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For Sale by Owner: How to Sell a Business Without a Broker

In this guest post, Lauren Galietti, Vice President of Marketing at AssetWorks, shares tips for selling your business without an M&A broker or advisor.

Similar to how a realtor can help you sell your house, working with an M&A broker can help relieve the burden of selling your business. However, it is not necessary to work with a realtor to sell your home, nor is it necessary to work with a broker to sell your business.

If you’re considering putting up that “For Sale by Owner” sign, here are some strategies that can help you successfully navigate the M&A process without a broker.

Before sourcing buyers: Build and leverage your network

One of the benefits of working with a broker is access to their network of potential acquirers. Lacking a robust network can put you at a disadvantage when sourcing acquirers, however this is a hurdle that can be overcome.

If your business is still a start-up, there are resources out there specifically for you. Many cities have accelerator or incubator programs for tech leaders that can help you build a network of supporters and potential acquirers.

For both start-ups and more established companies, a great way to build your network is to turn to the internet. Spend some time searching for companies who have purchased businesses like yours in the past. Make connections with buyers via social networks like LinkedIn and reach out to start the discussion.

Sourcing buyers: Create a Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM)

Another element of the sales process where a broker can come in handy is in helping you create a Confidential Information Memorandum (or CIM). This is the document you’ll use to market your business to your newly established network.

A CIM includes information about your solution, the market you serve, your competitive environment, and your customer base and attrition rate, along with historical financial information and future projections. For more information on CIMs and a checklist of what to include, click here.

Choosing a buyer: Find the best fit

Are you simply looking for the highest offer? Are you looking for a place where your business can continue to grow well into the future? Are you planning to leave the business or are you looking for new growth opportunities for yourself and your employees?

Take the time to determine what’s most important to you and in what type of environment you believe your business will thrive. Then, get back to leveraging the network you built and the CIM you created to start furthering your conversations and building relationships.

Closing the deal: Enlist the help of a legal expert

Elements like intellectual property, contractual agreements, and the structure of the deal mean there will be a lot to discuss with your acquirer before coming to an agreement. When you feel like you’ve found the best fit for you and the company you built, enlist the help of a legal professional with M&A experience to support you in getting the deal done.