BizBuySell Small Business Survey: Most Biz Owners Say No Thanks to Consultants
BizBuySell’s survey suggests small business owners prefer “do-it-yourself” methods and customer feedback to improve business reputation
CHICAGO – May 21, 2007 - A recent survey conducted by BizBuySell, the largest online business-for-sale marketplace, finds that most business owners doubt the effectiveness of hiring consultants to improve business reputation, preferring instead to do their own marketing without external assistance.
In recognition of National Business Image Improvement month, BizBuySell polled small business owners who have listed businesses for sale on the BizBuySell.com site to determine what they consider the most effective ways to improve the reputation of a business.
74% of respondents believe business owners are more qualified than a hired consultant to improve the image of a business.
68% of respondents said they had never engaged a consultant to help improve their business. Of those who had engaged consultants, 45% were moderately satisfied with the results. 27% felt the consultant did a great job for the business, while 24% regretted the decision to hire a consultant, stating it was a waste of time and money.
“Although opinions on the effectiveness of consultants were varied, the survey confirms that most small business owners are more likely to try to solve problems by themselves rather than seek outside help,” Mike Handelsman, General Manager of BizBuySell said. “Small business owners are used to taking charge of nearly all aspects of the business – from human resources to maintenance – so many regard outside help as unnecessary or inadequate. Indeed, in our own business, although business brokers remain the primary source of business-for-sale listings, we have seen a growing number of FSBO (for sale by owner) business listings.”
Small Business Owners Value Customer Relationships, Marketing
The largest group (52%) of survey respondents identified better customer service as the most important factor when attempting to improve a business. 81% chose individual conversation with customers – as opposed to periodic surveys and focus groups - as the most effective way to gauge how people perceive a business.
Some small business owners offered specific advice on improving business image through customer service:
- “Answer the phones and return inquiries quickly. Speed in customer communication has been the best thing we have done.”
- “Just do honest work, treat your customers fairly and they will tell others.”
- “Take a step back – sit with some really close customers, and ask them.”
The second-highest number of respondents (28%) selected better marketing techniques as the most important factor in improving business image, and many emphasized the importance of marketing in relation to connecting with customers:
- “Learn how to conduct quantitative market research to find out what your customers are most concerned with before you decide how you need to improve your model.”
- “Focus on the customer and on marketing. If you have a great product or service, but no one knows about it, you will fail. But if you provide a lousy product or service, no amount of marketing will make you succeed. It’s a fine line to walk.”
Improving Image to Sell a Business Online
When asked about techniques to make online business-for-sale listings attractive to prospective buyers, the largest group of respondents (50%) said including the right details was the most important factor.
Respondents stated they had success in listing a business for sale online by providing detailed information about what their business did and who it served, addressing business potential and benefits and using appropriate terminology for prospective buyers.
“My business is not for everyone - but would be great for a certain type of person - so I tried to create an ad that type of person would connect with,” replied one respondent.
BizBuySell users can access guidelines and tips on the site on how to effectively present their business in an online listing to get the best results.
“Before listing a business for sale, make sure all your documents are in order and the business is physically presentable, or buyers will pick up on the lack of organization and look elsewhere,” Handelsman said. “When you place your ad, it should be truthful and provide enough information so people will be interested, but leave out some specifics if you don’t want competition and current employees to find out you’re selling.”
BizBuySell is the Internet's largest business for sale marketplace. Since 1996, BizBuySell has offered tools that make it easy for business owners and brokers to sell a business, and potential buyers to find the business of their dreams. BizBuySell currently has an inventory of approximately businesses - spanning 80 countries - for sale at any one time and receives more than monthly visits. The site also features an extensive franchise directory as well as an easy-to-use business valuation tool. Please visit www.bizbuysell.com for more information.
BizBuySell was founded in 1996 and in 2012 became a division of CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ - CSGP) - commercial real estate's leading provider of information and analytic services. CoStar conducts expansive, ongoing research to produce and maintain the largest and most comprehensive database of commercial real estate information and offers a suite of online services enabling clients to analyze, interpret and gain unmatched insight on commercial property values, market conditions and current availabilities. For more information, visit www.costar.com.
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