1)     Business Owner’s Failure to Plan for a Sale

2)     Inadequate Seller’s Discretionary Earnings (SDE)

3)     Low or Inconsistent Gross Margins

4)     Inadequate Marketing and Sales Efforts

5)     Owners With Unrealistic Price Expectations

6)     Business Acquisitions that Cannot be Financed

7)     Owners Unwilling to Provide Partial Financing

8)     Owners Who Cannot Afford to Sell

9)     C-Corporation Tax Implications

10)   Inadequate Recordkeeping / Accounting Systems / 
Financial Reports

11)   Inadequate Second-Level Management

12)   Customer Concentration Issues

13)   Asset Value too High vs. Return on Investment

14)   Real Estate Value too High vs. Return on Investment

15)   Large Working Capital Requirements

16)   Excessive Personal Expenses and Skimming Cash

17)   Burned-Out Owner Ruins Business Value

18)   Owners Who Try to Sell the Business Themselves

19)   Owners Who are not Committed to a Sale

20)   Choosing The Wrong Intermediary

21)   Trust Issues from Inadequate Disclosures before Due Diligence

22)   Inadequate Preparation for Due Diligence

23)   Losing Focus – Business Decline during Sale Process

24)   Lack of Flexibility in Negotiations

25)   Sellers’ Lack of Emotional Control

26)   Sellers Don’t Understand Buyers’ Motivations

27)   Owners Don’t Sell Business’ Growth Potential

28)   Difficulties Transferring the Facility Lease

29)   Real Estate Transfer Issues

30)   Bad Timing – Waiting too Long to Sell

31)   Confidentiality Breach and Employee Suspicion

32)   Lack of Required Approvals from Stakeholders

33)   Unproductive Assets

34)   Owners Forced to Sell Due to Factors Beyond their Control

35)   Trying to Sell to Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Buy (Competitors)

36)   Seller Fails to Plan for Life after the Sale

37)   Sellers without a Business Plan

38)   Sellers Unwilling to Use Professional Advisors

39)   Not Involving Professional Advisors Soon Enough

40)   Overprotective Professional Advisors

41)   Professional Advisors’ Potential Conflict of Interest

42)   Intentional Misrepresentation by Seller

43)   Sellers’ Impatience with Sale Process

44)   Inflexibility in Structuring a Deal

45)   Not Believing Time is of the Essence

46)   Failure to Facilitate Closing on a Timely Basis

47)   Sellers Surprised by Tax Implications

48)   Failures in Negotiating Representation and Warranties

49)   Failures in Negotiating Non-compete Agreements

50)   Failures in Negotiating Terms of Seller Financing

51)   Nit-picking in Negotiations

52)   Technological Obsolescence

53)   Lack of Compliance with Regulations 
(Environmental, Health/Safety, Taxes, etc.)

54)   Lack of Compliance with Regulatory Authorities 
(Franchisors, Licensors, etc.)

55)   Unresolved Legal Issues

56)   Environmental Risks

57)   Employee/Labor Problems

58)   Pension Plans and other Post-Employment Issues

59)   Changes in Competitive Threats or Business Environment

60)   Lack of Chemistry between Buyer and Seller

61)   Lack of Barriers to Entry

62)   Problematic Vendor Relationships

63)   Accounts Receivable Collections Issues

64)   Undisclosed Liabilities and Debts

65)   Poor Location

66)   Sellers’ Unwillingness to Stay for a Transition Period

Complied by Jim Stauder – owner and author of Howtoplanandsellabusiness.com