It happens more often than it should. A business owner decides that they are ready to sell their business, and without another thought, lists the business on the market. They haven’t put any thought or energy into what makes a business sell, they just throw their business out there and hope that someone will come along and buy it.
What happens to these sellers? Their businesses never sell. Why? Selling a business is like selling anything else. It needs to be appealing to buyers. Getting your business to a place where it will be appealing to a buyer is vastly more important than just getting it listed. One step simply must be done before the other if you are looking to get top dollar for your business.
How do you make your business appealing to buyers? Step back and take an objective look at what you are offering.
- What parts of your business do you hate? Are there systems in place that don’t really work, but you’ve been doing things that way for so long you barely notice? Think about the things that you dislike about your business and change them, because if you don’t like them, buyers won’t either.
- If you were back at the first day you owned your business, what would you do differently? Implement those changes, if possible.
- What skeletons are in the closet? What things would you try to hide from a potential buyer? You won’t be able to keep the skeletons from making an appearance during the due diligence phase, buyers will find out what you don’t want them to know. For example, if you are behind in your taxes, find a way to get them paid. These fixes now will keep deals from falling apart later.
- Does your business look like a candidate for one of those makeover shows? The #1 complaint we get from prospective buyers about a business is “the place was dirty/falling apart/in need of renovation”. These cosmetic changes are important and can also be fairly simple. A fresh coat of paint, replacing a broken doorknob, etc. will go a long way in the first-impression department.
If you really want to sell your business, step back and take a look. As a business owner, you know what it takes to sell things. Use that same knowledge to put your business in the best light for buyers before you list your business on the market.
Are you a business seller who has questions about how to make your business more appealing to buyers? Do you need advice about which problems really need fixing? Please ask us! We will be happy to help you get your business ready for the market.
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