There’s usually going to be two different scenarios after a buyer has purchased your business.
They are going to require you to give them assistance as they’re transitioning into taking over the business and this could dictate how they’re willing to pay you to buy it.
The first scenario is where they pay the entirety in cash, up front. The second is considered an earnout
and structures payments based on the performance of the business.
The first scenario is where you’re going to want to focus if you’re trying to get out of the business quickly.
The second scenario creates situations that are out of your control because the remainder of what the new investor owes is due when the business has hit certain performance goals they have set out to achieve.
That means you’re going to be on the hook to make sure those goals are hit and the new owner could be completely rubbish at running the business. This would mean you would have to keep it floating in order to receive the rest of your money.
In general, earnouts are bad for you as a seller and getting cash up front is the only way to guarantee you’re getting the entire payout. You can offer assistance after the sale, but don’t let your money be tied to outcomes the buyer has control over.