You’re ready to sell your business, however, how do you find someone that will buy it … or buy it for what you think it’s worth? That will depend on you, your business, and how prepared you are to sell your small business.

Get your business organizedIf you have “all of your ducks in a row” … meaning you’re prepared to sell the business and have taken all steps to maximize the value of the business, you can look for a qualified purchaser that has the resources to purchase the business for cash or to obtain a bank and SBA loan. If you are organized and all of your financial and business records are current and clean, but you haven’t “prepared” for the sale of your business, you will likely still have qualified buyers interested in your small business, but the sale price and the amount the bank or SBA are willing to lend or guaranty may be significantly less than if you had prepared for the sale. In that case you may find that you have to hold a promissory note for some of the purchase price and get paid a portion of the sale price over a period of years. On the other hand, if you have poor financial and business records or you failed to account for all of your business income, which often occurs in cash based businesses, you will often be left with unqualified buyers that will haggle over the sale price, that can’t obtain a bank loan, and who will require you to hold a promissory note for a large portion of the purchase price. This means you will be paid a large portion of the purchase price over a number of years and have to rely upon their success at running your small business in order to get paid in full. In any event, the value of the business will be significantly discounted and you will be at risk of collecting the full purchase price.