How to Sell Your Business

In the coming decade, over $2 Trillion in small business assets in Canada are expected to change hands as 76% of owners look to bow out.  For many of these owners, the sale of their business will be their first and only experience with an M&A transaction. There is a tremendous amount at stake for owners looking to fund their retirement or next project.

In this guide to selling your business, we set out the steps, processes, and options when selling a business that can help business owners maximize the return from their years of hard work.

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Chapters in this guide

Laying Your Cards on the Table

How and when to provide detailed information on your business to a potential buyer while protecting your confidential and proprietary information.

How to Value Your Business

You want to receive a fair price in exchange for the business you worked so hard to build. Obtaining a valuation from a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) is a great starting point.

Using Projections to Help the Sale

Projections demonstrate the future cash flow a prospective buyer can expect from the company if they purchase it, and are critical to determining the sale price. 

Restructuring Your Business for Tax Efficiency

Restructuring your business prior to a sale can maximize value and minimize taxes through the sale structure, capital gains planning and family trusts. 

Assessing Values for Different Purchasers

The value of your business and ultimate sale price can differ for private equity buyers, strategic buyers and sales within a family.

Management Buyouts

A review of the benefits, risks, process and financing of the sale when a management buyout occurs.

Common Forms of Consideration

A review of the payment options available when negotiating the sale of a business, including cash, shares, assumption of debt, earn-outs, holdbacks, and promissory notes.

Tax and Estate Planning Strategies for the Sale Proceeds

Post-sale tax considerations sellers should consider include estate planning intentions, planned distribution of assets upon death, philanthropy, and personal needs.

Working Capital

Working capital disagreements can derail a deal and can become an unwelcome contentious issue even subsequent to a deal closing. But problems can be prevented.


The information contained in the articles within this guide is intended solely to provide general guidance. While every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy and completeness, no representation is made as to the accuracy thereof.  Readers should not rely on this information as a replacement for specific professional advice as it pertains to their own circumstances.

DFK Canada Inc. is a national association of independent accounting firms with locations in most major centers in Canada. Our member firms offer a diverse range of specialty services including Business Valuations.

The articles within this guide have been collaboratively produced by Valuations leaders within some of our firms.   

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