The value of a business is driven by it's earnings. For privately held businesses Seller's Discretionary Earnings (SDE) is used to determine the value of the business.
SDE is calculated by taking the Net Income (from the company tax returns) and adding back owner's discretionary expenses and benefits such as salary, bonuses, insurance, meals & entertainment, travel, etc. SDE is basically a measure of total economic benefit the owner recognizes from the business.
Time on market varies widely based on the asking price and type of business. In general most businesses sell within 6 months, with some taking as long as a year. Businesses with asking prices substantially higher than market value often don't sell and businesses listed at a premium asking price take much longer to sell than businesses competitively priced businesses. The type of business also affects the time on market. Very small and simple to run businesses sell much more quickly than larger and more complex businesses requiring a sophisticated and well financed buyer.
Some brokers charge a "marketing fee" or upfront fee when listing a business. We do not charge any upfront fees relating valuing or listing your business for sale, as our fees are paid only on the successful sale of your business.
In most transactions the seller retains the Accounts Receivable (A/R) accrued through the sale date and the buyer's A/R starts after the sale date. Accounts Payable (A/P) is handled the same way, with the seller responsible for all payables through the close sale date and the buyer responsible for payables after the sale date. Note that in some cases the buyer may opt to buy the A/R from the seller. If so this is generally at an agreed upon and negotiated discount. Inventory is counted and valued (at cost or replacement value) at the close of escrow (unless specified differently in the purchase agreement). In some cases inventory may be included with the purchase price or the value may be negotiated to be a specific value. A/R, A/P, and inventory are often a part of the purchase price negotiation. Be prepared by having accurate values for these assets.
All cash deals are rare and usually seen on very small transactions. On larger transactions a seller can get all cash at closing if a SBA loan is used to finance the transaction or else seller financing is typically required.
First due diligence on the businesses operations and financials are performed, then the buyer's attorney will draft a purchase/sale contract. After the contract is negotiated and signed, then the SBA financing is arranged and closing will occur shortly after the SBA loan aprroval.