Timeline for Selling a Business

January 6, 2022 · 2 mins

You’ve decided to sell your business and want to know what is the general timeline you are looking at to close the transaction. While an exact timeline will vary, the information below provides an estimate of how long you can expect each step in the process may take.

This timeline doesn’t factor in the work done prior to an engagement. A discussion with your Accountant and Transaction Advisor well in advance of selling your business will help maximize your after-tax proceeds and increase the salability of your business.

Sell-Side Engagement Timeline:

Ultimately, there are many factors that affect the timeline of selling your business. Common factors include:

  • Quality of information – providing clear, accurate information throughout the whole process is crucial; inconsistent or disorganized information can delay or prevent the closing of a transaction.
  • Prompt delivery of information – ability of the seller to provide requested information in a timely manner; “time kills deals!”
  • Salability of the business – is the business located in a primary or secondary market? Is the owner working 70 hours a week or can the business still run smoothly without them? Is the business operating in a niche market that requires specific knowledge or a general industry? Factors such as these impact the potential buyer pool which leads to greater time spent approaching buyers.
  • Vendor’s expectations – having attainable expectations and being open to possible small adjustments is important for the selling timeline and ultimately getting the deal across the finish line.

While this provides a general timeline of the process, we’ve seen engagements take anywhere from a few months up to a few years, with the average time for an engagement at Confederation M&A being just under a year.

With all that said, it’s never too early to have a confidential discussion with a Confederation M&A Transaction Advisor about the selling process.

Feel free to contact one of our advisors today.