How to Sell a Business

Selling a Business Guide Image

Our business negotiations manager John Crayford walks you through the six stages of selling your business. Although all business sales are unique, the general process is very similar. Familiarise yourself with the steps to selling your business from John below.

Appoint your personal selling team

To ensure that you are prepared for the business selling, one of the first steps you need to take is to appoint a team that will ensure a prompt, profitable sale. You will need to appoint a business transfer agent, as well as a solicitor to look over contracts. It’s also a good idea to ensure your accountant knows about the sale, so they’re able to prepare any financial documents necessary. We strongly recommend that once this team is appointed, that you follow their advice.

Setting the right price

A realistic valuation is fundamentally the key to all prompt business sales. We generally don’t recommend selecting your business transfer agent solely based on their valuation, as whilst a business valuation is one thing, selling is quite another.

Valuations should be based on a wide array of relevant factors such as recent sale prices, local sales, industry standard financial multipliers and more.

Although you may have a value in mind, it is always a good idea to put your trust in a valuation that is based on rational analysis from an industry professional. Generally, a high price is the biggest turn off for most buyers – certainly one of our roles as business transfer agents is to explain why the business is worth its asking price.

At Intelligent we offer a free, no-obligation business valuation for small business owners considering selling their business. Please click the link if you’d like to find out how much your business is worth.

Putting your business on the market

Your business transfer agent will take your key business information and prepare an attractive sales package that tells the story of your business in an appealing manner. We will then market your business for sale, which includes:

  • Creation of sales particulars

  • Your sales advertisement created on

  • Your ad shared on our network of partner business for sale websites

  • Drawing up a suitable list of prospects from our huge database of over 80,000 registered buyers

Of course, the level of detail that is shared in your ad will be dependent on whether you have decided on listing your business as confidential or not. An open sale is often the best way to go about a sale and attract the best price for your business, though we do offer confidential sales for those concerned about privacy.

Although not essential, up to date financial and legal paperwork will be expected by most buyers in order to make an accurate analysis of your business. Having these documents ready will also reduce the opportunity for potential buyers to be difficult and try to knock you down on price. Your accountant will be able to help you here by preparing all the important financial documents.

Handle viewings and buyer interest

Your openness to receiving buyer interest and viewings is essential to a successful sale. This part of your sale doesn’t have to be unnecessarily difficult. Your agent’s business negotiator will handle a lot of the enquiries and act as buffer to ensure that all buyers are suitably vetted.

Having your key financials, contracts and other documents will be very important, as prospective buyers will want to do their own checking to ensure that the business matches the valuation. Your business will be on show, so you’ve got to ensure that everything is up to scratch – the last thing you want to do is for buyers to be suspicious they are not be shown the full picture of the business. Remember this is a big decision for the buyer as well, so they need to be suitably reassured that the investment is worthwhile.


So you’ve got an interested buyer that is willing to commit a deposit to take your business off the market. Now all you need is the right offer and your sale can be finalised. This is the critical part of your sale where your agent’s experience in negotiating offers will be crucial. Remember your agent is working for you, so they will be negotiating hard to complete a favourable sale for both seller and buyer.

At Intelligent we will ensure that this is the area where we truly justify our fee. We keep you updated at every stage of the negotiations process. Often the hardest thing to do for sellers at this point is to maintain patience. However, we will ensure that we fully leverage our experience of your sector to get the price for your business, and sometimes this can require waiting for buyers to response – it is not a decision buyers can take lightly.

Closing the deal

Once the price is agreed your buyer will agree a binding contract of sale by both parties and the respective solicitors. At this stage the money is yours and you can celebrate the successful sale of your business!

For more information on selling a business, call our team on 0800 987 0813 or completing our online valuation form to arrange a free no-obligation business valuation.      

Related Guides

Preparing your business for sale

Selling a business checklist