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  • Writer's pictureMark Hartmann

8 Questions You’ll Be Asked When Selling Your Business


The image shows a woman holding a Magic 8 Ball close to her face. The ball is centered in the frame, and she's wearing a green shirt. The number "8" inside a white circle is clearly visible on the ball, indicating it's a classic toy used for fortune-telling or seeking advice by asking it yes-or-no questions.

8 Questions You’ll Be Asked When Selling Your Business


One of the most intimidating aspects of selling your business can be facing the barrage of questions during the various management presentations you’ll be doing for potential acquirers. Be prepared to be grilled on all facets of your operations.  Of course, every meeting will be different, but here are some questions you can expect to be asked when you’re in the hot seat:


1. Why do you want to sell your business?

It's a slippery question because if your business truly does have a bright future—and you want the buyer to believe that's the case—the obvious question is:  “Why do you want to sell it, and do would you want to sell it now?”


2. What is your cost per new customer acquired?

The potential acquirer wants to know if you have a predictable, economical, and scalable formula for finding new customers.


3. What is your market penetration rate?

With an eye to future growth, the acquirer is trying to understand how big the potential market is for your product or service and what part of the field remains to be harvested. 


4. Who are the critical members of your team?

The acquirer wants to understand the breadth and depth of your team and determine specifically which members need to be motivated and retained post-purchase.


5. Who buys what you sell?

Strategic buyers will search for synergies between what you sell and what they sell. The more you know about your customer demographics, the better the buyer can assess the strategic fit. If your customers are other businesses, a buyer will want to know what functional role (e.g., training manager, VP of sales and marketing) buys your product or service.


6. How do you make what you sell?

This question is asked to assess the uniqueness of your formula for creating your product or service. Potential buyers want to know if you have any proprietary systems that would be hard for a competitor to replicate. They will also want to understand if the creation of your product or service is dependent on any one person.


7. What makes your product truly unique?

A buyer is trying to understand how big the moat is around your business and what kind of protection it offers from competitors who may decide to compete with you in the future. What have you done to safeguard yourself against the competition?


8. Can you describe your back-office setup?

Most buyers will try to understand how easily they can integrate your back office into their operation. They'll want to know what bookkeeping and billing software you use, how customers pay, and how you pay suppliers.


Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start when preparing to represent your company to potential buyers. 




 
Mark Hartmann - CEO of HartmannRhodes

Mark Hartmann is a three-time Inc 500|5000 CEO with a rich sales, operations, and leadership background in the insurance, financial services, and healthcare sectors. With extensive experience growing and selling his own businesses, Mark leverages his expertise to help owners grow and sell businesses valued at $1M —$25M. He’s earned a master’s degree in organizational change management from St. Elizabeth University and a graduate certificate in executive coaching from Columbia University. Mark’s professional certifications include Certified Mergers and Acquisitions Professional (CM&AP), Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), and Certified Value Builder (CVB).

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