Selling Your Small Business?

I've been fortunately to personally connect with dozens of small business owners, from family members and friends to sources for this industry as well as others. I've even know several as they were preparing to sell. This article on by Peter Holton hits the nail on the head with regard to why small business owners have trouble selling. Mr. Holton's top five reasons make perfect sense when you really think about it. 

But I will take a moment to emphasize what he lists as his fifth most common reason: personality differences. A small business is a very personal point of pride for many people. I have witnessed first hand business sales go awry because of differing business philosophies. When you, as the seller, don't think they buyer will treat your clients and business partners in the same manner, a deal can quickly fall apart. 

Have any of you spotted any other difficulties in selling a small business that Mr. Holton may have left out?

  • I am a small restaurant and janitorial supply owner and I am looking to purchase a similar company to mine. I have been having a hard time in finding one to purchase. i am looking in the greater Los Angeles area.
  • In reply to Bernie Maddis:

    The Peter Holton article is well worth reading. Good points. In your case, I would start by sending an email to every JanSan supplier in the LA area. Mention that you are already in the business and you are wanting to expand by acquiring another local company. If you don't see any response, send out a second email in six months.
    Keep doing a weekly Internet search for JanSan businesses for sale. Also, consider approaching carpet cleaning supply companies. Locate and call JanSan manufacturers reps as they know what is going on in your area at a supply store level.
    Another idea is to run an ad for a sales rep. You might find one who has lots of contacts and is unhappy where he or she currently works. If you watch Shark Tank, then you know that timing, pricing and the package offer are all critical when buying and selling a business.

    Gary Clipperton