On Selling a Business – It’s about more than money

When it comes to selling a business, owners do care about more than just the money involved. After operating, growing, and stewarding a business for many years, owners care about the future of the business and their employees’ stability.

The International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) just released their Market Pulse report for the first quarter of 2017, created to gain accurate insight into the market conditions for businesses sold in the United States. The national survey was conducted with the intent of providing a valuable resource to business owners and their advisors. Magnusson Balfour President/CEO, Scott Balfour, utilizes these reports as part of his knowledge base and expertise he brings to advising commercial real estate and business brokerage clients.

One area highlighted in the report was “Negotiations”, and the significant factors business owners consider when selling their business. Surprising to some – money isn’t everything – sellers have several other facets on their minds when they sell their business.

The Market Pulse reports:

“When it comes to selling a business, owners care about more than just money. Advisors indicate that cash at close is a key desirable for sellers, as is taking care of their employees. Getting out quickly and leaving a legacy are also highly valued. Results indicate that a relative minority of sellers are interested in employment contracts and other deal structures that keep them active in business.”

Scott Balfour seconds the findings in this survey, in fact, he believes these sentiments – taking care of employees, business legacy, along with quick cash on the sale – run even higher in priority with Maine business sellers. “Yes, cash at closing is important, but owners have spent years with their customers and their employees, and they are very concerned with the ‘people’ side of the transaction,” says Balfour. Sellers often want more conversation with potential buyers, in informal settings such as over lunch, where they can discuss in greater detail the potential buyer’s intentions for the future of the business and the employees. Owners want the people that make their business tick to be cared for, even after the sale and transfer to new ownership. The Maine business climate continues to grow strong, and also includes caring for people. Maine business owners are considering the futures of those that made them successful – not just about the money.

Read the complete IBBA and M&A Source Market Pulse Survey Report here.

Special thanks to Scott Balfour for contributing to this article.