How long does it take to sell a business? I can say, without fear of contradiction, "It depends."
It depends on the market:
- Right now the market for business sales is warm to hot. The economy is improving, especially in Colorado
- Currently, money for business acquisitions is cheap.
- Baby Boomers are leaving the corporate world in droves, and many are looking for Career 2.0.
It depends on the nature of the business:
- How big is it? (Bigger is not always better.)
- How profitable is it? (Is this case, bigger profits ARE better!)
- How much competition is there in the marketplace?
- Does the business have a strong history?
- Does the business have "buzz?"
It depends on the structure you have in place:
- Are there documented systems and procedures, or do you just make it up as you go?
- Is there a trained and competent staff in place, or does the owner make all of the decisions?
- Could someone else step into the owner's role and keep the business on track?
It depends on how the business is marketed:
- Will you engage a professional business broker, or just put up an ad on Craigslist?
- If you choose to use a broker, will you enlist the services of a full-time professional or someone who markets businesses as a sideline?
- Will your broker actively solicit buyers, or simply post a listing on the Internet and hope for the best?
- Is your broker a "Lone Ranger", or does he have the support and resources of an international network of business brokers?
- Does your broker have a network of professionals in the legal, accounting and financial fields that can help get the deal closed?
- Does your broker have a strong track record of successful transactions?
Finally, to answer the "how long" question, we can look at the sales statistics. On average, the length of time between listing and closing of a transaction in the Denver metro is about eight months. For businesses sold through our Transworld Denver office, that time span is more like six months.
In the end, some businesses sell in a matter of weeks, some never sell. That depends on a number of the factors listed above, not the least of which is how you choose to market the business and who you choose to guide you through the process!