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How Long Does It Take to Sell a Business?

When you’re ready to sell your business, it’s important to have an accurate idea of how long it will take. There are a lot of factors that go into the sale of a company, and each one will have an impact on your timeline. Finding an interested buyer is just the first step in the process.

At Chelsea Corporate, we have years of experience in mergers and acquisitions. In this guide, we will explain the stages of selling a business and how long it might take to finalise a deal. We’ll also share our top five tips on how to sell a business as quickly as possible.

How Quickly Can a Business Sell?

The first thing to understand about selling a business is that there is no universal rule for how long it takes. The speed of the process can vary depending on factors such as the size of the business and which industry it belongs to.

There are many steps to selling a business. First, you’ll need to have your business valued, find an interested buyer and negotiate a purchase price. Once the initial deal is approved, there are many due diligence and legal steps that must be completed.

On average, the whole process takes six to twelve months. However, many sales are finalised sooner than this (and some take longer). A good business acquisitions specialist can help you establish a realistic timeline.

How to Sell Your Business Fast

Though it can take time, there are several things you can do to speed up the selling process. If you’re wondering how to sell a business quickly, whether it’s a small business or a larger organisation, here are our top five tips.

1.     Prepare Your Business

To ensure a smooth transition, make sure your business is sale-ready before you start finding a buyer. You should be ready to provide interested parties with any information they might want to know about your company. For example:

  • Up-to-date accounts, tax returns, profit trends and sales history
  • Current contracts with suppliers and customers, property leases, title deeds, licenses, loan agreements and so on
  • Any existing or anticipated risks, past and ongoing litigation issues

You should also ensure that the day-to-day operations of your business can run smoothly in your absence, and that all employees have had sufficient training.

2.     Choose the Best Time to Sell

Choosing the right time to sell your business can have an impact on how quickly you find a buyer. You may want to consider the following factors:

  • The state of the economy: it can be more difficult to sell during a downturn, for example
  • Your business’s growth trajectory: you’ll have better luck if you sell at a time when your company is enjoying high profits and minimal debts
  • The time of year: investors are often looking for new opportunities during the first quarter, whereas it can be harder to sell around the summer and winter holidays

You can learn more about when to sell a business on our blog.

3.     Find a Good Business Broker

Selling your business through a broker means that you’ll have someone working on your behalf to find a buyer, which can speed up the process.

As well as saving time, you can leave the ins and outs of the sale – such as negotiations and due diligence – to your broker, leaving you free to ready your company for the transition. Choosing a buy-side business broker will mean you won’t have to pay a fee, as they work for the buyer.

To sell your business quickly, choose an established, reputable acquisition specialist with a proven track record. Reading testimonials from past clients is a good place to start.

4.     Sell Off-Market

The best way to sell a business fast is to go off-market. This means selling your business confidentially to an interested party, rather than advertising it on the public market.

Selling privately in this way is often quicker than a public sale. You’ll be advertising only to a select group of individuals who are experienced in your niche – meaning you won’t have to deal with time-wasters. Some business brokers, such as Chelsea Corporate, work exclusively off-market for this reason.

Selling your business off-market through Chelsea Corporate is guaranteed to speed up the process. We work with thousands of serious buyers looking for lucrative acquisition opportunities in various industries and locations throughout the UK. We’ll match your company with an interested buyer and work hard to negotiate a swift, fair deal that works for both parties.

5.     Set a Fair Sale Price

The key to selling a business quickly is to set a fair asking price. If the purchase price is too high, you risk putting off prospective buyers. This may mean it takes you longer to finalise a deal.

To do this, you’ll need a realistic idea of how much your business is worth. A business broker or a financial adviser will be able to value your business based on metrics such as your cash flow and earnings after tax. Be reasonable with your expectations and open to sensible negotiations.

Sell Your Business with Chelsea Corporate

If you’re looking to sell a business quickly, UK-based brokers Chelsea Corporate can help. We’re off-market acquisition experts that specialise in matching buyers with off-market businesses for sale. Whatever industry you’re in, we’ll help you sell your business without the hassle.

Because we work with serious buyers only, you won’t have to deal with timewasters or low-ballers. And as we’re a buy-side broker, you won’t have to pay any fees to sell through us. Simply provide your details and we’ll get in touch when we’ve found the perfect buyer.

To get started, contact Chelsea Corporate today. Fill in our online form or call us on +44 (0) 20 3011 1373. You can also email us at