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Selling your business is a detailed process, and it is one you want to take  great care in handling. As you seek potential buyers, you want to be prepared  for whatever might come your way—including probing questions from interested  acquirers.

Every potential suitor will be different and will have a very specific list  of questions and concerns. As a business owner, it is important that you’re  prepared to be grilled on every aspect of your business. There are 8 common  questions that you can expect during prospect meetings and advanced preparation  can ease some of the tension when in the hot seat.

No. 1. Why are you selling?

Detailing why you are selling your business is an obvious first question, but  it is one that is often challenging to answer. It is important that the buyer  believe the company’s future is bright, but you must articulate why you are  separating yourself from the potential success. Prepare a solid response that  explains your departure and underscores the business’ prospects for the  future.

No. 2. What does it cost to acquire new customers?

For the business to continue to grow, it must continue to attract new  customers, which often has a fixed cost associated. A potential buyer will want  to know if there is an existing economical and scalable formula to securing new  customers and clients. Analyze the costs and display them in a clear and concise  manner.

No. 3. What is your market penetration rate?

Any potential acquirer wants to see ample room for future growth. They will  be interested to understand the current market, as well as the size of the  potential market and determining how much has yet to be harvested. Accurately  describe current standings and chart future business growth.

No. 4. Who is on your team—and who is most critical?

You know that your employees are your lifeblood and it’s important that a  potential buyer know the same. They will be interested to know your company  structure, particularly identifying key personnel and which team members will  need to be motivated to stay with the company post-sale. Note primary players  and detail how other team members contribute to the end goal.

No. 5. Who is your core customer base?

A business needs to know its customers well in order to thrive, and a  potential acquirer will want to get to know them as well. Be able to clearly  define and describe your core customer base, including the characteristics that  drive them to your business. For potential buyers who already own a business,  they may also be looking for potential synergies between what you sell and what  their business offers. Paint a clear picture of your customers and their needs  and illustrate how they may align with those of the buyer.

No. 6. How do you make your goods or services?

Any potential buyer will want a detailed account of how the product is  brought to market, from start to finish. They will be looking for unique aspects  of your formula and will want to know of any proprietary systems that would be  difficult for a competitor to replicate. Create a detailed overview of the  complete production process and identify potential challenges.

No. 7. What makes your offering unique?

A potential buyer will be taking a very close look at your product offering,  including current and future competitors. They want to understand the moat  around your business to anticipate if new competitors may expose themselves in  the future. Clearly identify what you have done to safeguard your business from  competition and isolate potential threats.

No. 8. What does the back-office setup look like?

While you know your business like the back of your hand, your incoming buyer  will not. A potential buyer will need to know the ins and outs of your financial  stream—bookkeeping practices, billing software, how customers pay and how  suppliers are paid, among other aspects. Thoroughly explain how you manage your  business’ finances and display how their process might be integrated with your  business’ systems.

Meeting with potential buyers is one step in the multi-faceted exit planning  process. Use each meeting as a guide to perfect your approach to the sale and  ensure ultimate success. A properly executed exit plan will ensure the best  financial positioning post-sale.