If we both want to work together, and we are confident we can market and sell your business for a price that gets you excited, we’ll formalize our engagement as your M&A broker.
2. Kick-Off Meeting.
Together, we’ll dig in to your business, ask about challenges, opportunities, results, and forecasts. We work to gather information to properly present that buying your business is a compelling opportunity.
3. Create Sales Materials.
We develop sales materials that present your business in the most favorable light to the right type of buyers. You gather some information, which we digest and together organize into folders that the buyer will later view during due diligence (this is the process of the buyer “kicking the tires” and “looking under the hood” to verify the information we present to them and gather other information they need to confirm they want to close the deal).
We cast a wide net to prospective buyers, including listing your business on 20+ online business sale websites. And with every type of business, we develop a list of target buyers. For more select businesses or auction-style transactions, we may focus entirely on direct marketing. With a little input from you, we will craft a marketing plan that delivers results.
5. Screen Buyers.
We don’t want to put the gate up so high that we lose a qualified buyer, although we don’t want unqualified prospects to waste your time or ours. We ask a series of well-developed questions to assess the seriousness and capability of prospects who show interest in your business.
6. Buyers and NDAs.
Buyers & NDAs are also known as Nondisclosure Agreements aka Confidentiality Agreements. We require prospective buyers to sign them before giving any sensitive information about your business. When reaching out to prospects, we generally provide only basic, high-level information about the business (e.g., industry, general size). If a screened and qualified prospect expresses more interest in your business, we require them to sign a non-disclosure agreement promising to keep your information confidential.
7. Presenting Materials.
In this step, we deliver the more significant sales materials to qualified buyers who have signed a non-disclosure agreement. We’ll work with the prospect or their business broker/M&A advisor to answer questions and move them toward making an offer.
8. Selection and Structure.
Together, we determine if a buyer is capable of getting the deal closed. If all goes as planned, we’ll usually have one buyer for main street businesses (>$2MM) and multiple for larger businesses (<$2MM+). We use leverage to drive higher offers.
9. Letter of Intent
We negotiate and sign a letter of intent. This is a brief document that is non-binding for most purposes. Even though it’s mostly non-binding, it ensures that we are on the same page with the buyer and that the buyer is serious. It solidifies the intent of the buyer to move forward in the transaction.
10. Due Diligence.
We work to pull together and organize the documents and information a buyer will want to review before closing the purchase of your business. This due diligence is organized in online folders, which are well-organized, clearly labeled, and complete (with all the documents and information we know every buyer will request). This may seem like a boring step, although it’s critical. Many deals get bogged down or derailed in the due diligence phase. By planning carefully and being thoughtful and organized in how we manage due diligence, we gain credibility with buyers and keep the deal moving forward closing. This process actually starts back in Step 3 (Create Sales Materials), which makes things move a bit smoother.
11. Final Documents
During or toward the end of Step 10 (Due Diligence), we begin to negotiate the purchase agreement and other ancillary documents. If we signed a letter of intent, we already nailed down the major deal points. In this step, we work on more granular issues like representations and warranties, which are statements of fact you make to a buyer about the business. Most sellers hire legal counsel (we could provide legal services separately through Cenkus Law). Either way, we stay involved and help you work through any issues the buyer raises.
We often hear that the closing process is anticlimactic. These days, we don’t often get together with the buyer for in-person closings. Instead, signatures are typically exchanged by email. But once everything is signed, we start looking for the wire – and there's nothing anticlimactic about you getting paid for the hard work of growing your business. If we’re in the same town, lunch is on us.