3 Principles Of Timing The Sale Of Your Business

Selling your business for maximum value is an enormous accomplishment. Whilst a good business broker can assist you, it’s also a feat that rests squarely on the shoulders of the owner. The business broker cannot run this race for you. If you want to sell your business for top dollar someday, timing will be a big part of the equation. Following are three principles of timing the sale of your business:

Sell when your business is on an upswing

Selling a business is often a counterintuitive process. One of the many ironies of business ownership is that the best time to sell your business is when you’re least likely to consider it. Who wants to leave the party when sales and profitability are at an all-time high? Many business owners make the mistake of trying to sell when financial performance has flattened out, or (gasp!) started declining. There’s a misconception that you can explain away lacklustre numbers with self-deprecating excuses. These might include the lack of installing a formal sales team, admitting that business decisions were made for personal reasons, or not having the heart to fire employees or trim certain expenses. Buyers are smart and cautious, however, they will typically only pay for what your business is worth today. They rarely pay much more for past performance or future potential. While the past and present factor into their analysis, the valuation of your business will be heavily influenced by the most recent fiscal year.

In keeping with a sports analogy, athletes work hard to peak at just the right time — the Olympic games, Wimbledon, the Melbourne Cup are all about optimum timing. The same holds true for selling your business. If you want the big money, you’ll need to sell your business at its peak.

Sell when the market is good

My GMO Partner Jim Goodwin and I have been working in the business-for-sale marketplace since 1991. To say that the window of opportunity for selling a business opens and closes during economic and interest rate cycles is quite accurate. The market for selling a business happens to be excellent right now, with a lot of people in mining services and St Georges Terrace service firms being made redundant and considering a business purchase. Remember that the job market is a competitor to the business sales market. This is one point in a seven year cycle where the job market is a weak competitor! The window of opportunity is open to sell well for the next year. Smart business owners sell when the market is good or improving, so do not be lulled into a false sense of comfort and stay too long.

Sell when you’re ready to let go

Even if the first two conditions are in place, you’ll have a hard time getting across the finish line if your head isn’t in the game of selling. Selling a business can be a long and often gut-wrenching process. If you’re not 100% ready and committed to going through with a sale, it can be best not to leave the starting gate. It will take a team of talented people to help you sell your business including your GMO broker, your accountant,your financial planner and (of course) your family.  Whether or not you get top dollar, however, will depend largely on when you decide to pull the trigger. Timing is everything. Is 2017 the right time for you?


Contact GMO if you’d like to discuss whether now is a good time to sell your business.

Graham O’Hehir
GMO, Managing Director


  • The disclosers are willing to disclose such information to the recipient subject to their acceptance of the following conditions:
    1. The recipient shall treat all information received from the discloser as confidential and shall ensure that all such information remains confidential and shall not use any such information in any way other than for the specific purpose aforesaid. The recipient acknowledges that all conditions subsequent in this disclosure apply to the recipient and any associates of the recipient be they partners, co‐directors, trustees, holders of shares or officersin entity(s) the recipient has interest in.
    2. The obligations of paragraph 1 shall not extend to any such information which is in the public domain, or which hereafter becomes part of the public domain otherwise than as a result of any unauthorised activity or omission of the recipient, or which is already in the possession of the recipient and was not derived from the disclosers.
    3. The recipient shall return all such information received other than that which is submitted orally at the termination of such negotiations entered into as a result of this agreement.
    4. The obligations set forth in paragraph 1, 2 and 3 shall terminate 12 months from the date of this agreement or upon the disclosers and the recipients entering into an agreement whichever event occursfirst.
    5. The recipient shall obtain no rights of any kind to such information other than for the specific purpose stated in this agreement.
    6. The receiving party will not utilise any material made available to improve, construct or change another business, in such a way as to allow that business to compete with the business being discussed.
    7. The recipient understands that the information has been compiled by GMO from details provided by the Vendor. Prospective purchasers should be aware that it is not intended that any projections or this information be treated as a representation, warranty or promise by GMO or its representatives, as to the correctness of the information, or that all relevant information is contained in the information provided.
    8. The recipient acknowledges that they will not act on information provided without first seeking independent financial and legal advice.
    9. The recipient hereby agrees to declare any beneficial interest in any business that could currently be interpreted as being in competition with the subject business.
    10. The recipient agrees to return all documents supplied within 50 days of receipt (and any copies) should they decide not to proceed. The recipient further agrees to destroy any electronic information supplied by the Seller or GMO and to instruct their professional advisors to also destroy any information passed on by the Seller, the recipient or from GMO.
    11. The recipient acknowledges they are precluded from physically visiting the premises of the business or talking to any client, supplier or employee of the business without the permission of the discloser.
    The recipient/s hereby accepts the above conditions as binding on them in respect of the information referred to.
    By ticking you are accepting and agree to our Terms & Conditions including Confidential Disclosure Agreement & Privacy Policy.

Subscribe to GMO's Monthly Hotlistings

Subscribe today to receive GMO’s monthly updates and a list of all current business opportunities
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All Search Filters

  • Business type

  • Industries

  • Location

  • Sort by Price

  • Reset