Why 80% of Business Owners Cannot Sell Their Business

by | May 16, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Imagine you have spent years building a successful business. You’ve nurtured it from inception, watched it grow, and now you’re ready to move on. The dream for many business owners is to sell their company for a profit, providing a substantial payoff for their hard work and dedication. However, studies have shown that 80% of business owners cannot sell their business. Why is this the case? This article explores the key reasons behind this startling statistic and offers suggestions for improving the odds.


One of the most common reasons business owners struggle to sell their company is due to unrealistic expectations of its worth. Entrepreneurs often overvalue their businesses based on emotional attachment, resulting in a valuation that potential buyers find unpalatable. To avoid this pitfall, business owners should obtain an impartial valuation from a professional and be prepared to adjust their expectations accordingly.

Lack of Planning

Many business owners do not plan for the eventual sale of their company. Without a well-thought-out exit strategy in place, owners may find themselves unprepared when the time comes to sell. To address this issue, entrepreneurs should start planning for a sale well in advance, considering factors such as market conditions, timing, and potential buyers.

Poor Financial Management

Buyers often shy away from businesses with disorganized financial records or irregularities. This lack of financial transparency can make it difficult for potential buyers to assess the true value and health of the business. To improve their chances of a successful sale, business owners should ensure their financial records are accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible.

Inadequate Marketing

Many business owners underestimate the importance of marketing their business for sale. A well-executed marketing strategy can generate interest from potential buyers and create a competitive environment that may result in a higher selling price. To maximize the chances of a successful sale, entrepreneurs should engage the services of a professional business broker or invest in targeted marketing efforts.

Key Person Dependency

Businesses that are heavily reliant on a single individual, such as the owner or a key employee, can be less attractive to buyers. This dependency increases the risk for potential buyers, who may be concerned about the ongoing success of the business after the key person departs. To mitigate this risk, business owners should develop a strong management team and documented systems and processes to ensure the business can continue to thrive without them.

Insufficient Preparation

A lack of preparation can lead to potential deal-breakers during the due diligence process. Issues such as legal disputes, regulatory compliance, or outstanding debts can derail a sale. To improve the likelihood of a successful transaction, business owners should conduct a thorough internal review, addressing any potential issues before putting their business on the market.


Selling a business is a complex and challenging process that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. By understanding the reasons why many business owners cannot sell their companies, entrepreneurs can take proactive steps to increase their chances of a successful exit.

If you are a business owner who is considering selling your business and you are not sure how to prepare and need help, please reach out to Catalina Management Group. We would look forward to discussing what your possibilities are. Either contact us by email or schedule a call using the link below.

Email: info@catalinamg.com


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