You want to sell your business for the best price, which means you need to make sure you’re attracting the right buyers.
It’s time to take a step back and look at your business as objectively as possible. Consider carefully the type of buyer that is most likely to be interested in your business. Would it appeal to a strategic buyer who runs a similar operation and may be looking to expand into new territory, reduce the competition or acquire a new pool of customers? Could it attract someone who sees the potential for a profitable investment? Or will it simply offer an opportunity for another owner-operator to acquire an established business to run for profit?
Obviously, if your business is in great shape with a solid pipeline, impressive trading history and the potential to grow, you’ll have the best chance of attracting interest from multiple purchases but how can you reel in the buyer who will best meet your goals?
Be Prepared to Proactively Sell Your Business
Whether you opt to market through an agent or decide to take control with your own Bizdaq listing, you’ll need to put your best foot forward. Securing a sale will require plenty of effort – from making sure your paperwork is in apple-pie order to scheduling time to woo prospective purchasers. The first thing to consider is your business listing – how you describe your company will impact the number and type of buyers you attract, so spend time crafting this and enlist help from trusted friends and business colleagues. Look at other good examples and use the same techniques.
Keep Your Options Open
Make sure you have conversations with as many prospective buyers as possible – your first enquiry won’t necessarily be the best match. Savvy buyers know that their best chance of getting great terms is if they isolate the seller from other interested parties to avoid competition. The seller should pursue exactly the opposite scenario, exploring all available options before narrowing the field to the most suitable and profitable candidates.
Tell Your Story
Buyers will be reassured if they can see the ‘story’ of your business. They’ll be looking for evidence that your claims about your business’s current performance and future potential are grounded in reality, so if they can see evidence of the journey you’ve made, they’ll be more likely to trust your appraisal. Obviously, they’ll also be examining your accounts with a fine-tooth comb, but it helps if you can inform their opinions along the way. Without telling your story, buyers might misinterpret the data.
Be Savvy About Communicating Your Strengths
This should be the easy part – it’s only natural to be proud of your biggest achievements. However, it’s important to highlight the things the buyer wants to buy. For instance, a buyer looking for a bolt-on to their own business may be interested in aspects of the business that are different from a buyer looking to begin their own journey. If you understand what individual buyers want, you’ll be able to tailor your strategy to each.
Don’t Gloss Over Your Weaknesses
Be honest about the challenges your business faces. If you conceal issues that you think will put buyers off, you’ll only end up wasting everyone’s time and snuffing out any early feelings of trust. Be assured that serious buyers will pull in their own experts to perform due diligence before agreeing to a transaction, which means that issues will eventually be uncovered and you’ll either have to start all over again with a new prospect or forfeit a chunk of your asking price. It’s always better to disclose issues you think may affect your buyer’s decision. What’s more, if you’re in control, you can craft a commentary that may help to mitigate any concerns at the outset.
In many ways, finding the best buyer for your business is more about targeting a good match than attracting general interest – a proactive rather than reactive strategy. Nevertheless, marketing your business to a broad base of potential buyers is the most effective way to find the buyer that best suits your goals. It’s important to feel that you’ve been honest and open about your business’s potential, so you can be confident that the right buyer will be keen to see the deal through to completion.
By taking time at the start of the process to align your marketing approach with the objectives of your buyer base, you’ll be more likely to find the right match in the shortest time.