- Be reasonable about the price of your business. Inflated expectations interfere with your business intermediary's ability to negotiate the best price for you.
- Continue operating your business as usual. Don't become so obsessed with the transaction that you ignore day-to-day demands. Your prospective buyer will need to see a healthy, functioning business, not one suffering from neglect.
- Keep the sale process strictly confidential. A breach of confidentiality surrounding the sale of a business can alter the transaction dramatically. Any potential purchaser looking at a business for prospective purchase must sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure document. Your business intermediary should prepare such a document for you.
- Prepare for the sale well in advance. Be sure your records are detailed and complete for at least the past few years, and do all pertinent legal or accounting housecleaning as well as a physical sprucing up of the plant or office.
- Anticipate information the buyer may request. In order to obtain financing, the buyer will need financial statements, asset lists, year to date financials etc., plus information to satisfy any environmental regulations that may apply.
- Achieve the highest price through buyer competition. Since this can be tricky, you're advised to let your intermediary, as a third-party, create a competitive situation with buyers to position you for the best transaction value.
- Be flexible. Don't be the kind of seller who wants all cash at the closing, or who won't accept any contingent payments or an asset transaction.
- Negotiate, don't dominate. You may be used to being your own boss, but the buyer may be used to having his way too. With your intermediary's help, decide in advance when to hold and when to fold.
- Keep time from dragging down the deal. To keep the momentum up, work with your intermediary, your accountant, your lawyer and other experts who may be required to be sure that potential buyers stay on a time schedule and that offers move in a timely fashion.
- Be willing to stay involved. Even if the process has been exhausting, realize that the buyer may want you to stay within arm's reach for a while. Consult with your intermediary to determine how you can best achieve a smooth transition from owner to past owner.