Ready for a Business Sale? Steps to Build Your Advisory Team

Posted on April 7, 2023 by B2B CFO

As a business owner, you have worked tirelessly to get your company to a point where it can be sold. Naturally, selling is understandably an emotional and complex undertaking. According to a study by the US Chamber of Commerce, just 20% of companies put up for sale are ultimately sold, meaning that four out of five prospective sellers walk away emptyhanded.1 A much greater number of would-be-sellers, approximately 65 to 75% of owners who would like to sell, never even make it to the market. They learn early on that they have little or no chance of finding a buyer.

Positioning a business to sell at optimal value takes planning and strategic implementation. The most successful exit plans involve knowledge and expertise of the business transition process. That’s why seeking the help of an experienced advisory team is essential to an effective business transaction at the maximum price. One of the first steps all business owners should take in the preparation for a business sale is to assemble an outstanding professional team to advise you. Most businesspeople select their professional team on the eve of their sale. This is usually too late in the sale process to be effective. By selecting a professional team in the early stages of preparation for your sale, their guidance can help identify and minimize obstacles before they derail the deal.

B2B CFO® recommends the assembly of what we call the Success Team™—which is a team of advisors that will walk alongside you throughout the process to make sure you and your company are ready for all aspects of the sale.

Team Manager
As a B2B CFO® Partner, I will be your team manager. I will develop the exit plan strategy, coordinate the team and assist with the process. I have experience in the exit strategy process and my primary focus is on successfully completing your business sale. I also help the other team members stay focused on the deadlines and communicate important concerns and issues directly with you. With B2B CFO® leading your team, you will have more time to focus on increasing the value of your business.

M&A Advisor
An M&A company is critical. The main role of this team member is to find prospective buyers for your business. They confidentially prepare the marketing presentation and identify potential buyers, provide insights on recent transactions for companies similar to yours, screen interested parties and make introductions. They typically remain involved for the remainder of the process to help navigate both parties toward a successful close.

An attorney is critical to your Success Team™. They should be experienced in business transition legal matters. It is typical that the seller and buyer will have separate counsel. Your attorney will be reviewing documents throughout the process and providing advice from a legal perspective to protect you from unseen risks. It is the responsibility of the seller’s legal counsel to review the sale documents (usually drafted by buyer’s counsel) to ensure they reflect the terms and conditions you intended. An experienced attorney will also be critical to produce the confidentiality and non-disclosure documents signed by buyers before they gain access to details about your business.

Tax Advisor
A tax specialist is critical in the exit planning process as well. They will provide tax planning strategies that can help minimize your tax burden as a result of the sale. For most business owners whose businesses have experienced steady growth for years or those that have grown exponentially in a short span of time, the sale of their business will be one of the most significant tax events they will experience. Having a tax advisor on the team who understands business exit tax consequences and can advise you relative to your overall tax and estate planning is essential.

Even if your company is not currently required to have financial audits performed, conscientious buyers will require some level of due diligence before agreeing to buy the company. The buyer may require an examination by an independent CPA firm for two to three years of records prior to the sale. Credible and organized financial and operational data, including financial statements that can undergo an audit without significant change, can make or break the sale of your business. One of the key roles I perform as your B2B CFO® is to evaluate your readiness for due diligence, work with auditors if they are engaged and help you navigate this process successfully.

IT Specialist
IT specialists are an important member in your Success Team™, as they will advise the other team members and provide necessary due diligence documentation regarding the company’s IT environment. This will include software licenses or other contractual agreements, network architecture, security protocols, hardware inventory and others.

Wealth Manager
For many business owners, the sale of their business is the culmination of years of effort and represents a substantial conversion of wealth from business assets into cash. A wealth manager will be able to guide you with pre-sale advice and post sale wealth management strategies. These professionals will help you assess post -sale goals and will be focused on the quality of life you desire once
the sale of the company has been completed. They will work with you and your future generations to preserve and grow the liquidity that is created by the sale both now and in the foreseeable future.

Most companies will want to receive a preliminary appraisal before marketing their company to potential buyers. An appraisal of your business should be prepared by a Certified Valuation Analyst. As part of your exit planning, I will work with you to determine when to obtain the business valuation so it best fits into the overall strategy we devise and will coordinate the data required to prepare the valuation. Once received, we’ll work together to incorporate the value into our plan and make any needed adjustments for further improvement.

Insurance advisors
The due diligence process includes a comprehensive review of insurance coverages and claims experience. Additionally, the sale of your business may require insurance policies that have not previously been in place. An insurance advisor’s role in the exit strategy process is primarily two-fold: Secure new coverage when necessary and support the due diligence as needed. They will also help you determine which insurance policies should remain in place after the close of the transaction.

Bankers are seasoned business advisors and many encourage their customers to go through business succession and exit planning. As you work to boost the value of your company, the strategies implemented may impact the cash flow of the company. Bankers realize that increased sales may also cause increases in accounts receivable, inventory, fixed assets, etc. which often cause a temporary decrease in cash. Bankers can offer solutions such as increases in lines of credit and other loan instruments. Additionally some business owners have relationships with outside organizations such as Boards of Directors, executive coaching and even business forum networking groups. The stakes are extremely high when it comes to selling your business and transitioning to the next phase. Your Success Team™ will be instrumental in guiding you every step along the way to help overcome obstacles, mitigate risks, foresee issues that need to be addressed, improve the value of your business pre-sale, and ultimately maximize your sales price.

B2B CFO® Partners are passionate about enhancing privately held businesses’ value from growth through exit. I am committed to working with owners to help them understand the value of their business, uncover the most common gaps, and provide access to support, solutions, and streamlined processes to protect and enhance the value of their business. Email me at to start a conversation.


1. US Chamber of Commerce.
2. This article is an excerpt form The Exit Strategy Handbook, 5th edition, by Jerry. L Mills, an award winning book that is the best guide for a business sale, transfer or acquisition.

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