A broker can give you an idea of how much your business might sell for, and how much you'd clear, and you can use that information to weigh your options, Blumenthal said.
Often, that number is too low, he said.
"It's not uncommon for someone to contact me, and three years later, or five years later, contact me again," he said. "That's when they actually pull the trigger and decide to sell it."
If you own the real estate your business sits on, you'll also need to decide what to do with the property. Some owners sell both the business and the land, making a clean break, while others collect rent from the new tenants to help fund retirement, Blumenthal said.
Timing is important.
"I think the most important thing for a business owner is to sell their business when they don't have to and when the business is doing really well," he said. "Businesses that are on a growth curve — meaning they've shown increases for the last two years both in sales and profits — those businesses will get a premium when it comes to buyers' making offers.
"Too often I get a seller I talked to three years ago, when the business is going really well, now ... their business is way down and they're not going to get anything close to what I told them three years ago," Blumenthal said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses and their recovery.
Rising interest rates — which Blumenthal predicts will keep rising — also could make it hard to find a buyer. Someone sitting on the fence about selling now may not be able to sell in six months, or may have to settle for a lower amount or a buyer that can't get bank financing. If the buyer is relying on seller financing, that could tie you to the business you're trying to sell for years, he said.
Consistency also is key. Buyers want a quality, profitable business, and often one that's bringing in more than $1 million a year in sales, he said.
Then there's deciding whom to sell your business to.
Chains, especially the major ones, like businesses with multiple locations. A tire dealer in a remote area may not be desirable to a retail chain, whereas one in a major metro area where that chain already has a presence or is looking to expand, may be a good buy.
A lot of chains are making direct contact with shop owners, urging them to retire, Blumenthal said.
There's also the consideration of the buyer being a good fit.
"I think shop owners in general want to make sure that the buyer is going to take good care of their employees and their customers," he said.