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Selling A Business FAQ | How To Sell An American Business Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any question to get its answer.

1. How do I sell a business?

Selling a business is one of the most complex, distracting and time consuming processes for a business owner. Besides selling your business, you should also be aware of the post-sale liabilities. There are many factors and many people involved in the sale of a business. Before going further, the foremost thing is to determine if you are serious about selling. If you are serious, that it is the first step in selling a business.

2. Who are the vital people in the sale of business?

Broker/agent, buyer, and intermediaries.

3. When can I sell my business?

As owner of a business, you can sell the business any time you wish. You’ve worked hard to grow and establish a successful business. You have devoted your time, money, and energy to building, running, operating, and establishing a successful business. It is vital to talk with your financial advisers and family members to get their opinion before putting your business on the market.

4. What do I have to do if I have decided to sell my business?

Once you have decided to sell your business, you can sell it by yourself or you can hire a professional business broker/agent/attorney/business exchange company, etc. who have knowledge and experience in selling businesses.

5. Who can sell my business?

As an owner of the business you can sell your business by yourself or you can hire a professional broker/agent who can sell your business. An expert recommends that there is a lot of difference between a sale by owner and a sale by a professional. The professional person could make the difference between a smooth sale and a difficult sale as they know business selling strategy, and tasks involved in the selling of businesses, such as keeping the sale information confidential, finding qualified buyers, and they work to get the highest possible price or fair market value and successfully transfer the business.

6. What is the right time to sell my business?

There is no right time or wrong time to sell a business; businesses can sell anytime. It all depends on the motivation and seriousness of the seller and also the conditions or factors associated with the business.

7. Is the business I own sellable or transferable?

Any business can be sold, whether it is profitable or not, as long as the sale is by law. The price or value of the business will vary based on a number of factors such as type of business, location, rate of returns, risk involved in the business, etc. As a general rule of thumb, the more profitable your business and lower the risk, the better the chance that it sells quickly. A less profitable and riskier business will take longer to sell.

8. What is the first step I have to take if I decide to sell my business?

Once you have decided to sell, the first step is to find out and hire a professional business broker/agent/attorney/business exchange company, etc. to sell your business.

9. Will a broker/agent really help to sell my business?

Yes, absolutely, brokers/agents are licensed professionals who are qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced in the handling of business sales. They will facilitate the successful sale of your business. A business broker/agent can help you decide how to price your business and how to structure the sale. They can find the right buyer for your business, work with you and the buyer in negotiating, and coordinate every step of the process until the transaction is successfully closed. The right business broker/agent can certainly make lot of difference if the business is evaluated properly and structured and presented professionally.

10. Where can I find qualified brokers/agents?

You can find brokers/agents on the BizWorldUSA.com broker directory and also from business licensing governing agencies.

11. How can I find out their experience and credentials?

Read about them and review their past achievements. It is always a good idea to hire an experienced professional, and it is preferable, if possible, to hire a local agent, as they have knowledge of the local business market.

12. Once I find a broker/agent what do I have to do?

Once you verify their licenses, E&O, and other related information, if you are satisfied, then you can talk with them about the listing agreement terms and conditions such type of listing, duration of listing, commission, etc.

13. What do I have to do once we agree on the terms and conditions of a listing contract?

Once you and the broker agree on the terms and conditions, make those into a contract and all parties have to sign. Keep a copy for your records.

14. What is the next step?

Once the seller and broker agree on the terms and conditions for the business listing agreement, the broker will collect the all business information from the seller to prepare the marketing materials. They will also contact a business valuation company to get the value of the business. Keep the business premises neat and make sure all the equipment is in working condition.

15. What do I have to do once I know the value?

Once the seller gets the business value from the valuation company, the broker/agent will put the sale advertisement on the market with non-confidential information.

16. When can the owner or broker solicit the sale of the business?

As soon as you know the value of the business, talk with your attorney, CPA, and broker to finalize the sale price and other business sale associated terms and conditions. Once you finalize the terms and price, you or the broker can put the business on the market for sale.

17. What are the best tools I/my broker can use to market my business for sale?

The experts say three things:

  • 1. For all written content you add all salient features of your listed business for sale such as how the business is doing, possibility of addition of services, partial financial information and other important business points. The information should be concise, informative, and attractive.
  • 2. For all audio clips talk about the greatness of the business such as how the business is doing, what kind of services you offer, goods, etc. If possible, post the seller or business operator comments or an interview. This is where most of buyers will become more confident to buy this business over other business. It is always a good idea to speak in more than one language to attract different communities.
  • 3. For all video clips show the business premises, talk about the business for sale, and show important business areas, business equipment, operational area, and specialty area, etc. You can also use this tool to emphasize certain important areas where your business is strong and unique. Keep the business premises neat and clean and add as many marketing points as possible in the video clip.
18. How can I keep the sale of my business a confidential sale?

This is one of the most important items when you are preparing the marketing materials. We do not display your address or your contact email address on BizWorldUSA.com. In order to keep further information confidential, please opt out of the business contact information. If this is not sufficient, talk with your broker/agent/attorney about how to keep the sale of your business confidential.

19. What materials should I add on the marketing content on BizWorldUSA.com advertisements?

Expert opinion says you should write the salient features of the business and what’s great about the business. When the buyer reads the material, the salient features of the business will attract them to your business. This is a wonderful opportunity to convert prospects into buyers.

20. Can I include the purchase price and other relevant financial information?

There is rule about what to tell and what not to tell, but in order to attract buyers and sell the business quickly it is always desired to advertise your asking price and to reveal non-confidential financial information. Please take the advice of a broker/agent/CPA/attorney.

21. What is meant by material and picture marketing?

It’s a good idea to tell about your business including information about how you are doing, salient features of the business, sharing of non-financial information, and other business related information. For the intended buyer who is waiting and looking to buy a business this could be the ideal place to read about your business. Adding photos can increase your chance of getting buyers’ attention and selling of business. There is an adage, a picture is a worth a thousand words. You can greatly utilize this tool by posting your business pictures, logos, trademarks, etc. which gives a constant silent message to the buyer. The silent message is always running on the platform and that increases the chance that your business will sell safely and quickly.

22. What is meant by audio marketing?

The world is growing, barricades are breaking down and opportunities are increasing. Buyers and entrepreneurs will buy a business which reaches them with an effective message. Even then every person wants to do the businesses or buy a business within their community as they feel more comfortable and can express their needs to them to fulfill their needs with someone who can speak their own language. An audio message in your words, in your language is worth a million pictures and words. This also saves lots of time for sellers and buyers and further it reduces the liability of all parties. BizWorldUSA.com offers this tool to sell your business and reach the targeted community. This gives a great opportunity for you to tell about your business, such as how the business is doing, future growth, business offering, etc. And you can present your message in multiple languages to reach the intended target community.

23. What is meant by video marketing?

This is an amazing tool which connects people and makes business transactions happen quickly. This high-end, effective tool not only sells your business, it makes a relationship with buyers. In the experts view, a picture is worth a thousand words, an audio message is worth a million pictures, and a video is worth billions of words and pictures. BizWorldUSA.com brought this tool to sell your business effectively, safely, and quickly. Most businesses are sold with this method in 1/10 of the time that other methods take. With this amazing tool you can talk about your business, show your business premises, and give your marketing presentation in multiple languages. This flawlessly performing tool helps you to sell a business faster than ever.

24. What is meant by market platform?

BizWorldUSA.com brings all the available resources, such as brokers, lenders, buyers, sellers, intermediaries, vendors, franchisors, etc., into one community. This common platform gives an opportunity for community members to see and exchange services, products, offerings, etc. to develop our business community.

25. What are the differences between the local search versus general search?

There are a lot of business portals available in the market which are unable to fulfill your desired object, such as selling your listed business. Their vague and unwanted search results don’t show your sale advertisements, and if even if they do, it’s on the bottom page which never makes it to the user’s attention. On BizWorldUSA.com the user can short list their business needs such as category, business service, geographical area, etc. and in all cases your business for sale advertisement will be the among the first in your area.

26. What are the differences between the restrictions versus freedom advertisements?

Most portals and media charge huge amounts of money, but they put restrictions on marketing material such as content, logos, photos, address, etc. For each change, you have to call them and the work has to be done by them. Here, you have freedom to access, edit, and add by yourself. With BizWorldUSA.com you have 24/7 access and you can add or delete your content/audio files/video files without calling anyone. This is a user-friendly community portal giving you direct access to make all necessary changes 24/7. You can make these changes as many times as you want at no extra cost.

27. How many photos can I upload and what file size can I upload for my advertisements?

Currently BizWorldUSA.com offers four photos/pictures on a business sale advertisement. The max size of each file is 300 KB. The file types are JPEG/GIF/PNG.

28. Is it mandatory to upload photos?

It is not mandatory. If you wish, you can add photos.

29. How many audio clips I can upload and what file size I can upload for my advertisements?

Currently BizWorldUSA.com offers only one audio clip per advertisement with a max file size of 5 MB. Usually this covers anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes of recording.

30. What are the marketing factors I need to explain on the audio content?

It is a great opportunity talk about the greatness of your listed business, future growth, and salient features of the business. If possible, post a seller interview regarding the greatness of the business, what kind of business is offered to clients, goods, etc. If needed, you can use multiple languages to target the desired community.

31. Can I replace my audio clip?

Yes, you can access it 24/7. Just log in to your BizWorldUSA.com account and delete the old clips and add new clips. New content will be ready to use immediately.

32. Is it mandatory to use the audio tool?

It is not mandatory. If you wish, you can add or use the audio tool for fast and easy selling.

33. How many video clips I can upload and what file size I can upload for my advertisements?

Currently BizWorldUSA.com is offering only one video clip per advertisement with a max file size of 5 MB. Usually this covers anywhere between 45 to 60 seconds of recording.

34. What are the marketing things I need to add on the video column?

It is a great opportunity talk about the business, show the business area, have a seller interview, and talk about yourself and your business. Show important business areas, business equipment, operational area, etc. You can also use this tool to emphasize certain important areas where you are strong and unique.

35. Is it mandatory to use the video tool?

It is not mandatory. If you wish, you can add or use the video tool for the fast and effective sale of your business.

36. In audio and video messages can I use my own language?

Yes, absolutely. You can use as many as languages as you wish.

37. Can I do a business operator interview and post it on the website?

Absolutely. This is great way to let the business operator talk about the business. It not only attracts customers, it also reduces the liability since you as the seller are giving the business facts.

38. My listed businesses for sale and my professional service offerings are targeted to a particular community. Can I use my own language via audio/video to reach the community?

Yes, you can use your own language as long as it is acceptable. If there are any abusive messages in the messages, BizWorldUSA.com will remove all audio/video from the listing without notice.

39. Will BizWorldUSA.com allow my business/personal website or logo and contact info to be posted?

Yes, you can post your website address and you can forward customers to your site where they can reach you directly if they wish.

40. How can I verify/monitor/track my advertisement?

You can just log in to your account and go to your advertisement and there you will see the views/history. Just click on the tab and you will see the number of visitors, including the locations and time of view. This is real time data that you can access from anywhere, and with that data you can identify from where you are getting calls, hits, and mail.

41. How can I avoid fake buyers or third-party calls?

This is very simple. Ask the contacting party to sign your confidential agreements and request a valid photo ID. Also ask for a pre-approval letter or proof of funds before releasing business information. You could also ask them to send an email request from BizWorldUSA.com. The site will track the IP address of the sender and with that you will know whether the requester is true or fake. This can minimize fake calls.

42. What is the minimum time frame it takes to sell a business?

There is no minimum time frame to sell a business. Based on sales research and analysis reports, the lowest time frame to sell a good business is anywhere between five to six months. To learn more about the stages of selling a business, please read about the stages of selling.

43. What should I do once I put the business on the market?

Once your business is on the market you will get calls from various people such as buyers, brokers, etc. Ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement before releasing your business information. If possible, pre-screen the buyer to see whether they will qualify to buy the business or not.

44. Can I add my own NDA/CA?

Yes, you can add your own agreement. However, talk with your attorney and ask them to prepare a confidential agreement to protect you and your business information.

45. What do I have to do when a buyer signs an NDA and wants to visit the premises?

Ask the broker to arrange a meeting between all parties at the business address. Then, in the presence of the brokers, the buyer and seller can exchange business financials and other important information. The seller can show the business area and go over documents. The buyer can present their questions to the seller and find out more about the business.

46. What happens if the buyer likes the business?

The buyer can present an offer though the broker. Once an offer is prepared, both parties can go through the terms and conditions of the sale. Any adjustment to the price or conditions can be negotiated. Once all the terms and conditions are accepted by the seller and buyer, the broker can prepare the final contract. When all parties sign, it becomes an executable contract.

47. Will I need to finance the purchase of my business?

Not unless you are interested in doing so. It is always a good idea to talk with your financial advisor and attorney before making such a decision.

48. Can I impose the terms and conditions on my businesses sale?

There is no law or restriction prohibiting doing so. This is solely at your discretion. Discuss with your attorney and they will guide you on what to add and what not to add.

49. What happens once all parties sign the contract?

Based on the terms of the sale, all parties have to work on a good faith estimate to fulfill the executed contract. In most cases, as soon as the contract is finalized the buyer will start due diligence.

50. What can I do in due diligence?

In due diligence the buyer will investigate and also hire a business professional to conduct an investigation to get all the business related information. You have to hand over the requested documents and allow them to do an investigation.

51. What is the next step if the buyer is satisfied with all business reports?

If the buyer is satisfied with his investigations and reports, then the buyer and seller will open an escrow with an escrow company or with an attorney or broker who is practicing escrow services. The buyer will deposit the funds with escrow as per the contract.

52. Should I utilize the escrow process to close my deal?

In order to sell or exchange a business you need a medium of exchange to satisfy the law and also to protect all parties involved in the transaction. It is always a good idea to talk with your broker/agent/attorney who is specialized in local laws and knows about business sale requirements. Based on their suggestions within the permitted law you can make the decision that works for you.

53. What will happen if the buyer opens escrow?

Once the escrow opens, the escrow agent will prepare the documents, including the allocation of funds, based on the instructions of all concerned parties and all parties will sign those documents.

54. What happens after signing the initial documents?

Once all parties sign the documents, the escrow agent will work on the title search, will do necessary investigations on the business, will coordinate with all departments for the clearance, and will notify all creditors about the bulk sale and requests for clearance in order to transfer ownership. Meanwhile the buyer will also apply for all necessary leases, permits, and licenses to operate the business.

55. Do I need to sign any legal documents?

Yes, you need to sign other legal documents pertaining to the sale of business. Your agent will prepare all the necessary documents of due diligence, disclosure, and other reports to protect you. Your agent will also get acknowledgments from all parties that they have received all documents pertaining to the business and any other mentioned documents in the contract.

56. When can I hand over the inventory to the buyer?

Once all parties get all the clearances, the buyer and seller can hire the inventory counting company to count the inventory and send the amount to the escrow office for the record.

57. When can I close escrow?

Once the buyer gets all necessary licenses and permits, including lease, loan, etc., and all the required funds have been deposited in the escrow account, it’s time to prepare the final documents. Once the escrow company gets clearances from all government and non-government agencies for the sale of the business and all funds deposited by the buyer, the escrow agent will prepare the closing documents with approval of all parties. Once all parties sign, the escrow agent will close the escrow by recording the final documents with the appropriate departments.

58. When can I hand over the keys to the buyer?

As soon as escrow is closed you can hand over the business keys to the new owner.

59. Is there anything left to do for the sale of the business?

In most cases the seller will train the buyer. If that clause was part of the contract, then you have to train the buyer and hand over all business secrets to the new owner.

60. How long do I have to keep these closing documents?

Talk with your legal agents who are familiar with business and statutory laws.

61. There are lots of disclosures and other legal forms on the site. Can I use them?

These are model forms for registered users which were prepared by our legal professionals. Our primary aim is to avoid misrepresentation and fraud and to protect all parties equally. Read the BizWorldUSA.com terms and conditions before using any forms.

62. Do I need to pay any fee to use these forms?

No. These are absolutely free for BizWorldUSA.com registered users.

63. Can I email my advertisement to my friends?

Yes, you can forward your advertisement to your friends as many times as you like.

64. Can I refer this site to my friends?

Absolutely, you can refer this site to your friends that may find it helpful.

65. I am interested to learn more about BizWorldUSA.com’s services. How can I get more information?

Send us an email at help@bizworldusa.com or 415-234-8833 with all of your questions and we will contact you.