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Fundamentals of Selling A Business - Negotiating and Closing the Deal
by Jim Brown

Prior to negotiating the deal, you must establish clear and achievable goals. Ten practical tips for successful negotiations are as follows:

Focus on goals. 

Do not expect to win every battle. Understand the other party's wants and needs. Do not get emotional. Be flexible. Listen to the other party. Never be afraid to walk away from a deal. Never threaten to walk from a deal unless you mean it. Deal honestly and openly. Do not over negotiate. 

Letter of Intent

Once both parties agree on the major terms and the price for the business, they customarily enter into a formal agreement known as the Letter of Intent. This document outlines the general business terms between the buyer and the seller. These terms should include the names of the parties, the business for sale, the agreed purchase price, and the terms and structure of the agreement. This is not a binding contract, but it is used to provide information on mutually agreed upon terms that are to be incorporated into the formal, legally binding contracts. At this stage, a deposit is requested from the buyer, which would be held in trust.

Due Diligence

In this last stage, the buyers would have the opportunity to verify the information provided to them by the seller. Buyers focus on areas such as:
bullet Corporate organization and ownership 
bullet Products and inventory 
bullet Customers and suppliers 
bullet Management and employees 
bullet Sales and marketing 
bullet Facilities and equipment 
bullet Reporting and control systems 

Financial results and balance sheet 

It is likely that the buyer's accountant is involved in the due diligence process to perform a financial audit and verify all past financial records. If the business is incorporated, the buyer's attorney may thoroughly review your corporate documents and legal standing.

Purchase Agreement

The purchase agreement details all the legal and financial aspects of the deal as well as the business terms and structure of the deal that were outlined earlier in the Letter of Intent. This contract is legally binding.

Related Articles:

Fundamentals of Selling A Business - Preparation
Business owners invest much time and effort into their businesses, and most arrive at the hard decision to sell their businesses at some point in time. After the decision to sell has been made, there are a number of preparatory measures that make your company more appealing to potential buyers, and they may take from two to twelve months to implement.

Fundamentals of Selling A Business - Marketing and Prospecting the Buyer
To successfully sell your business, it is essential that you know how to communicate its appeal, and understand the factors that potential buyers have to consider.

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Jim Brown is Director of Marketing at GlobalBX, Buy a Business or Sell a Business on GlobalBX, a free business for sale listing exchange that provides a confidential forum to facilitate the buying and selling of businesses with thousands of businesses and franchises for sale as well as comprehensive business information for business buyers and business sellers. Lists businesses for sale, business brokers, and franchise opportunities.

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