Many business owners would like to receive all-cash for their business when selling. And yet they are often told that this is really not possible. Why? Most people are accustomed to financing just about everything – home, car, vacation home, even college for their children. The first question business brokers are often asked is, “How much money will I have to invest to buy that business?”
Seller financing is usually necessary because of the lack of outside financing available. Certainly, some is available, but less than 90 percent of small business sales receive outside financing when selling. If you are selling, you may be one of the few lucky ones, but the business better be absolutely perfect.
If a seller is not willing to finance the sale, many buyers suspect a problem. After all, a business should be able to pay for itself and provide a reasonable income for a buyer. A buyer then wants to know what is wrong with the business that the seller wants all cash?
Aside from this, even if a buyer has all of the necessary funds, he or she may want to spend their money on improving the business, adding equipment, building inventory, or just keep it for working capital.
Another similar issue that is raised by sellers is that, if they are willing to finance the sale, they want some outside collateral to secure the loan on their business. They want to make sure that they get all of their money – with no risk. Buyers are very sensitive about this issue. Again, they raise the point about the business being able to pay for itself. They may feel that the seller wants additional security because of concerns about the business’s ability to generate a reasonable profit. This is not a reassuring signal to the buyer. Most buyers are already using most of their capital for the down payment, and they generally are very reluctant about using their home or retirement funds for additional collateral.
The services of a business broker professional can usually provide guidance in the overall financing process. And financing is often the key to the successful selling of a business.