When you are thinking about putting your business on the market, or have already done so, you may think you have considered all of the elements involved in a business sale, like finding a good business broker and making sure your financial records are in order. While a good business broker and complete financials are important, they aren’t the most important element of a business sale.
So, what is the most important element in a business sale? The answer to that question is simple.
Is someone willing to buy my business?
Have you thought about what a buyer is looking for when they are considering purchasing your business? Looking at your business from a buyer’s perspective is critical if you want to have a successful sale. Here are some points to consider:
First and foremost business buyers are going to consider price. The best way to attract good buyers is to price your business fairly right out of the gate. Negotiation games will drive potential buyers away, so talk with your business broker about how to price your business appropriately. A fair price is one that you can justify, either through your financial records or by other means specific to your industry.
The next major consideration? Will your business fit the life your buyer wants to have? Be ready to answer questions about the hours you put in, what kind of pay you take home, and what kinds of regular responsibilities they will need to accomplish on a daily basis.
Why are you selling your business? Buyers who ask why the business is for sale are looking for potential problems. Are you selling because you are ready to retire, or because you are trying to get off of a sinking ship? If you are trying to sell your business for health reasons (a subject that is obviously a private one) you may need to be prepared to disclose this detail if a buyer asks in order to dispel any doubts they may have about the business.
A buyer will also want to know what is included in the business sale, so this information should be ready as soon as you list your business. Are they buying a name, a customer list, inventory, equipment, etc.? The relationships you have built with your clientele and your suppliers are likely crucial to the success of your business, so a buyer will want to know that they can retain these relationships when they take over.
Lastly, a potential buyer will want to know if you are willing to help them get started. You are the person with the most expertise in your particular business, so a new owner will want to know that they have your support in making a successful transition. Are you willing to stay on for training? How long of a training period are you willing to do, or do you think the new owner will need? Would you be available on a consulting basis longer term and after the training period has ended?
What are potential buyers looking for? They are looking for a chance to own their own business, one they are confident about and that they were able to purchase at a reasonable price. If you as a seller can put yourself in the shoes of a buyer, you will have a much better vision of how your business needs to come across to potential buyers.
Are you a business seller who would like to know more about how to make your business appealing to potential buyers? Leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist you.
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