How long will it take to sell my business?

There are a variety of factors that come into play when determining how long it will take to sell your business.

The price in which you decide to market your business is a critical decision, and will have a great effect on the likely time it will take to sell. The key is to make sure you price the business at a point that suits your needs, but at the same time is close enough to attract buyers’ attention and be competitive in the marketplace.

At the end of the day, every business for sale that is similar to yours is your competition. If you overprice your business, it will most likely sit on the market for a long time, degrade in “perceived value” in the buyers’ mind, and assist other business owners to sell their business. Our Instant Business Value Tool can help.


Another critical aspect affecting the time it will take to sell your business is the level of exposure (advertising) your business receives.

It sounds simple, and it often is, the more buyers that see your business, the higher the likelihood you will find your buyer soon leading to a quicker sale. It’s hard to sell a secret.

Once the decision is made to sell your business, it is best to invest into vast exposure to make sure wherever your buyer looks, they will find you.

Have you ever walked into an expensive car garage and the salesman hands you a sticky note with all of the cars features? Of course not. You are handed a shiny, modern, and often beautiful brochure that suits the level of investment you’re considering making.

There is no difference for a business other than the fact that the investment is going to be even greater. Your representation is the first tangible part of your business sale and in many cases will be the difference between a buyer moving from an enquiry to an offer, or never making contacting.

The clearer and higher quality your representation, the more buyers will progress to the next stage.

If you have very little interest in dealing with buyer enquiries for your business, there’s a good chance that you aren’t the best person to represent your sale. If, however you are quite happy to deal with people, and passionate about the sale of your business, who better to sell it that yourself. Especially if you have sold a business before. But be careful not to come across as if your business revolves around you. That will scare any buyer. Be there to answer their questions, but don’t oversell how much you do in the business. Put yourself in their shoes.

If you decide to go with a business broker their sole purpose is to represent business owners in selling their business, negotiate the highest price possible, and get the deal done. It is often their full time focus which is a powerful thing. It isn’t uncommon for a deal to fall over because of something small that should have been picked up early on in the sale process. Brokers have this sort of experience at hand.

Other timelines to consider will be preparation for market, which can take 2-4 weeks. Once under contract, due diligence can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the terms of the contract. Make sure you have a well experiences solicitor on your side for this process!

It’s pretty well expected that a business sale can take between 6-12 months, so 9 months on average. Of course it comes down to when “your buyer” starts to look for a business. They could be looking now, they may come to the table in 3 or 6 months time.

As long as you tick the boxes as best as possible with your method of sale, representation and exposure, you’re doing all you can to achieve the best result for your business.

It all begins with finding out what your business will likely sell for. For an in-depth appraisal click the button below, or if you'd prefer not to talk, click here to use our free Your Business Value Tool.