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Sell A Business

Selling a business is a very complex process, our job is to remove the complexity for our sellers and get maximum sale price for our customer, in the least amount of time with minimized inconvenience and effort on the seller's part. Our job is also to protect our seller's investment and time throughout the entire process, after all these are valuable resources. It is our job to market your business to as many potential buyers as possible in the shortest time frame possible.

We can help in selling your business by

  • Exploiting maximum marketing potential to maximize market exposure.
  • Helping you to get the right price and the right terms for your business.
  • Protecting the seller from the day to day interruptions that selling a business brings.
  • Representing the property to other realtors and interested parties and filter out fraud or other possible business predators and keep such parties out of our qualified consumer pool.
  • Keeping an open and honest line of communication open throughout the entire process so that the seller remains informed throughout the experience.
  • Expert help with negotiations, contracts, financing alternatives, due diligence and the many items needed to get from an offer to sale of your business.

Pre-sale Preparation

There are many things that add value to your business such as customer lists, proprietary products and/or techniques, well-maintained equipment, secret recipes, customized software programs, or good employees. These are termed “off-balance sheet items,” and although not used in most pricing models, they add to value. Look at your business very carefully so you don’t overlook those items that make your business more attractive to the buyer.

Review every facet of the business and remedy any problems that could appear during the sale process. No one likes surprises – most of all potential buyers. Whether legal, accounting, environmental, or anything else – try to solve it now. Keep normal operating hours. There may be a tendency to “let down” when you put your business up for sale. However, it’s important that prospective buyers see your business at its best.
- Repair signs, replace outside lights, etc. You don’t want your business to look as if it has been neglected.
- If you have inventory, maintain it at a constant level. If you let your inventory slide, your business will look neglected. If anything, increase it so your business will look busy. Remove items that are not included in the sale and unnecessary items, especially if inoperative. Repair non-operating equipment or remove it if you are not using it.

It might also be helpful if you took a good look at your business from the perspective of a buyer. Try to put yourself in the place of a prospective purchaser of the business. What would you do to make it more attractive or more saleable? Obviously, the financial records of your business are critical to the sale of your business, but how it looks is also important. First impressions really count! If a potential buyer doesn’t like the appearance of your business, the rest of it may never get a chance. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us.

The first steps to take


The first step to marketing your business is to determine the best most realistic price. This may involve planning for a future sale or determining the best achievable price to list your business today. This also lays the groundwork for effectively presenting your business to qualified buyers. As the seller of a company, you will need to gather the pertinent financial records and provide a comprehensive company background to assist with the valuation process. Please read our Business Evaluation section for more details

Packaging and Positioning a Business

Once the decision is made to sell, there is a lot of preparation to do to make it happen. There are a number of items below which are helpful in selling your business Smart business buyers are looking for more than just price. They are searching for the right business to meet their needs. How your company is presented to the market helps determine how buyers perceive the sales opportunity. Developing a well documented, comprehensive file on your business, including a solid financial overview, is key to successfully marketing and presenting your business to qualified buyers. Some of the important documents required for a sale are:

  • Profit and Loss statements for three years
  • Federal Income Tax returns for the business
  • State and City sales taxes
  • List of fixtures and equipment
  • The lease and lease-related documents
  • A list of the loans against the business (amounts and payment schedule)
  • An approximate amount of the inventory on hand, if applicable
  • The names of any outside advisor

If you are like many small business owners, you’ll have to search for some of these items. After you gather all of the above items, you should spend some time updating the information and filling in the blanks. You most likely have forgotten much of this information, so it’s a good idea to really take a hard look at all of this. Have all of the above put in a neat, orderly format as if you were going to present it to a prospective purchaser. Everything starts with this information.

A Seller has to make sure the financial statements of the business are current and as accurate as you can get them. If you’re half way through the current year, make sure you have last year’s figures and tax returns, and also year-to-date figures. Make all of your financial statements presentable. It will pay in the long run to get outside professional help, if necessary, to put the statements in order. You want to present the business well “on paper.” As you will see later, pricing a small business usually is based on cash flow. This includes the profit of the business, as well as the owner’s salary and benefits, the depreciation, and other non-cash items. So don’t panic because the bottom line isn’t what you think it should be. By the time all of the appropriate figures are added to the bottom line, the cash flow may look pretty good.

Prospective buyers eventually will want to review your financial figures. A Balance Sheet is not normally necessary unless the sale price of your business would be well over the $1 million figure. Buyers want to see income and expenses. They want to know if they can make the payments on the business (more on this later) and still make a living. Let’s face it, if your business is not making a living wage for someone, it probably can’t be sold. You may be able to find a buyer who is willing to take the risk, or an experienced industry professional who only looks for location, etc. and feels that he or she can increase business.

Tax and legal consequences

The big question is not really how much your business will sell for, but how much of it can you keep? The Federal Tax Laws determine how much money you will actually be able to put in the bank. How your business is legally formed can be important in determining your tax status when selling your business. For example: Is your business a corporation, partnership or proprietorship? If you are incorporated, is the business a C corporation or a sub-chapter S corporation? There are also tax rules that impact certain businesses on seller financing. The point of all of this is that before you consider price or even selling your business, it is important that you discuss the tax implications of a sale of your business with a tax advisor. You don’t want to be in the middle of a transaction with a solid buyer and discover that the tax implications of the sale are going to net you much less than you had figured. Meet with Attorney and accountant.

Attracting and Qualifying Business Buyers

Marketing your business effectively requires a combination of marketing channels. We use an extensive network of internet advertising, newspaper advertising, direct mail and business broker association marketing to present your business to as many qualified buyers as possible.

Getting the Sales Contract

Once a potential buyer becomes aware of the opportunity your business presents, has signed a non-disclosure, been financially qualified and had the opportunity to review your company’s presentation file the real selling process starts. Typically, the best way to present the business in detail is to schedule a meeting with the seller. When the buyer decides your business is the right one for them we work with them to structure an offer. We will then present the offer to you, help negotiate the process, and turn the offer into a sales contract. Often, the terms of the sale are just as important as the price.

Closing the Deal

Once the contract is in place there are a number of hurdles to clear before you sit down at the closing table. Due diligence, lease negotiations, financing, asset allocations, etc. all need to be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible to assure a smooth transition. We can assist you in all aspects of this very important process and help you get to the closing table.

Questions from the Buyer

Here are some questions that you might be asked – and, should be prepared to answer:

  • How much money is required to buy the business?
  • What is the annual increase in sales?
  • What is the debt?
  • Will the seller train and stay on for a while?
  • What makes the business different/special/unique?
  • What further defines the product or service? Bid work? Repeat business?
  • What can be done to grow the business?
  • What can the buyer do to add value?
  • What is the profit picture in bad times as well as good?

Please also see our Resources Section for checklists & documents required.

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