high demand.
- Price can be a big factor in who is interested in your business or even potentially able to purchase it. An accurate valuation and a knowledge of the market is vital to get the best price without scaring buyers off.
Making the Deal
With a potential buyer identified, the process of making the deal starts. There will likely be visits to your business, a signed non-disclosure agreement, deeper financial information shared, and of course the negotiation of the final offer and the M&A purchasing agreement. Again, the time required can be variable based on the size of the deal and the responsiveness of the parties.
Once the offer is accepted, it can take 2-3 months to close the actual sale. During that time, more due diligence is done, and the buyer secures their financing. Attorneys draw up contracts, and other details such as franchisor, organizational, or governmental approvals are worked out.
Finally, after all the paperwork and negotiation, you will reach the finish line. Although the average time to sell a business is six to nine months, it’s possible to speed things up when you partner with brokers, lenders, and attorneys who know what they are doing. Choose a business broker that will stick with you throughout the long process.