Selling a privately owned business can be extremely time consuming, especially if you choose to sell the business without the assistance of a professional intermediary. It’s probable that you will want to keep knowledge of the sale confidential from employees, but this means the responsibility of providing the information to prospective buyers will fall on your shoulders.
You would do well to adopt the Boy Scout Motto…BE PREPARED!
If you are not careful, buyers will try and take control of the process by demanding to see copies of all sorts of information. Some requests are reasonable and necessary for a buyer to form a view as to the value of the business. But many requests for information should NOT BE SHARED until there is agreement on a Term Sheet or Letter of Intent.
Spending inordinate amounts of time after hours copying sets of tax returns or the information from your Corporate Books and records for interested parties is time consuming and totally unnecessary if you prepare beforehand.
Being prepared will ensure that you stay in control of the process so that you can continue to stay in control of running your business. Your worst nightmare would be to neglect your business in the pursuit of a sale that never eventuates. You end up without a sale, but even worse a business damaged by the owners unnecessary distractions.
Do your homework beforehand, and be a good Boy Scout.