Selling FAQs

As we begin the process of selling your business, there are many things you will need to do:

  • Maintain normal working hours.
  • Make sure your financial records are an accurate reflection of revenues, business expenses and assets/liability levels.
  • Conduct business as usual while maintaining normal inventory levels.
  • Keep the business clean and in good repair.
  • Remove equipment or furniture that is not part of the sale.
  • Provide us with required information in a timely manner.
  • Be as accommodating as possible in setting appointments to meet with buyers.

Portage M&A provides its clients with a thorough business evaluation called our Most Probable Selling Price analysis. On the open market, an evaluation of this scope and detail would cost many thousands of dollars, we charge a small fee for this evaluation.

Your intermediary will explain the importance and value of this document as well as the detailed analysis that goes into its development.

Portage M&A has the expertise and reach to be able to market to the right prospects locally, nationally and internationally. Your business will receive broad exposure across our network, augmented by appropriate offline and online marketing initiatives to reach your prospects.

Our proprietary buyer-matching systems also allow us to search our internal database of thousands of registered buyers to identify prospective buyers whose profiles match your business.

An astute buyer will typically start with an offer that is substantially below your asking price. This initial offer is normally used as the first step in the negotiation process to “test the waters”. All offers will contain contingencies, including a review of the books and records, obtaining a satisfactory lease, and agreement on training and transition periods. Other contingencies specific to your business may also be included. Contingencies are normal as they provide the buyer with the opportunity to verify the information presented in the marketing materials. They also provide some negotiating room for the purchaser as the process moves forward.

There are many factors affecting the length of time it takes to sell a business including: asking price, the buyer’s ability to secure financing for the purchase of the business, the business’ location, local economic conditions, the nature of the business etc. Consequently, there are wide variations in the amount of time required to sell a business, however, a selling period of six to twelve months would be the typical.

No. We usually ask for a signed personal financial statement from the buyer and try to get a sense of the validity of what is presented by asking questions, but we do not initially verify that the information submitted is correct. If negotiations become serious and there is any question of financial capability, we are authorized to run a credit check and will do so if appropriate. If you are financing a substantial part of the purchase price, you should verify income and asset and liability information as carefully as a bank would.

In Canada, because financing for small businesses is quite difficult to acquire from banks and traditional lending institutions, seller financing is a part of most small business acquisitions. Seller financing also makes sense for both the seller and the buyer for a couple of reasons. First if the seller is willing to provide financing, it shows the buyer that the seller believes in both the earning power of the business and the skills of the purchaser to make sufficient return on investment to cover the financing. It also works for the seller, because businesses that include financing typically sell for more than businesses without seller financing. In some cases, the ongoing payments and interest on the loan also suit the interests of the seller.

When a buyer buys a business, he/she does so based on the business being able to generate sufficient cash flow to pay your loan and provide him/her with an income to meet their needs. However, a seller will typically ask for a personal guarantee on the financing provided.

There are no firm rules regarding training, and many businesses have more complex learning curves than others. Your intermediary will negotiate the best arrangements for you depending on the type of business you are selling and your personal circumstances. Remember, if you are financing any portion of the purchase price you still have a financial investment in the business, thus, proper training of the buyer is in your best interest.

Although it sounds harsh, our considerable experience has proven that it is best not to tell your employees about the sale until immediately before or immediately after the sale. Of course, if there is an employee whose expertise will be needed after the sale, you should introduce the buyer to this employee shortly before closing. Your intermediary can assist you in determining the timing for notifying employees of the sale.

Portage M&A Advisory’s commissions are competitive in the market place. The commission is performance based and therefore contingent upon the successful sale of the business and Portage M&A generally is able to secure a higher selling price than sale by owner or through lesser channels, so the result is that using Portage M&A does not cost the seller but increases the net proceeds to the seller. You can discuss specific terms and conditions with your Portage M&A business intermediary.

Buying FAQs

Buying an existing business provides you with a number of advantages that help eliminate the risk of starting a new business including:

  • A properly developed business plan and proven business model.
  • Brand recognition with an established customer base and reputation.
  • Immediate cash flow and therefore an immediate return on your investment.
  • Real operating results, as opposed to projected results.
  • Established credit history along with vendor relationships.
  • An employee base that’s been trained.
  • Efficient operating systems, licenses and permits..
As your intermediary we’ll act as a buffer between you and any interested sellers which our clients tell us is extremely appreciated when things get tough.


Buying and Selling businesses is our specialty. We understand the process, and know how to keep the deal moving forward.


A Portage M&A intermediary will provide you a list of local business-for-sale opportunities and help you identify businesses that suit your skill set and experience as well as your financial and lifestyle requirements. We’ll also help you make sense of the complexities of the buying process, smooth the way for negotiations between you and the seller, and work with you to ensure the due diligence and closing process are completed as quick as possible.

Like with real estate transaction, your brokerage fees are typically paid by the seller. However, should you ask us for a targeted search for a business that isn’t currently for sale to see if the owner is willing to consider a purchase offer, then you would be responsible for paying our intermediary fee.

The information needed varies depending on:

  • The size of the business.
  • The complexity and competitiveness of the industry.
  • The disposition of the seller.
  • And other considerations.

However, at the very minimum you must provide the following before receiving any detailed information on a business for sale:

  • Confidential Business Buyer Profile: A document that helps us assess business opportunities that best suit your specific background, experience, financial and lifestyle goals.
  • Personal Financial Statement: You’ll also need to submit financial statements to ensure possible business opportunities suit your financial circumstances. This information is also needed to structure purchase offers and obtain financing when buying a business.
  • Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): As a prospective buyer, an NDA outlines your responsibilities and obligations concerning confidential information disclosed about a business for sale.
  • Credit Check Authorization: Most sellers will request an up-to-date credit profile before disclosing confidential information to you. This is also required as part of any purchase offer that involves a financing or lease agreement.

Due diligence is a comprehensive process typically broken into three categories of investigation: financial, legal and operational. As your business intermediary we can walk you through the process, however we strongly urge you to consult with both your lawyer and accountant for a thorough explanation. A sample list of topics reviewed during the due diligence process are listed below:

  • General Information
  • Organizational Matters
  • Litigation
  • Regulations and Permits
  • Intellectual Property
  • Financial and Accounting Matters
  • Receivables
  • Liabilities
  • Budgets and Forecasts
  • Taxes
  • Material Agreements and Documentation
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Insurance
  • Employee, Deferred Compensation and Benefits
  • Environmental Matters
  • Permits and Licenses
  • Relations with Authorities
  • Miscellaneous

When it comes to your business acquisition, lenders want you to have some “skin in the game”. Typical rule of thumb for the down payment is 30 to 50 per cent of the purchase price. Keep in mind that the lender understands that you will need some working capital to keep the business going, even though the business you’re buying should already have an immediate cash flow.