The number of businesses that were acquired continued to rebound with the number of closed transactions in the third quarter up 17% over the previous quarter and up over 11% year-over-year. That’s according to BizBuySell’s Q3 Insight Report, which tracks and analyzes U.S. business-for-sale transactions.
Sellers are returning to the market, feeling more confident they can receive a good price and less willing to wait as the effects of the COVID pandemic linger on, including supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages.
Seller confidence index increased to 57 in 2021, up from 45 in 2020, which is the highest mark since the high of 58 in 2018. Of those surveyed, 49% of business owners felt they could receive a higher sale price today compared to a year ago, and 46% said the top factor that influenced their decision to sell was improved sales and revenue.
“The number of active sellers in the market is still lower than in previous years, but we have definitely seen an uptick in new clients since 2020. The shortage of good companies for sale, combined with low interest rates and a stock market at all-time highs has driven up the value of the companies that are currently for sale,” said Richard Jackim, Managing Partner of Jackim Woods & Co.
The total value of mergers and acquisitions in the education sector increased by more than 50% from the second half of 2020 to the second half of 2021, as companies across the industry rushed to add education-related companies to their portfolios, according to a report by mergers and acquisitions advisory firm, Jackim Woods & Co.
Jackim Woods & Co. is a mergers and acquisitions firm that provides advice and financial consulting to middle-market companies in the education sector.
The overall number of individual M&A transactions also rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
Buyers of education companies closed 210 mergers in the first half of 2020, and 240 acquisitions during the first six months of 2021.
The total value of acquisitions in the education sector between January and June was $19.4 billion, largely driven by Platinum Equity’s $6.4-billion acquisition of McGraw Hill, the report noted.
The market value of deals closed during the first half of 2021 had almost as much market value as all the deals closed during all of 2020.
Private equity-sponsored transactions accounted for 40% of deals during the first six months of 2021. That’s 8% higher than the average number of private equity-backed deals for the last three years.
According to Jackim Woods & Co, 97 of the 240 deals during this time frame were sponsored or financed by financial investors like private equity, venture capital, or other investment firms. That’s the highest number in three years and a 130% increase over the first half of 2020.
Twelve deals during the first half of 2020 had purchase prices of more than $100 million, and at least seven of those involved the K-12 sector. About 33% of the deals had purchase prices of between $4.5 million and $54.6 million.
The K-12 EdTeh segment surpassed the professional training services sector as the education industry’s most active market segment in the first half of 2021.
Approximately 50 deals involved the acquisition of professional training companies in the second half of 2019 and about 45 deals covered professional training services in the first half of 2021. There were approximately 40 deals in the K-12 EdTech segment in the second half of 2020, while nearly 60 deals closed in that segment in the first half of 2021.
For other segments of the education sector, the analysis showed a mixed picture of market activity for the first six months of this year compared to the second half of 2020.
The number of deals in the childcare services and higher-education EdTech segments increased during this period, but the number of deals in professional training technology, higher-ed institutions (including Title IV vocational schools), and K-20 services decreased. Deals involving for-profit K-12 schools remained stable.
According to Rich Jackim, Managing Partner of Jackim Woods & Co, “we are seeing strong demand for Title IV vocational schools that prepare students for careers in the healthcare professions. We’re also seeing strong demand for non-Title IV schools, like commercial driving schools and cybersecurity and programming schools. Valuations for these schools have increased significantly over the last 24 months.”
In addition to the McGraw Hill acquisition, the most interesting education sector deals in the first half of 2021 included
- Byju’s $900 million acquisition of Indian tutoring company Aakash Educational Services
- Renaissance’s $650 million acquisition of Nearpod
- Kahoot’s $435 million acquisition of K-12 secure-sign-on provider Clever
If you own an education-related business, including a Title IV college or vocational school, a k-12 proprietary school, or an EdTech company and are beginning to think about selling, we would be delighted to speak with you and help you explore your options.
Contact Rich Jackim, Managing Partner of Jackim Woods & Co at 224-513-5142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
As was the case last year, COVID-related federal stimulus benefits are expected to be a powerful catalyst driving deal activity in 2021.
On December 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, a $2.3 trillion stimulus bill, with $900 billion targeted specifically for COVID-19 relief. A portion of these funds will be used to extend the popular 2020 CARES Act SBA Debt Relief program.
According to Rich Jackim, Managing Partner of Jackim Woods & Co, the extension includes significant benefits that provide buyers with powerful incentives to acquire a business in 2021, including:
- Six months of payment forgiveness for SBA 7(a) loans closed after February 1, 2021, and before September 30th, 2021. This includes principal and interest up to a maximum of $9,000 per month. That’s a $54,000 benefit to buyers.
- The SBA will waive the guaranty fee that must be paid by borrowers. This fee is typically around 3% of the loan amount and will now be zero for loans closed before September 30th, 2021. That’s an average saving to buyers of approximately $4,500.
- The SBA is increasing the amount of loan guarantees to lenders from 75% to 90%. This will decrease the risk to lenders and help ensure liquidity for deal financing.
Jackim urges buyers who want to take advantage of the extension to learn from the mad rush to meet last year’s deadline. It required tremendous coordination between sellers, buyers, counsel, intermediaries, and lenders. “The lesson buyers learned last year is not to procrastinate and try to close at least 30 days before the deadline to accommodate potential delays,” says Jackim.
What does this mean for sellers? If you are thinking of selling your business, now may be the right time despite the pandemic. In addition to record low interest rates, the SBA Payment Forgiveness Program provides buyers with extremely low financing costs. Last year we sold two businesses for over asking price because the buyers were able to afford to pay more due to the 2020 SBA Payment Forgiveness Program. Once the pandemic is under control, it is unlikely buyers will have access to the same generous funding they have today.
To learn more about taking advantage of the 2021 SBA Payment Forgiveness Program contact Rich Jackim at 224-513-5142 or at email@example.com.Read More
Selling a business isn’t always about the price. It is not like selling a house where the most important factor is finding a buyer who is willing to make the highest offer. In fact, in my 25- years of being a business broker, I’d say that in roughly 20% of the deals, the purchase price was not the most important part of the deal. In the end, sellers are focused on achieving a combination of things, and maximizing the purchase price is only one of them.
Let’s examine some of the other most common goals and objectives sellers have.
- Maintaining the seller’s legacy. For one client, this means getting the buyer to agree to keep the company’s name (which was also the seller’s name) the same after the acquisition and not roll the company into the buyer’s parent company.
- Protecting Employees. For another client, they were the biggest employer in their small town, and the seller wanted to be sure that the buyer would not close down the plant, fire all the employees, and consolidate operations into their plant about 100 miles away.
- Participating in the Upside. Many clients want to remain involved in some fashion (usually in a passive or silent role) with their business after the sale. This often means accepting a lower price at closing but sharing in the company’s future growth going forward. This can be structured in several different ways, including a minority equity interest, a royalty on sales, or an earnout.
- Timing. Several of my former clients had very specific timing goals. In one case, it was due to the owner’s declining health; in another case, the owner’s son and key employee became disabled. In both cases, the owners wanted to sell as quickly as possible before the business suffered, and its value was diminished.
The best way to ensure that you achieve your goals when selling your business is to develop a comprehensive exit strategy before you start the sales process. This assures that everyone on your team is on the same page and is rowing in the same direction.
Rich Jackim, the Managing Partner at Jackim Woods & Co, is the author of the best-selling book, “The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners”. He has advised over 200 clients to create their exit plans and helped over 100 clients sell their businesses for a combined value of over $500 million. The book’s success led Rich to create the Exit Planning Institute and created the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) program. He has trained over 300 lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, consultants, and business brokers to develop exit plans for their clients.
If you are thinking of selling your business in 2021 or beyond, contact Rich Jackim at 224-513-5142 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE, confidential, no-obligation discussion about your options.Read More
M&A deal activity has recovered from its 9-month pandemic-related dip. Based on the overall strength of the stock market, we expect continued strong mergers and acquisitions activity for 2021 as well.
The total dollar value of mergers and acquisitions announced in the U.S. fell to roughly $20 billion in March as the pandemic set in, according to data from Barrons. That was a sharp drop-off—from about $180 billion in January. Yet the recovery has been equally sharp. Deal volumes reached approximately $205 billion in October according to Barron’s data.
Looking forward, Rich Jackim, managing partner at Jackim Woods & Company said, “low-interest rates, optimism about a COVID vaccine, record-breaking fundraising by Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), and even a less contentious global trade policy will all contribute to continued strong M&A activity in 2021.”
Interest rates are currently at historic lows, reducing the cost of funding acquisitions. In addition, the good news about several COVID vaccines provides a light at the end of the tunnel and the assurance that buyers need to make a purchase.
And SPACS—special purpose acquisition corporations that raise money through an initial public offering in order to buy other companies—have raised more than $64 billion this year. SPACs raised just $13 billion in all of 2019, suggesting that SPACs will be the new driver of middle-market M&A activity in 2021.
“The M&A wave is regaining momentum and should continue for the next 12-18 months,” Jackim says. He believes the following industries will see an uptick in M&A activity in 2021.
2021 will be a year of recovery as retail and restaurant workers displaced by COVID-related closures seek other careers and gainful employment. As a result, Jackim believes the vocational/technical training and education sector will of interest to buyers and investors. The US has been suffering from a shortage of skilled workers for over a decade, so there are plenty of high paying jobs available for people with the right skills. Enrollment in vocational programs tends to rise as unemployment rises, so we expect 2021 to build on the strong results that the technical education industry saw in 2020, and to attract renewed interest from both financial and strategic buyers and investors.
The energy industry is another industry where we expect to see a lot of M&A activity in 2021. The price of crude oil has dropped to just above $40 a barrel since early summer, nowhere near the $63 a barrel price at the beginning of the year. At the same time, the rise of clean energy and potential regulation are threatening companies that focus on traditional fossil fuels. As the fossil fuel industry shifts toward a lower-growth model, exploration and production companies will be looking to generate returns through acquisitions that would yield economies of scale and other benefits, or diversify their product or service offerings away from fossil fuels.
Fueled by a multi-billion-dollar deal, the value of mergers and acquisitions in the education sector increased by more than 80% in the first half of 2020, even though the number of transactions dropped to a 30-month low, a new report by Jackim Woods & Co finds.
Overall, the market value of deals in the education sector increased from $4.9 billion in the first half of 2019 to $9 billion during the same period in 2020, according to research by the mergers and acquisitions firm, Jackim Woods & Co.
Jackim Woods & Co is an investment banking firm that provides advice and financial consulting to middle-market companies in the education sector.
Their analysis tracked 1,128 education sector deals between 2018 and June 2020.
Sixty-six percent of that total came from Blackstone’s $6 billion acquisition of student housing company iQ Student Accommodation, which has been described as the largest-ever private real estate deal in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, overall dealmaking activity in the education sector slowed significantly due to COVID-19 shutdowns and concerns about the long-term impact it would have on the sector. Jackim Woods & Co tracked 207 mergers and acquisitions in the education sector during the first six months of the year, down from 242 during the same period last year.
That figure also represents the fewest number of total deals for a six-month stretch since at least the beginning of 2018, the period covered in the report by Jackim Woods & Co.
The overall dip in the number of mergers and acquisitions during the first half of 2020 was due to a steep decline in private equity sponsored deals. According to Rich Jackim, Managing Partner at Jackim Woods & Co, only 41 of the 207 deals closed during the first six months of 2020 were financed by private equity firms or other financial investors. That’s the lowest number of deals closed in the 30-month period the report covered and a 50% decrease compared to the same period in 2019.
Only seven deals in the first six months of 2020 were valued at more than $100 million, and at least two were in the K-12 sector. About 33% of the total transactions had values in the range of $4.5 million to $54.6 million.
The sector of the education industry that saw the most activity in the first half of 2020 was the professional training services category, which rose from 44 to 60 transactions. That accounted for nearly 30% of all deals during the first six months and marked the most transactions closed for the sector since 2018.
Activity in almost every other segment of the education industry tracked by Jackim Woods & Co — aside from the professional training sector — was down compared to the first half of 2019, according to the report. That includes sectors specific to K-12 institutions and the K-12 EdTech space, which includes companies that provide media and software used in schools.
The most interesting K-12 deals during 2020 include
• China Maple Leaf Education System’s $487 million acquisition of Singapore’s Canadian International School;
• K12 Inc.’s $165 million acquisition of Galvanize, a Denver-based company that offers coding boot camp programs; and
• Chegg’s $96 million acquisition of the math problem-solving app Mathway.
If you own an education-related business, including a Title IV vocational school, K-12 school, or EdTech company, and are thinking about selling, we would be delighted to speak with you and help you explore your options.
Contact Rich Jackim, Managing Partner of Jackim Woods & Co at 224-513-5142 or at email@example.com.Read More
Sellers generally desire all-cash transactions; however, oftentimes partial seller financing is necessary in typical middle market company transactions. Furthermore, sellers who demand all-cash deals typically receive a lower purchase price than they would have if the deal were structured differently.
Although buyers may be able to pay all-cash at closing, they often want to structure a deal where the seller has left some portion of the price on the table, either in the form of a note or an earnout. Deferring some of the owner’s remuneration from the transaction will provide leverage in the event that the owner has misrepresented the business. An earnout is a mechanism to provide payment based on future performance. Acquirers like to suggest that, if the business is as it is represented, there should be no problem with this type of payout. The owner’s retort is that he or she knows the business is sound under his or her management but does not know whether the buyer will be as successful in operating the business.
Moreover, the owner has taken the business risk while owning the business; why would he or she continue to be at risk with someone else at the helm? Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which an earnout can be quite useful in recognizing full value and consummating a transaction. For example, suppose that a company had spent three years and vast sums developing a new product and had just launched the product at the time of a sale. A certain value could be arrived at for the current business, and an earnout could be structured to compensate the owner for the effort and expense of developing the new product if and when the sales of the new product materialize. Under this scenario, everyone wins.
The terms of the deal are extremely important to both parties involved in the transaction. Many times the buyers and sellers, and their advisors, are in agreement with all the terms of the transaction, except for the price. Although the variance on price may seem to be a “deal killer,” the price gap can often be resolved so that both parties can move forward to complete the transaction.
Listed below are some suggestions on how to bridge the price gap:
- If the real estate was originally included in the deal, the seller may choose to rent the premise to the acquirer rather than sell it outright. This will decrease the price of the transaction by the value of the real estate. The buyer might also choose to pay higher rent in order to decrease the “goodwill” portion of the sale. The seller may choose to retain the title to certain machinery and equipment and lease it back to the buyer.
- The purchaser can acquire less than 100% of the company initially and have the option to buy the remaining interest in the future. For example, a buyer could purchase 70% of the seller’s stock with an option to acquire an additional 10% a year for three years based on a predetermined formula. The seller will enjoy 30% of the profits plus a multiple of the earnings at the end of the period. The buyer will be able to complete the transaction in a two-step process, making the purchase easier to accomplish. The seller may also have a “put” which will force the buyer to purchase the remaining 30% at some future date.
- A subsidiary can be created for the fastest growing portion of the business being acquired. The buyer and seller can then share 50/50 in the part of the business that was “spun-off” until the original transaction is paid off.
- A royalty can be structured based on revenue, gross margins, EBIT, or EBITDA. This is usually easier to structure than an earnout.
- Certain assets, such as automobiles or non-business-related real estate, can be carved out of the sale to reduce the actual purchase price.
Although the above suggestions will not solve all of the pricing gap problems, they may lead the participants in the necessary direction to resolve them. The ability to structure successful transactions that satisfy both buyer and seller requires an immense amount of time, skill, experience, and most of all – imagination.
The post Negotiating the Price Gap Between Buyers and Sellers appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.
As part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, the SBA is now offering to make six months of payments on SBA loans, including both principal and interest. This partial payment program is part of the SBA’s flagship 7a loan program and applies to both existing SBA loans as well as new SBA loans that are closed before September 27th, 2020. SBA lenders, the public stock market, and businesses of all sizes recognize that a significant disruption has occurred in their business activities. The SBA is paying six months of payments for current SBA borrowers to relieve stress on business owners and attempting to “keep our small business economy going.”
It is important to note that this is not a payment deferment plan, instead, the SBA will actually make payments of principal and interest for buyers.
If you are a potential buyer, it’s important to remember the following:
- This is a temporary economic incident. There is no fundamental economic weakness.
- There is lots of liquidity in the finance and banking sectors, this is not a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
- Interest rates are at an all-time low and are unlikely to go up soon. As of mid-April, the interest rate for a 10-year SBA 7a business acquisition loan was 6%.
- Businesses in essential industries, like food processing, distribution, manufacturing, online retail, third party logistics, delivery, warehousing, IT, and healthcare may actually see an improvement in overall financial results.
- Many small businesses will benefit from pent up demand.
- Businesses that were overpriced at the end of 2019 will be repriced to reflect current market conditions.
- Many small businesses will see a decrease in wage costs as the unemployment rate increase and workers look for new employment.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this program, keep in mind that deals must be closed by September 27, 2020 to qualify. So, working backward, you may want to keep the following timeline in mind:
- Sign letter of intent – May 15th
- Complete Buyer’s Due Diligence – June 1st
- Secure Lender’s Financing Proposal – June 15th
- Lender Submits Loan to Underwriting – June 30th
- Lender Underwriting Completed – July 31th
- Purchase Agreement Completed – August 28th
- Target Closing Date – September 1st
- Fall-back Closing Date – September 15th
- Drop Dead Closing Date – September 27th
Since the CARES Act became law, we have had several conversations with bankers and non-bank lenders. They believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs who are thinking about buying a business. They have shared with us some of the insights they are getting from their credit committees and executives that are being taken into account when reviewing loan applications and making a credit decision before issuing a loan term sheet:
- Lenders realize now is not the time for inexperienced entrepreneurs to be buying a business. Lenders are looking to back buyers with strong operating track records, a solid personal balance sheet, and a clear vision about how they will be able to rebuild sales and pay down debt in a post-Coronavirus economy.
- Even though the SBA will be making the payments for the first six months on newly originated loans, lenders can not take that into the credit decision. To qualify for the program, the cash flow of the business needs to be able to support the loan payment without taking into account the SBA payments.
- Lenders are willing and able to take into account the impact the Coronavirus has had on the business when valuing a business, but buyers must have a clear and realistic plan to get cash flow back to pre-pandemic levels.
- Certain businesses, especially those that provide “essential services” are especially attractive candidates for this program right now, because they were not as severely impacted by the pandemic as other businesses.
For additional information about this unique SBA loan payment program, visit the BizBuySell Financing Resource Center or contact Richard Jackim at 224-513-5142 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
The rapidly evolving impact of the COVID-19 virus is being felt everywhere—in the healthcare system, employment, politics, and the economy. This is certainly a time of uncertainty in our lives and businesses. The closest thing I can compare it to is the tremendous uncertainty everyone felt in October 2008 as the financial crisis was unfolding.
Then, like now, business owners are seeing the values of their business plummet. Smaller businesses are naturally more vulnerable in an economic downturn, but everyone is affected in one way or another. Strategic and financial buyers, sellers, business owners, and M&A advisors are all paying attention right now and trying to understand how this will impact them, and how they can mitigate the negative consequences.
Reflecting on the financial crisis of 2008-2009, however, helped me identify a few things that are likely as we deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the M&A market and business sales.
Like in 2008 and 2009, M&A activity will most likely contract significantly in the near future as the volatility in the stock market will likely put the M&A market on hold. For deals in the early stages, there will be a lot of anxiety on the part of sellers and a lot of caution on the part of buyers. As a result, we expect that many buyers and sellers will press the pause button to wait and see how the situation unfolds over the next few months.
But there are a lot of indicators that when the COVID-19 scare is behind us, the M&A market will rebound with gusto. Right now, strategic buyers and private equity groups are flush with capital. Not only are PE firms ‘open for business’ but many of them are accelerating efforts to close in-process deals, and even to scale future investing activities.
“I’m bullish on the outlook for M&A activity in the medium and long term once the financial markets adjust to the ‘new normal’. There is an unprecedented amount of capital that needs to be deployed, interest rates are at record lows, and the federal government’s stimulus package should make borrowing even easier. At the same time, the record high valuations that we’ve seen over the last year or two are likely to decrease, which will make financing acquisitions less risky and fuel a strong increase in M&A activity.”
Richard Jackim, Managing Partner, Jackim Woods & Co.
If you are a business owner thinking about selling, what does all this mean to you? First and foremost, it’s important to remember that while the next few months may be painful, the fundamental value of your business is likely still intact. There is no doubt that if you were waiting for the market to peak before you sell you missed the window. But that doesn’t mean your business is unsaleable or that it has no value. The value is still there because buyers buy companies for the future cash flow that business will generate. That means buyers take a long-term perspective. If your business is fundamentally sound, it is very likely that its value will rebound once the economy returns to the new normal.
Many of the business owners I’ve spoken to in the last few weeks believe that the current market conditions will scare away buyers. It is true that undercapitalized buyers will sit on the sidelines and wait for the dust to settle, but stronger financial and strategic buyers will recognize the short-term nature of the crisis and see this as a good opportunity to buy a good business at a lower multiple of EBITDA than last year.
If you’re thinking of selling your business it’s important to work with someone who understands the dynamics and changing motivations of sellers and buyers to advise you during these uncertain times. Below are our recommendations for business owners to take over the next 2-3 months if you are thinking about selling in the next few years.
- Focus on Exit Planning (talk with us about our formal process that can use this time to help you and your business get prepared for sale)
- Get an evaluation of your business (so you understand how much your business is worth)
- Understand what you can do to improve the value of your business and make it more attractive to potential buyers
- Talk to your financial advisor to understand how much you need to retire
- Work with an M&A advisor or business broker to begin putting together a data room and formal marketing materials so you can hit the ground running when the market recovers.
Our team is comprised of experienced investment bankers and M&A professionals who literally wrote the book on exit planning. We helped over three dozen companies between 2008 and 2010 help get ready for sale and then sold them for top dollar when the market recovered. We will provide you with a value-focused, hands-on approach to help you and your business develop a strategic exit plan that allows you to exit your business on your terms and for its highest possible value.
If you are interested in selling in the next three years and would like to talk to a licensed business broker and M&A professional about how this crisis affects your options, please feel free to contact Rich Jackim for a FREE, confidential conversation at email@example.com or at (224) 513-5142.Read More
Thinking about whether or not you are ready to exit is an important question. It’s something that every business owner will have to address at some point. Importantly, you don’t want to wait until the 11th hour to prepare to sell your business. There are far too many pieces in this particular puzzle to wait until the last minute. You’ll want to begin the process sooner by asking yourself some key questions.
First, you’ll need to determine the actual value of your business. It is a harsh truth, but what you think your business is worth and what the market feels that it is worth may be two very different things.
This point serves to underscore the importance of working with a business broker or M&A advisor early in the process. An experienced broker knows how to go about determining a price that will generate interest and seem fair. Remember that at the end of the day, it will be the marketplace that determines the value of your business, but working with a seasoned professional is an excellent way to match your offering price with what the market will ultimately bear.
Secondly, you’ll want to consider whether or not you truly want to sell. It is not uncommon for business owners to begin the process of selling their business only to realize a few hard facts. Wanting to sell and the time being right to sell are often two different things.
Upon placing your business on the market for sale, you may learn that you’re not emotionally or financially ready. If this happens to you, consider it a learning experience that will serve you well down the line.
Get Your Ducks in a Row
If you have done a financial assessment, a little soul searching and have begun working with a business broker or M&A advisor to determine that now is a good time to sell your business, then there are several steps you’ll need to take. You can be sure that any serious prospective buyer will want a good deal of information regarding your company.
At the top of the list of items potential buyers will want to see are three years of profit and loss statements as well as federal income tax returns for the business. Other important documents ranging from lease and lease related documents, lists of loans against the business and a copy of a franchise agreement, when applicable, are all additional documents that you will need to provide. You should also have a list of fixtures and equipment, copies of equipment leases, lists of fixtures and equipment, and an approximate amount of inventory on hand. A failure to not have this information organized and ready to present at a moment’s notice could be a costly mistake.
Working with professionals, such as accountants, lawyers, and brokers, is a savvy move. Owning and operating a business can be a complex process, and the same holds true for selling a business. Investing the time to seek out experienced and professional advice is the first step in selling your business.