Q&A: Selling Your Business

Business on Main

Q: We're getting ready to sell our business. Will we need a business broker? What else do we need to know?

A: You can handle your own sale — with the help of your accountant and attorney — so long as you’re skilled at marketing and negotiating, and you’re still able to run your business while trying to sell it. Otherwise, hire a broker — or a realtor if your business value is less than $200,000, or a mergers and acquisitions specialist if your business is larger and more complex.When choosing a broker, seek a certified, full-time professional with a strong Web presence and a track record of selling businesses like yours. Review examples of the broker’s marketing plans and selling materials, learn the broker’s pricing methodology and variance history, and get clear about fees. These usually include a 10 percent “success fee,” or commission (with part of this charged up front to cover expenses), cancellation fees, and “trailing fees” should you sell to a source referred by the broker after the listing expires.

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