Five Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Small Business

Many small business owners start out with the aim of securing their future through the success of their entity. This may be through earning regular income from the entity during their most active years, and later selling the business off and earning a handsome reward as an exit or retirement strategy.

This is a valid goal, given the hard work, long hours and irregular earnings that are associated with the early stages of building a business.

However, the complicated nature of selling a living, breathing entity can dampen your spirits and in some cases cause you to rethink your decision to sell. In most cases, small business owners will be discouraged by how long it takes to sell the business and also how much, potential buyers are willing to pay for it. Adequately preparing for common eventualities will raise your chances of achieving the best possible outcome from the selling process.

Considering the fact that most small business owners will only consider selling their business after years of building it to the point of success, navigating the unfamiliar waters of selling a business might prove to be somewhat tricky. This is why you need to take some time to read up on the common mistakes owners make when it comes to selling their small business, and with it, identify some of the strategies you can use to avoid them.

Without wasting any more time, here is a list of five common mistakes small business owners make when it comes to their business for sale in Cincinnati, accompanied by some practical suggestions on how to evade them.

Inadequate Preparation

Lack of proper preparation is regularly cited as one of the most common mistake small business owners make when it comes to selling off their entity. Simply put, a lot of thought and effort should go into your preparation for the task of selling your business; especially given the fact that it took years to build. Failure to do this will probably result in you losing out on the best deal when the time comes for you to sell.

Proper preparation should be aimed at making your business appealing and valuable to buyers. Take the time to assess your business; paying attention to its operations, its structure, staffing, records/documentation and profitability among others. The main question on your mind when conducting the above assessment should be “What can I improve upon to make the business more appealing and valuable to buyers?”

Once you have a comprehensive answer to the above question, make the necessary adjustments. It’s worth noting that preparing a business for sale can take a long time, up to 2 years according to experienced professionals who handle such deals on a regular basis.

As such, start preparing your business for sale, as soon as you have made a decision.

Inability To Separate Themselves From The Business

As a small business owner who has spent a huge part of their life building a successful business, letting go can be quite difficult. This is especially the case when it comes to owners who play an integral role in the operations of the entity. This however also makes small businesses quite unattractive to buyers.

If your presence plays a huge role in the success of the business, then your absence, after selling it, is bound to leave it struggling for survival. If buyers sense this, they will definitely run away.

To avoid such a situation, it is recommended that you plan for ways of removing yourself and your influence from the business before you start approaching potential buyers. Look for strategies you can use to make the business independent. For instance, you can identify and mentor a promising and dedicated staff member to take your place after you are gone.

Once you show that your business can stand on its own feet, without your leadership and influence, buyers will see more value in it.


It is common for small business owners to place a high price on their business simply because they feel that this is what all those years of hard work are worth, without considering any hard facts/numbers.

Buyers on the other hand will want to know why they are paying a given amount for the business; and to get their money, you will need to convince them with real numbers.

As a small business owner, you should take the time to learn how businesses are valued, and then apply this to the business so as to find out what it is really worth. Turnover, assets and profits are among the main factors considered in most business valuation methodologies. Ascertaining the real value of your business in verifiable numbers will also help keep your expectations as realistic as possible.

Ignoring Information Confidentiality

Due diligence, on the part of the seller and the buyer, is part of any business sale deal. During the sale of the business, potential buyers usually get an inside view of your business, how it operates, and its performance as documented in the available records. Some of this information may be confidential.

To avoid the theft of such information by people, mainly your competition, posing as buyers it’s important that you consider employing various strategies to safeguard this confidentiality. Non disclosure agreements and a comprehensive buyer screening process are some of the best strategies to employ here.

Involve Professional Brokers

Unless you specialize in building small businesses for sale, the process of selling a small business will be new to you. Having a professional broker who has years of experience when it comes to selling small businesses guiding your every step throughout the process may prove to be invaluable.

Professional brokers have access to buyers looking to purchase businesses, detailed knowledge on how such business deals are handled and the resources needed to make entire process a success.

When it comes to selling a business that you have spent your whole life building, it’s only right that you get fair compensation. However, this is only possible when the proper procedure is followed throughout the selling process, from start to finish.

Using the above tips as your guide to the mistakes to avoid when selling your small business will surely improve the chances of achieving the best case scenario.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.