This article are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended as legal advice.


Selling a business – sell today or in 1 year?

December 2nd, 2008

Typically, if you sell a business, the buyer of the business will look at historical financial statements. The current economic downturn is affecting many companies and may continue to do so for some time in the future.  If the slow down only effected the last say 3 months of your fiscal year, you have not produced financial statements which reflect a full year of a slower paced economy.  As a result, if you look at historical financial statements may look good.  A buyer of a business may look at the current financial statements and project out what they think will happen over the future.  What happens if they project wrong?  If they project less than what you think will happen, then your business may be worth considerably less in one year than today.  Remember, buyers of businesses look at the historical data, they look at the last three years of financial statements but if the economy changes, they weigh the most recent financial statement very heavy compared to the prior financial statements.

In summary, your business may be worth more today if you sell then if you sell in a year time. If the financial results deteriorate, many business owners postpone the sale of the business for a minimum of 3 years.  Typically, business owners want to see three years of rising sales and profits.  If the  next one, two or three years are difficult years, the owner may not want to sell the business at the bottom of the business cycle.  They have waited this long, they will wait an additional 3 to 6 years before they list their business for sale.

If the owner is getting on in age or has health issues, will they be able to wait the additional 3 to 6 years?  If not, you should consider selling now rather than waiting.


Filed under: Sell a business,Succession,valuation of a business — Gary Landa @ 10:06 am


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