Filtering for the Owner’s Commitment to Sell

The remaining deeper filter is the owner’s commitment to sell. You might reasonably wonder why we include this as a filter: Isn’t the fact that the owner has retained a broker or, in the case of a directly sourced prospect, engaged in several conversations with you and sent you confidential information a sufficient indication that the owner is a committed seller?

Our experience is that because most owners of the kinds of small businesses we have described are first-time sellers, they aren’t yet aware of the consequences of selling their companies. As they learn more during the sales process, they often are disappointed with how hard it is, how long they will have to stay involved in their ...

Get HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.