Introduction: How I Sold My Business

After receiving a letter in the mail one day in the fall of 2002, I made a decision to investigate the selling of my company, a business I originally founded in 1994.

Once I made the decision to try to sell the company, I did what I normally do when it comes to big decisions -- a lot of research. While I normally like to talk to as many people as I can about important business decisions, in this case I couldn't talk to anyone, so I bought several books and searched online for all the information I could find related to the process of selling a business.

I was disappointed to find that most books spoke very vaguely about the business valuation process, giving rule of thumb formulas like‚ "Your company value may be 1x to 8x your EBITDA", and other terribly useful values like that. According to rules like this, if the EBITDA for my small business was $250K, the business is worth somewhere between $250K and $2M. Um ... yeah, thanks, that really narrows it down.

Ancient ruins in Delphi

I was also disappointed to see that few books discuss the mechanics of the sales process in detail. How do you really go about selling your company? How do you get your business "on the market"? Who do you tell? What do you tell them? How do you go through the business sales process without making all of your employees suspicious?

This diary of "How I Sold My Business" is a culmination of my notes from my business-selling experience. The dates I use in the beginning of the diary aren't completely accurate, as I had no intention of writing a book when all of this started. However, I have tried to make those dates as accurate as possible based on the notes and emails I could find. As time goes on the dates are more and more accurate, as I realized I was not just selling my business, but keeping detailed notes that might become a story that was helpful to other small business owners, and would-be business sellers (and buyers).

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