The Timeline

Once you have decided to sell and a prospective buyer contacts you, changes begin. Under “ideal conditions” the best case scenario is for a sale to take a matter of months. A survey of business brokers show that most sales take 6 to 12 months with at least 10% taking longer (Handelsman, 2012). Unfortunately, not all businesses sell due in part to unreasonable prices, all cash demands, and a lack of financial, asset, and inventory documentation.

If at any point you believe—based on documentation the buyer has provided or information the buyer has communicated—that the buyer is unqualified, incapable, disinterested, or unwilling to negotiate, be prepared to politely end interactions. This call is entirely up to you as the seller; you don’t have to interact with, or sell to, anyone who you are not comfortable dealing with (Handelsman, 2012). You may want to read Handelsman’s article, “Timeline for the Sale of Your Business” for a complete outline of the steps involved.