How to Make Your Business More Marketable
In the competitive market of business sales, taking the time to create and implement a multi-faceted marketing plan may be just the leverage you need to make your company the most attractive option for potential buyers. There are several steps that you can take to make your business stand out above the competition.
Revamp Your Business Inside and Out
Selling your business is similar to selling real estate, in that the condition and appearance of the actual brick and mortar go a long way in swaying a potential buyer’s decision. Once you’ve taken the time to screen potential buyers and are ready to show them your business, you’ll want to give them a tour that leaves them with a positive impression and encourages further interest.
Take the time to ensure that your business looks inviting and is running smoothly so that when a potential buyer surfaces, your business is ready to show. It pays to put some effort into creating “curb appeal” as well. The outside of your business is a potential buyer’s first impression of the location, so well maintained landscaping and a fresh coat of paint may well be a tipping point for the buyer.
While you’re sprucing up your business for sale, don’t forget your online presence. Make sure that your website is up to date and its navigation is functional. If your business has social media sites, make sure that they’re current and active, or consider deleting them.
Get Your Books In Order and Consider Offering Seller Financing
Potential buyers will expect to see an accurate account of your financial records. Get your papers in order in advance of your listing. Even if you’re not considering selling immediately, keep in mind that when you do sell your business, you should have at least three years of detailed financial records available to show potential buyers, so why not get organized now?
In addition to financials, you’ll want to make sure that your business is up to date with regulations, including health and safety codes. Go over commercial leases and contact your landlord to determine whether they can be reassigned to a new owner. Have a neat package of paperwork prepared to present to prospective buyers.
Another key selling point to consider is seller financing. Allowing a buyer to pay off a portion of the sale at a later date with interest means that you will continue to be involved with the business, but in the role of a banker - the interest accumulated in the long run may make it worthwhile. Moreover, the selling price of a seller-financed business is generally 15 percent greater than a cash sale.
Offering to provide financing in your listing may help you attract more potential buyers, especially since some business-for-sale websites allow buyers to search specifically for seller-financed businesses.
Make a Strong First Impression with Your Business-For-Sale Listing
Your listing will probably be the first impression that potential buyers have of your business, so it’s well worth your while to carefully design your business-for-sale ad to stand out in a sea of listings.
As a business owner, you likely have experience using advertising media to promote your company’s product or services. While you’ll certainly draw on that skill set to list your business for sale, marketing your business is a bit more refined. Rather than casting a wide net in order to broadcast information about your business to as many customers as possible, you’ll want to narrow the scope of your advertising to discreetly target qualified prospective buyers. It’s a good idea to research brokers, business-for-sale websites and trade publications to determine which has the best ability to reach your target market.
A good business-for-sale listing maintains a fine balance between providing enough information while not giving away too much. You want to make your business sound appealing to potential buyers, while at the same time you don’t want to not reveal too much to the point where they don’t feel the need to contact your for more information, or where you put your confidentiality at risk.
Include financial information, such as revenue and cash flow, as well as general geographic information, such as the state and county that your business resides in. This will provide potential buyers with useful information that draws interest without exposing your business’s specific identity.
Be creative with your ad copy. Remember that this is the first impression that potential buyers will have of your business. List your top selling points in a professional manner and be sure to spell check all your copy. Keep it brief, but make it sound interesting. Consider including high-resolution photos that don’t reveal the specific location of your business, or perhaps images related to your field of business.
After considering all the ways to make your business more marketable, step back and take a good objective look at it through the eyes of a prospective buyer. Does the listing sound compelling? Does the building look like somewhere that you’d like to start a new venture? Would you feel comfortable investing in the business given the paperwork that you’ve prepared? If your answers are yes, then you’re well on your way.