The Team of Experts Business Owners Need Before Selling a Business

For many business owners, the sale of their company is the largest financial transaction of their lives, and critical to one’s preservation and creation of wealth. If you’re a business owner contemplating a sale of your firm or transfer to children in the next three to five years, then it’s important to thoughtfully assemble a multi-disciplined team to help plan, structure, and execute the transaction.

If the right team is not in place and well-coordinated, you run the risk of 1) the purchase price not maximizing the full the value of the entity that you have built over the years and 2) paying higher taxes than necessary because of an inadequate deal structure. There’s also a good chance of missing out of critical personal financial planning opportunities as it relates to preserving your wealth, enjoying the lifestyle you envision for yourself, as well as tax, estate, and legacy priorities.

Who to Include on Your Team to Sell Your Business

Each of team members described below bring unique skills to the table that can help empower you before, during, and after the sale.

A Trusted Financial Advisor: It is critical to work with a financial advisor who possesses a deep expertise in financial planning as well as experience in working with business owners like you. The best time to engage with a financial advisor is well before you set out to determine the value of your business and negotiate a deal with the potential buyer. A trusted financial advisor can help you quantify what your income needs will be after the sale as well as the best ways to fund future personal goals.  This information is critical to ensure you can continue your lifestyle after sale and should be completed before you begin the negotiation process of any sale of your business.

During the sales process, an experienced financial advisor will also help you understand the financial tradeoffs between various alternative values of your business so that you can have more constructive conversations with your tax and legal counsel. If this is the first time selling a business, an experienced financial advisor can also act as a coach and sounding board throughout the process.

One often overlooked role of the financial advisor in for this individual to act as the quarterback for all of the other advisors on your team. The advisor can play point and help ensure all parties understand the financial implications of each step of the sales process. At MPPL Financial, we work with many business owners and have guided a number of them through this process. After the sale, the financial advisor will develop and implement an investment strategy for investing the net proceeds from the sale in a manner that aligns with your goals, values, and priorities.

M&A expert: This professional is often a business valuation professional who possesses a strong accounting background and advanced credentials in business valuation.  The types of activities this person will typically perform include:

  • Conducting a valuation of your business, which is critical for determining what price you accept for the business. It also helps ensure that that the valuation used for tax purposes will still stand up if the IRS comes calling.
  • Creating the pitch book to present your firm top to potential buyers
  • Vetting potential buyers and supporting the negotiate the deal
  • Managing the due diligence process necessary to close the deal

M&A attorney: It’s important to have an attorney with extensive transaction experience. If you have a longstanding relationship with attorney who does not have extensive M&A experience, then seek out someone who does. The last thing you will want during this process is having an inexperienced M&A attorney go through the learning curve during one of the most important events in your life. An experienced M&A attorney will understand the sales process and proactively seek to protect your interests during this crucial period. You can expect an experienced transaction attorney to provide legal guidance throughout the entire sales process. This professional will also draw up all of the necessary contracts and documents to support the successful execution of the transaction

Tax accountant: Not all accountants are created equal and have extensive tax experience in the sale of a business. The deal you ultimately structure will likely have significant tax consequences, so understanding the tax ramifications of each deal structure is crucial. That’s why it’s imperative to work with a CPA with a history of supporting transactions like yours who can provide input during the process of building a sales strategy that is as tax advantageous as possible. Your tax accountant can also provide support for the development of a valuation of your business by providing necessary financial documents. This individual should also be engaged to answer any financial questions a potential buyer may have.

Finding and Assembling the Dream Team to Sell Your Business

Identifying, evaluating and selecting experts to help you sell your business takes time. That’s why it’s important to start as early as possible in the process of building the team. Referrals from lenders, other attorneys, your financial advisor, and successful business professionals who have gone through the process are a very good start for identifying the team. Interview everyone referred to you that you feel is under consideration for your team.  Before you start the search for the team, identify the qualities you are seeking for each team member. While no one is perfect, it’s critical to prioritize the skills and attributes that are essential for a successful transaction.

Pulling it All Together 

Selling a business that you likely spend significant time and energy building is a monumental life event. As such, early planning and assembling the right team of experts can make all the difference in the outcome of the transaction and the type of life you live after the sale.

If you’re contemplating selling your business, we encourage you to reach out to us at MPPL Financial for a complimentary consultation of how to get started in the process and assemble the right team of experts to sell your business.

MPPL Financial has offices in Wausau, WI, Duluth and Grand Rapids, MN, and Crystal Lake, IL. While we’re based in the Midwest, we work with clients across the entire U.S.



Investment Advisory Services offered through Midwest Professional Planners, Ltd. (“MPPL”), 2610 Stewart Ave., Ste. 100, Wausau, WI 54401, 1-800-236-6775, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Certain representatives of MPPL are also registered representatives of and offer securities products involving commission or transaction-based fees through APW Capital, Inc., 100 Enterprise Drive, Suite 504, Rockaway, NJ 07866, 1-800-637-3211. Member FINRA/SIPC/MSRB. MPPL is independent of APW Capital, Inc. Registration with the SEC or State Regulatory Authority does not imply a certain level of skill or expertise.