My business broker is asking for 5 years of historical financials and 3 years of projections. We’ve never done that in the past and ran our business just fine. Why is this important?

Not to mention books that are complete and accurate, built according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GaaP”), recorded on an accrual basis. You get the idea. Why is this important? It’s the same reason why banks want a minimum of two-years of tax returns for all the business owners, why large customers want to see your financial statements, and why potential investors are so keen to gain an understanding of your “numbers” before deciding to invest. Your financial statements are like your resume. If your resume has typos and grammatical errors, a recruiter would throw it in the trash within seconds. It’s the same thing when trying to sell your business. Your financial accounting records are your resume, and prospective buyers use that and a host of other documents to decide if they’d like to buy your business.

How do I know you can sell my business if it meets your criteria?

We’re owners and business operators who have been in your shoes as entrepreneurs. We’re C-level senior executives who love small business and understand the nuances and the roll-up-your-sleeves, get ‘er done attitude it takes to make things happen. It’s why we’ve developed a patented, repeatable process that only focuses on the specific things needed to get you ready for sale. Not everything and zero fluff. We don’t tell you what to do and leave you holding the bag without the in-house expertise to get you ready to sell. We do the work, we do it right, we partner with you and keep you in the know, and we get out. Of course, some companies need more work, others are larger and need more complex services, and others want our Platinum Services regardless of their size. We also implement monthly services up until the time you sell the business designed to keep your steering the ship, providing course correction where needed, and increasing the value of your company over time by executing The Value Builder System™, engaging in weekly success meetings, driving monthly financial summits and more.

I’ve heard from other business owners that “getting your business ready for sale” is a waste of time, and they wouldn’t get any value working with a firm like yours. What’s different about your company?

We know you’re concerned with time, spending money, wasting energy and more. You’ve probably worked with consulting firms in the past who’ve given you a flashy presentation, maybe even some process flows and other leave behinds that 3 months later are gathering dust. We get it, seriously, because we’ve done the same thing and learned our lessons and trusted our guts when partnering with less than stellar service firms. It’s why our firm is different from the rest.

Why is showing that I have a handle on managing cash so important?

Remember the old saying, “cash is king.” It really is, and many a business has failed with sales going through the roof because they do not have a handle on receivable collections, pay their vendors too fast, are too much in debt and more. It’s a vicious cycle, and as a business owner, it’s vital you understand the inflows and outflows of cash out over a 13-week period, comparing that to a 6-week run of actual cash flow. Graphing the inflows and outflows shows you when you’ll have dips in cash that require extending, or using, your line of credit and helps you manage the payments to vendors and collecting on credit your receivables in a timely manner. It’s called a cash flow forecast, and buyers love to see that companies are making business decisions with cash in mind. It’s a culture shift and a mindset that every dollar counts, and bleeding cash is a deal killer in most buyer’s minds.

I don’t see the benefit of “accrual” financials or “clean” books to sell my business. I’ve built my business on gut and intuition, and I’m an expert in making decisions for my business.

Have you ever been shopping for a new grill? So many to choose from, so many styles, tensile strength, wood versus propane, steel versus ceramic, portable or built-in, smoker or not. It’s confusing, not to mention the instructions to build. Imagine if you have a lot of cash and want to buy the best. You’d want a knowledgeable salesperson, a reputable brand, value for your money, easy-to-assemble instructions and a lifetime warranty. Not to mention that warm-fuzzy feeling of being the man with the plan, grilling fork in hand as you make the best steaks your friends have ever eaten. It’s the same thing with buying a business. If the books are on a cash-basis and “iffy” at best, you don’t get a warm feeling as a buyer. If there are no financial management reporting mechanisms, budget to actual comparisons, key performance indicators, 3-year projections, forecasts and more, it makes it tough for the buyer to get comfortable that what you say they’re buying is reality. Has your company really recorded $10m in sales? Are your gross margins really at 65%? Are your assets and liabilities properly recorded? All of these are important considerations that the buyer requires to decide whether to buy you, or your competitor down the street. Remember – perception is reality, and in this case, a deal-breaker.

Do I really NEED to expend time and resources on the details to sell my business?

No you do not. You just won’t earn top-dollar in the end. It’s often said that the devil’s in the details. The same is true for your business. As buyers run a fine-toothed comb through your business, they look for signs of distress, weakness, or disorganization in order to discount the final sale as much as possible. (Read our Top 4 Pitfalls to Avoid.) Part of our 5-Phase, Reach your PEAK system ensures your business has a bulletproof shine so buyers feel comfortable paying top-dollar.

I want my business to leave a legacy; will it fade away under new ownership?

Leaving a legacy behind for your kids and future generations is important for many business owners, and there are many ways to do that. Many business owners want to ensure that several generations of their family are set for life, and this can be enabled by establishing a family trust that owns the proceeds of the purchase, with trusts set up for family members with disbursement rules established that safeguard the principle. Others want to ensure their business name lives on post-sale as a reminder of the many years of hard work, established brand loyalty and consumer trust they’ve built. A lasting legacy remains a source of pride for business owners, and we work hand-in- hand with you to secure that achievement.