5 tips to sell a business more easily

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  • 16 September 2021

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Selling a business is often a complex and time-consuming process. Our experience shows that even for a small company, the entire takeover process (preparation – preparing for sale – looking for a buyer, negotiations) almost always takes more time than initially anticipated.

During this period, the manager has a double task: to manage the business and steer the takeover process in the right direction.

These tips are to help managers – your clients – to cope with it!


Tip 1 – Make the business less dependent on the manager!

Our experience shows that too much dependence on the owner-manager is one of the biggest stumbling blocks when selling the business.
The more dependent a business is on one person, the more difficult it is to sell. It is also difficult to determine the correct value of such a business. Hence our first piece of advice: “Think earlier about later”.
Start today with transferring responsibilities. This process takes time. Therefore, make a planning. Even tasks that cannot be transferred must be documented. Map out the available knowledge and know-how. (main customers, main suppliers, procedures, …)


Tip 2 – Show the return of the business!

Our experience shows that a too low (visible) return is an important stumbling block when selling a company or business.
The more profitable the business is, the easier it is to sell. It is also easier to determine the correct value of a profitable company. Hence our advice: “Show the return of your business!”
Start analyzing the financials of the business. Where is the profit in the business? Is your salary paid correctly as a manager?


Tip 3 – Be clear about the motivation to sell! (now)

Our experience shows that too much ambiguity about the motivation of the business owner to sell his business is often a stumbling block to gain the necessary trust of potential buyers.
Why does he/she want to sell his/her business “now”? Explicitly clarifying the motives for selling the business “now” will go a long way to bolstering the necessary confidence / persuasiveness that will help to sell the business smoothly.


Tip 4 – Sell the business and rent out the property as 2 separate transactions

Commercial property is often the most important asset of a company. Often it concerns very specific real estate: think of a bakery – butcher’s shop – shop premises – catering industry – garage, etc.
A high sales value of the property can be an obstacle to a smooth business transfer. The purchase price may exceed the financing possibilities of many candidate buyers.
The business takeover often becomes more feasible if the business property is offered for rent – to an investor or to the trade buyer.


Tip 5 – Make sure all the paperwork is in order!

  • Make sure that the bookkeeping is up to date (e.g. timely filing of annual accounts).
  •  Make sure that all company information (annual accounts, situation with regard to social security, VAT, etc.) matches the information that is publicly known about the company. TIP: Ask for a credit report on the business (GRAYDON or similar) and check it in detail.
  • Make an inventory of all agreements and contracts with customers, staff, suppliers. Make sure that every agreement (e.g. exclusivity, price agreements, etc.) is recorded in writing.

Entrepreneurs should talk to the people they trust about selling their business. Think of partners, accountants, other entrepreneurs or takeover advisors. As soon as the sale plans are concrete, the process can start: either directly on a matching platform, or through a business transfer advisor.

In both cases, business transfer matching platforms, such as Overnamemarkt, Member of Transeo, will be pleased to help.
The matching platform enables you to start by placing a (anonymous) company profile, for example on This will allow to quickly and efficiently find out how much interest there is in the company.

The rule with any company sale is: the more interest, the better. It’s not just about the highest possible yield, but also about the choice from several candidate-buyers. For inspiration, take a look at the most popular profiles of companies offered for sale online via

Would you like more guidance? Then appeal to UNIZO Bedrijfsoverdracht: Tailor-made advice for those selling a small business. Professional and affordable advice on handing over your company. Tailor-made for independent entrepreneurs.

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