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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: When do I tell my employees that I am considering selling?
A: Gideon Liberty encourages you not to tell your employees. If you are in the beginning stages of considering selling your business, the actual sale could be a year to two years away. Your key employees could begin looking for work, most likely at your competitors. The value of your business could be affected by losing key employees, and the possible repercussions of not keeping the process confidential. In addition, key customers could find out the status and begin looking for a new vendor if they are uncertain about the future.

Q: I am exploring the idea of selling my company. How do I keep this process confidential?
A: By hiring an M&A; intermediary who is responsible for preparing the documentation and handling the marketing process, you can ensure that the process remains confidential.

This also allows you the freedom to continue to focus on running your business throughout the sale process - a key aspect of maximizing your closing price. Gideon Liberty has a process in place to maintain your confidentiality by only releasing information about your business to qualified buyers, who work under our confidentiality agreement.

Q:  How does Gideon Liberty determine the fair market value of a company?
A: We consider five classic approaches to the valuation of your company:

  • asset-based

  • income-based

  • capitalization of earnings

  • present value of discounted future earnings

  • comparable business sales

These methodologies give us an overall perspective on the worth of the business, from which we begin developing a range of potential values. Using the judgment we have derived from years of assisting in actual transactions, we then focus on the areas we believe will be considered the most relevant by the marketplace. This combination of insights then translates into a final, baseline valuation of your company.

Q: What company materials do you need for the valuation analysis?
A: Financial data we review includes the past three years of:

  • accrual-basis income statements

  • financial reports

  • accrual-basis balance sheets

  • tax returns

  • off-balance-sheet assets

  • accounts receivable aging

  • depreciation schedules

  • equipment appraisals

  • property/building appraisals

  • leases and lease holdings

Q:  Is now the right time to sell my company?
A: The answer is simple: it's the right time to sell your company when your personal financial goals match external economic forces. Determining this timing is more complicated. To better understand your financial priorities and identify the optimal selling environment, partner with an experienced M&A; professional who can advise you on what is best for your individual situation.

Q:  What type and size companies does Gideon Liberty represent?
A: We represent privately held, small to mid-size businesses that we believe are marketable to buyers on a global basis.

Q:  Who will I work with from Gideon Liberty?
A: During the process, you will be working with a team of experienced professionals from Gideon Liberty. You will meet a Workshop Leader and a Business Analyst at the workshop. Then, a Financial Analyst will prepare the "Corporate Valuation Analysis," and if you decide to go to market, a Managing Director will direct the process of marketing the business, finding the right buyer and negotiating the best possible deal structure for you.

Q:  How much time will I need to dedicate to the preparation of the "Corporate Valuation Analysis?"
A: The initial interview with the Financial Analyst can take up to two hours with follow-up questions from the FA, so the preparation of the "Corporate Valuation Analysis" should take four to eight hours, on average. If you have a complex business or more than one business, you may need to spend additional time.

During the initial interview we accomplish the following:

  • review financial statements

  • discuss improvement opportunities

  • review business operations

  • identify major competitors - national and local

  • identify major vendors

  • identify any customer who represents more than 10% of your sales during any of the last three years

  • assess profit centers

  • discuss industry trends

  • evaluate growth potential

  • seek ways to enhance value

  • assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

  • review marketing literature

  • review organizational chart

Q:  What is my involvement/role in the process of selling my company?
A: Once you have made the decision to go to market, you will review and approve buyer lists as well as a blind profile of your company, to be used for marketing.

You will also review the more comprehensive "Confidential Business Review" document that will be sent to screened and qualified buyers.

Q:  How long does it typically take to sell a company?
A: Generally speaking, it takes 12-18 months to sell a company.

Q:  How do you market companies for sale?
A: We start by developing a highly targeted list, and then target phone and mail campaigns directed at those prospects. We use our comprehensive buyer databases of specific information on each buyer to pull the list together.

Q:  What is your level of experience with buyers?
A: Gideon Liberty leverages decades of experience and relationships with qualified buyers to uncover all appropriate prospective purchasers and secure the best value from the sale for the client. In addition, we maintain and build relationships with buyers through networking, global conferences, and weekly conference calls with private equity firms to learn more about their investment criteria.

Q: Do you have relationships with buyers internationally?
A: To facilitate our working relationships with buyers throughout the world, we host global e-conference, where we invite U.S. and international buyers to discuss the issues affecting investors of privately held businesses today.

Q:  Can I engage Gideon Liberty and still sell the company myself?
A: Gideon Liberty wants to provide the sell service for you. If you sell the company while under contract with us, you are still obligated to pay the commission in the engagement contract. The service we provide includes sourcing buyers and negotiating the deal, so if you have a buyer in mind, it is extremely important to have professional representation with that buyer.

Q:  How does Gideon Liberty secure the best after-tax value for a company?
A: Our valuation work often suggests tax strategies that sellers can use to minimize the costs involved in the sale of a business. We make these suggestions for review and analysis by your own tax specialists, who will incorporate them into your overall financial picture.

Q:  If now isn't the right time to sell my company, what should I do to prepare my company to eventually go to market?
A: If Gideon Liberty prepares the "Corporate Valuation Analysis" and you later determine that now is not the right time to sell, we provide a "Strategic Growth Analysis" of your company to help you face challenges in growing your company. This analysis is developed from an M&A; perspective, so that when you eventually go to market, your actions taken should help increase the value of your company.

Q:  I would like to investigate whether Gideon Liberty is a good fit for me and my business. What is the first step to learn more?
A: Attending a local workshop or online webinar led by Gideon Liberty gives you the most comprehensive overview of the process and determining whether this is the right fit for you. Please contact us to learn more about upcoming workshops near you.

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