Selling a business is a significant endeavor that requires careful planning and preparation. Before a business can be sold, there are critical preliminary tasks that lay the foundation for a successful sale. These essential considerations set the stage for a smooth and legally sound transaction, ensuring both the seller and the buyer can proceed with confidence.

1. Ownership and Corporate Structure

Confirming the accuracy and currency of ownership records and corporate minute books is paramount. This foundational step ensures that the business can be properly transferred to a new owner without any legal complications.  Additionally, sellers may wish to revise the corporate structure to align with the objectives of a smooth sale while maximizing tax efficiency for both sellers and buyers alike.

2. Existing Contracts and Agreements

A comprehensive review and organization of all contracts and agreements are imperative. This includes scrutinizing client agreements, supplier contracts, leases, and various other agreements to determine their transferability to a new owner or their viability under new ownership. Identifying any contracts that contain change-of-control clauses is crucial, as these could impact the proposed sale and need careful consideration.

3. Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards is a non-negotiable. Verifying and addressing any outstanding regulatory issues or violations is essential to prevent legal complications during the sale process. Ensuring full compliance not only mitigates risks but also enhances the attractiveness of the business to potential buyers.

4. Addressing Business Debt and Secured Interests

Resolving business debt and handling secured interests are crucial measures to facilitate a seamless sale process. Buyers generally prefer acquiring businesses unencumbered by financial liabilities. Hence, it’s imperative to address outstanding loans, encumbrances, or any secured interests that could impact the business beforehand. If debts and secured interests cannot be discharged before a sale, it is essential to strategize for their resolution. Plans should be devised either to clear these obligations using the proceeds from the sale or to have the buyer assume responsibility for them. This proactive approach ensures a clear roadmap for addressing financial liabilities, contributing to a smoother transition of ownership during the sale process.


Proper pre-sale planning is instrumental in laying a solid groundwork for a successful sale of a business. Sellers who proactively address these considerations not only streamline the sale process but also significantly enhance the appeal and value of their business to potential buyers. It’s a strategic move that sets the stage for a successful business sale.

If you are considering selling or buying a business, please call Peter Gottschlich at 416-682-7064 or at and he will be happy to help.

At Mills & Mills LLP, our lawyers regularly help clients with a wide range of legal matters including business lawreal estate lawestate lawemployment law, health law, and tax law. For over 130 years, we have earned a reputation amongst our peers and clients for quality of service and breadth of knowledge. Contact us online or at (416) 863-0125. The material provided through the Mills & Mills LLP website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.

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