If you are thinking about selling your business, you should also think about maximizing the potential value of your business to buyers before the business hits the market. Many business owners who start the selling process take their foot off the gas, expecting the business to sell quickly and without much effort. If you are considering this approach, you should know that the typical time it takes to get from listing to closing is 9-12 months, an absolute eternity if you stop caring about running your business and plenty of time for you to sink what you’ve built.
Instead of trying to coast to the finish line, you should do everything you can to continue the growth of your business by seeking out new customers to add to your base. Increasing your customer base will add value to your business in the eyes of buyers, and will also show them that your business is a good investment because you as the current owner always have an eye on growth.
Although it can be difficult to find new customers in a small, local area and that difficulty is now compounded by a global pandemic – there are a few relatively simple things you can try to get your business noticed by both new clientele and buyers.
Get and Maintain an Online Presence
Hop on any major search engine and type in the name of your business. What pops up? If you have no online presence to speak of you should know that in our ever increasing digital world an online absence will reflect very poorly on your business. Why? Any buyer who sees you have neglected the most important avenue for customers to find you will wonder what other aspects of the business you’ve let slide.
It is very easy to make yourself visible online. You first need to make sure your business information is both listed and correct on all of the major search engines. Your listings on these sites should include your address, phone number, an email and a short blurb about what you do. Next, you should set up a business Facebook page and regularly post news about your products and services. Finally, ALL businesses need a website. A business without a website is the equivalent of a store without a sign out front. There are many services available to create a website on your own without any tech-savvy knowledge or you can hire a web designer to create one for you. Make sure your website includes the location of the business, the contact information, the hours of operation and the products or services you provide. Make it incredibly easy for people to find you and your customer base will grow.
If at all possible, you should also have on your website a way for customers to purchase your goods and services from the comfort of their home. Use an online appointment setting service so customers can schedule your services whenever they want. If you have a restaurant or other food service business, set up an online ordering platform and offer curbside takeout. If you have a retail store, set up an e-commerce platform so your customers can still shop from their couch. If it isn’t feasible to offer everything you have in your inventory in a digital store, you an certainly take your top sellers and make them available for digital purchase and offer the option of shipping or curbside pickup. Flexible and innovative businesses are the ones that attract new customers and also have the staying power to survive the times. The digital platform is a great way for you to maximize your profits while also showing potential buyers that your business can make it through.
Ask For and Respond To Feedback
TripAdvisor, Google Reviews and Yelp are where customers look when deciding on a new business to use, so use rating sites like these to your advantage. Ask customers to rate you, and respond in a positive way to any negative reviews by addressing and then fixing that person’s concerns. Showing that you are an engaged owner will not only help your business reputation with customers, it will help with any potential buyers as well.
Taking these fairly easy steps to bring in new customers will both add to your bottom line and impress any potential buyers who come in the door. Don’t take your foot off the gas, especially now!
Are you thinking about selling your business and want to know more about growing your business with an eye on selling? Do you have questions about the business selling process? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we will be happy to help.
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