Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Selling Your Business

Team Acquira
-  November 7, 2023
What You’ll Learn
  • How personal motivations influence the business selling process.
  • What factors determine the market value of your business.
  • Why transparent financial statements are crucial for potential buyers.
  • Which legal documents and tax considerations are essential for a successful sale.
  • When and why to engage expert advisors during the selling journey.

The journey of selling a business is paved with uncertainties, emotions, and countless decisions. 

Each decision can significantly impact the outcome of the sale, making it crucial to approach this next step in life with clarity and purpose. 

That's why it's essential to understand exactly what questions you should ask when selling your business. This will ensure that the transaction aligns with your goals and preserves the legacy of your company. 

Whether it’s figuring out your own motivations or understanding the intricate dance of negotiation, asking the right questions can be the compass that guides you toward a successful and satisfying sale. 

Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Selling Your Business

Personal Goals and Motivation

questions to ask when selling a business

Selling a small business is not just a financial decision but a personal one, too. It’s essential to be clear about your reasons for selling, as it can influence every other aspect of the sales process. 

Begin by asking yourself, “Why do I want to sell?”

This might seem like an obvious question, but answers can range from seeking financial gains, desiring a lifestyle change, feeling overworked, to myriad other reasons. 

Each of these reasons will determine how you approach potential buyers and negotiate terms. 

Next, ask yourself, “What do I plan to do after the sale?” 

Whether you’re considering retirement, starting a new venture, or taking a break to travel, your post-sale plans will guide how urgently and at what price you wish to sell.

Whether you’re considering retirement, starting a new venture, or taking a break to travel, your post-sale plans will guide how urgently and at what price you wish to sell.

Understanding Your Business

It’s easy to develop blind spots when you’re deeply involved in your business. 

That’s why self-assessment is a crucial step in the selling process. 

Firstly, determine the current state of your business by asking, “Is my business in a growing, stable, or declining phase?” 

Recognizing the phase your business is in will help position it better in the market. 

Dive deeper by listing its strengths and weaknesses. 

“Are you leading in any particular niche?” “Are there unresolved disputes or liabilities?”

Remember, potential buyers will conduct thorough due diligence. 

By addressing these questions head-on, you can mitigate any concerns buyers might have, creating a transparent environment in which you and the seller can develop mutual trust that will facilitate the sale.

Valuation and Pricing

One of the most critical aspects of selling is to get the pricing right. 

Start by understanding, “How do I determine my business’s current fair market value?”

This involves considering various factors like assets, liabilities, earnings potential, whether market demand in your geographical area and industry is stable, growing, or declining, and comparing your business with similar ones  that have sold recently. 

Acquira provides a free valuation to businesses. If you meet our criteria, we'll buy your business at a fair market price with no hidden fees and no transaction costs. If you fall outside of our criteria, we can connect you with one of our broker partners to help you sell your business quickly and quietly.

Start with the free valuation here:

Once you have a ballpark figure, ask, “How can I maximize the selling price?

This might involve making some strategic improvements, investing in branding, or expanding the customer base before listing the business for sale. If your financial statements could be clearer, consider working with a CPA to increase their transparency.

Read more: Everything You Need To Know About Business Valuation

It’s always a balance between what the market is willing to pay and the intrinsic  and potential value you see in your business. 

Partnering with a valuation expert like Acquira can provide an objective perspective and help streamline this process.

Preparing Financial Statements

Your financial statements are, in many ways, the heart of your sales presentation. They provide a clear, quantifiable snapshot of your business’s health and potential. 

Begin by ensuring that your records are in order by asking yourself, “Are my financial statements updated, accurate, and easily understandable?” 

Clean and organized records can speed up the due diligence process and instill confidence in potential buyers. 

Dive into the details and ask, “Can I explain fluctuations in revenue and expenses?” 

Being able to articulate reasons behind any anomalies or trends not only shows your grasp of the business but also assures buyers about its sustainability. 

Remember, transparency and clarity in financial statements can make the difference between an interested buyer and a committed one.

Target Market and Buyers

Identifying the right buyer is the cornerstone of a successful business sale. 

Start by pinpointing your ideal buyer. 

Ask yourself, “Who is the perfect match for my business?

This could be a competitor, an investor, a seasoned entrepreneur, or even an ambitious newcomer. 

Each potential buyer brings different dynamics to the table. 

Understand their motivations by inquiring, “Why would someone want to buy my business?

Are they looking to expand their current operations, diversify their portfolio, or tap into a new market? 

By anticipating their motivations, you can tailor your pitch, ensuring it resonates with their goals and aspirations. 

Recognizing your ideal buyer and understanding their motivations not only ensures a smoother transition but can also fetch a premium on your selling price.

Due Diligence

questions to ask when acquiring a business

The due diligence process entails a deep dive into the workings of your business. 

It’s the phase where potential buyers validate the claims you’ve made about your enterprise. 

Initiate this phase by determining, “What information should I disclose to potential buyers?

Typically, this includes financial statements, contracts, employee information, and more. 

Transparency is paramount. 

However, ensure that confidential information is protected by using non-disclosure agreements. 

Anticipate the questions buyers might have and be prepared with answers. 

If there’s been a sudden spike or drop in revenue, have a clear explanation at hand.

Effective due diligence can eliminate doubts and reinforce trust, laying the foundation for successful negotiations.

Legal and Tax Implications

Selling a business isn’t just a commercial transaction; it comes with intricate legal and tax complexities. 

Kickstart this segment by inquiring, “What legal documents are required for the sale?”

Typically, these would include a letter of intent, a sales purchase agreement (which could be an asset purchase agreement or a stock purchase agreement), a bill of sale, non-compete clauses, and more. A clear understanding of these will ensure that the sale adheres to legal requirements and safeguards your interests. 

On the tax front, dig deep by asking, “What are the tax implications of selling my business?”

 Depending on how the sale is structured, you might be liable for capital gains tax, income tax, or other relevant levies. 

Engage with legal and tax professionals to navigate these intricacies, ensuring that you optimize the terms of the sale and remain compliant with regulations. Acquira can be a key ally here as well. 

Sales Negotiation

Arguably, the most intense phase of selling your business is the negotiation, which starts with the letter of intent (LOI) and typically only ends with the signature of the sales purchase agreement. 

Start by being clear about your expectations. 

Reflect on questions like, “What is my bottom-line price?”

Remember, while everyone wants the best price, it’s essential to be realistic and aligned with the market. 

Follow this up by pondering over, “What are my non-negotiable terms?” 

This could relate to payment structures, transition periods, roles post-sale, or other crucial aspects. 

Having a clear understanding of these terms ensures that negotiations remain focused and productive. 

During this phase, remain open to feedback and counteroffers. While you should stand firm on your non-negotiables, flexibility on other fronts can expedite the sale and foster goodwill.

Transition Planning

A business sale isn’t merely about signing a contract and handing over the keys. 

Ensuring a smooth transition is vital for the continued success of the enterprise under new ownership. 

Delve into the depths of transition by asking, “How will I ensure a seamless business handover?

This isn’t just about logistics or operations. 

Read more: What To Do After You’ve Sold Your Business

It encompasses ensuring that employees are comfortable, customers are reassured, and processes continue unhindered. 

Consider elements like training the new owner, communicating with staff and other stakeholders, and potentially staying on in a consultancy role for a brief period. 

A meticulous transition plan safeguards the legacy of your business and assures the buyer that its values can be sustained. Expert Advisors

While passion and hard work have been the keystones of your business journey, selling it requires a different arsenal—specialized expertise. 

This is where professional advisors come into the picture. 

But before you hire them, reflect on, “What experience do they have in selling businesses?” 

This query isn’t trivial. 

A lawyer with experience in business sales will navigate the legal maze efficiently, ensuring your interests are protected. 

Similarly, an accountant well-versed in such transactions can guide you on tax implications and help optimize the financial aspects of the deal  

Engaging the right experts not only ensures that the sale is compliant and efficient but also grants you peace of mind, knowing that seasoned professionals are handling the intricate details.


If you are thinking about selling your business, meticulous preparation and introspection are required. 

Understanding one’s motivations for selling is paramount, as personal aspirations and future plans will influence your approach to potential buyers. 

Similarly, having an in-depth understanding of the business’s current state, its market positioning, and its financial health is crucial. 

Valuation is a delicate balance between perceived value and market willingness, necessitating expert insights. 

Financial transparency can be a deciding factor for potential buyers, making clear and accurate statements essential. 

Acquira can be a potent ally if you’re thinking about selling your business – providing our expert guidance as you consider the questions above. 

Reach you today for your free business valuation and to learn how we can help you preserve your legacy while also maximizing the payout for all of your hard work. 

Fill out the form below to get more information. 

Key Takeaways

  • Selling a business intertwines personal goals, motivations, and financial decisions.
  • Recognizing your business’s current phase is vital for proper market positioning.
  • Accurate pricing stems from understanding assets, liabilities, and comparable sales.
  • Proper due diligence reinforces trust and smooths negotiations with potential buyers.
  • Engaging experienced professionals ensures a compliant, efficient, and rewarding sale.
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