Business owner reviewing financial documents to plan for the sale of his business

How Long Before Should You Plan Your Business Sale?

Many people choose to sell their business for many reasons but may not know how long the process takes. Some think that you can quickly sell your marketing agency and then leave. However, the sale itself can take a long time, and the transition may need some additional help on your end. 

So how long does it take to sell your business? Here’s a rundown on why you should plan for your business sale years in advance. 

How Long Does a Business Sale Normally Take?

Each deal is different, so having an exact answer on the time it will take to sell your business isn’t exact. However, they typically take three to five years in the advertising and marketing industry. 

Factors such as coming to an agreement on the sale price, envisioning the company’s future, and hiring new management can change the length of time it takes to sell. Depending on the type of sale you intend to do, it can take as long as a year to move through a full sale process.  

Why Does a Sale Take So Long?

A sale can take a long time because you have to set your business up for success before you leave. This can include establishing clearer procedures, hiring a senior management team, and cleaning up any financial documentation and processes. 

The new buyer will often want you to stay on for a bit, so the transition is smoother. Each buyer is different, but many require the leadership to stay on for three to five years post-closing to act as a consultant and continue to run the agency successfully. 

How Should You Prepare for the Sale?

There are different kinds of sales that you can do that will take anywhere from a few months to a year. To help prepare for the sale, you should consider implementing processes that will make the transition smoother, including: 

  • Establishing your team
  • Organizing your finances
  • Integrating your operations
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