Mistake #1: Not planning ahead.
You wouldn't try to sell your house overnight, so why would you try to sell your business that way? Selling a business takes time so allow yourself that luxury. To receive the most reflective price of your business, you have to be patient and you have to be organized. Review your records and make sure all this information is up to date, as any potential buyer will want to see that this information is current, accurate, and available.
Mistake #2: Not understanding the value of your business
Remember: Asking price is what the seller is asking, selling price is what the seller is receiving, and the fair market value is the highest price the buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price the seller is willing to accept.
If you don't know what your business is worth, what price will you ask? Before you put your business on the market make sure you know an approximate price to ask for your business. Before making the decision to sell it's important to meet with an experienced broker who can provide you with the most realistic pricing option for your business.
Mistake #3: Assuming that you can be your own business broker.
While there are some tasks you can undertake yourself, this is the stage where overestimating your abilities may be to your great detriment. Selling a business is not as easy as putting up a 'for sale' sign, it's a complex and lengthy process carried out by a variety of professionals - so let the professionals do their work.
Mistake #4: Assuming that the highest value quoted = best value for your business.
Speaking of professionals...overly zealous brokers may quote you higher asking prices for your business, which if you're looking to make a significant profit (who isn't?) this is highly appealing to you. However you need to consider the true value of your business and what this this means on the market. A too high asking price will likely result in an unsold business, meaning that the profit you're chasing is unattainable and you will end up with nothing.
Mistake #5: Spending too much time on buyers who are not serious
Your business may generate a lot of interest but most of this will not result in a sale. It's important to distinguish between buyers who are truly interested in your business and those that are merely shopping around, as this may divert your efforts from buyers who truly want to buy your business.
Mistake #6: Not taking enough time to understand a serious buyer
The better you understand the buyer and their interests, the more likely you will be to make the correct decision about whether they are the right person to take over your business. Knowing the buyer will help ease the negotiation process and allow the transaction to run more smoothly.
Mistake #7: Not knowing when to say 'no'
Although you may be eager to sell your business make sure the deal is a good one. Even if you understand the true value of your business (and have successfully avoided mistake #2) you may be eager to sell. It's crucial that you do a through analysis of the offer and whether this is beneficial to you. It's better to hold off until a good deal is offered than settle for a bad deal as this may result in great losses for you.
Mistake #8: Being unsure
So you've managed to avoid all the previously mentioned mistakes and the negotiation is going smoothly: this will result in a win-win situation for all involved. However, you're beginning to realize how much you've invested in this business and feel you cannot afford to part with it, so before closing the deal you decide to back out at last moment. If there is ever any shred of doubt prior to beginning the selling process it's important to address it. If that doubt still persists, you are not ready to sell your business. Simply do not begin the process all together and spare yourself the headache.