Knowing When to Sell Your Business

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CPA Advice to avoid IRS penalties

Many business owners have the mistaken idea that retiring from their business will be a pretty simple process…

…they’ll just find a buyer when they’re ready to retire and live off the proceeds of the sale for the rest of their lives. In an ideal world, this would be true. Unfortunately, the reality is much different. Except in rare circumstances, business owners cannot simply pick an age at which they want to sell or retire. There are number of things they have to be aware of, such as:

  • Whether or not their business is in good enough shape to be sold
  • The market for business transfers
  • The impact of anticipated market factors, such as the number of baby-boomers who are looking to sell their businesses over the next decade
    Prepare to plan years in advance if you wish to sell your business.

    Prepare to plan years in advance if you wish to sell your business.

If selling to an outsider is your strategy, you would, of course, want to sell your business during a seller’s market so you can maximize the price. If history repeats itself, it’s likely that the next prime selling time for privately held businesses will be 2013 to 2018. And recently released data would seem to indicate this is definitely the case!

Data from’s recent Q2 2015 Insights report found that the number of small businesses listed for sale grew more than 12% from the same time last year. According to the report, we are now reaching levels not seen since 2009. “The increase in listings correlates to a number of factors, including growing small business financial performance and sale prices, and the volume of baby boomers reaching retirement age,” writes Bob House of

According to the most recent “Market Pulse” report from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, sales of small businesses (annual revenue of less than $500,000) and medium-size businesses ($500,000 to $2 million), rose year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Baby-boomer retirement is the number-one reason driving business sales across both the Main Street (businesses up to two million dollars in value) and Lower Middle Market sectors (businesses from two million to fifty million dollars in value). Baby-boomer business owners are flooding the market and this will likely continue during the next 10-plus years, as they hit retirement age or experience a life event, such as death, disability, or illness, and look to transition their businesses to others. However, this oversupply is likely to drive business values down.

As we have talked about frequently, historical statistics show that approximately one in five, or 20% of businesses that attempt to sell, actually close on a transaction. And these were the statistics before the pending onslaught of businesses hit the market. It is predicted that the decline of personal wealth due to the inability to turn privately held family businesses into cash will dramatically alter owner retirements and negatively impact future generations.

This is why business owners who are looking to transition out of their businesses need to be ready in order to stand out from the crowd!

By staying vigilant, you will know when to reinvent your business and when to sell (either internally or externally) so you can tap into the value, realize your gain, and get enough money to achieve your goals! And, make sure that you give yourself enough time. Generally, we recommend starting to plan 3 to 5 years in advance.

Experienced CPA firms like Williams and Kunkel, CPA, LLP can help you plan ahead if you wish to sell your business, so call us today in Flower Mound at 972-446-1040.

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Source: Business 2 Community


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