Find the right buyer and get the best price for your business.
In You’ve Received an Offer for Your Business… Now What? Part 1, we talked about how to distinguish between a “dialing for dollars” phone call and a real offer, how to make sure the buyer is qualified, some common pitfalls to avoid, the steps you should take when you receive that phone call, and why being prepared in advance is the best thing you can do to make sure you get what you deserve for your business.
So what happens after you and your advisors have fully vetted the potential buyer and offer? It’s easy to be beguiled when someone comes along and offers to buy your business. It’s completely understandable. However, you want to make sure that you’re looking at the big picture, including your business’ readiness, the suitability of the buyer for your business, and marketplace dynamics.
Just because you’ve received your first offer doesn’t mean that you have to take it! In fact, it may be an indication that now is the time to test the waters in the marketplace to create a competition. If one buyer is interested in your business, then it is likely that there will be others interested in it as well.
Let’s take a look some of the next steps you should take to prepare yourself and your business for sale in order to get the best price and navigate the business sale marketplace.
Go to Market Prep for You and Your Business
In the best case scenario, you will have plenty of time to prepare your business and yourself in order to get the price and secure your future beyond your business. Follow our six-step exit planning process to:
- Develop Your Vision and Personal Goals
- Determine How Much Money You Need to Net
- Understand How to Maximize Business Value
- Decide Which Exit Option Is Right For You
- Minimize Taxes and Get the Best Possible Deal
- Document and Execute Your Exit Plan
You want to make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the exit planning and sales process before going any further to ensure the successful sale of your business.
Navigating the Business Sale Marketplace
Ideally, when you take your business to market, you want to create competition among potential buyers, though this strategy is dependent upon the size of your business. If your business is worth more than $2 million, you may be able to go to market without an asking price to create a competitive environment and let the market determine what your business is worth. For a main street business, or one that is worth less than $2 million, you may have to list it on a business-for-sale website with an established asking price just as you would with real estate. Either way, we recommend that you don’t go it alone.
Selling your business, whether to an individual, a competitor, a private equity group, or an individual investor is a potential minefield. You will need to continue to educate yourself and enlist the assistance of the right advisors to build company value, perform pre-deal diligence, and address potential deal killers in advance … all vital steps that are often overlooked. Work with a reputable business broker who has a track record of successful sales and happy clients.
Business Value and the Art of Positioning
Privately held businesses have a range of values, on any given day, which will be substantially driven by the type of buyer as well as the financial performance and quality of the business. There are many factors that will pique a buyer’s interest and drive the best possible price. While owners tend to focus on the top line, which is important, there are other qualitative factors that make a business attractive to buyers. Here are what we consider to be the top 8 value drivers:
- Increasing Revenue & Profits
- Growth Potential
- Clean Financials
- Solid Management Team
- Quality Products & Services
- Strong Sales & Marketing
- Low Risk
- Systems & Processes
Buyers pay more for quality companies. If you work diligently to grow and improve your business, buyers will be willing to pay more for it. Read more about Maximizing the Value of Your Business Before Selling.
There’s often a gap between what a seller thinks their business is worth and what a buyer thinks it is worth. You need to shore up any weaknesses that might devalue your business in the eyes of a buyer. Buyers are looking to the future for a return on investment and growth potential. You want to be prepared with your story about the future of the business, emphasizing the business’s growth potential rather than dwelling on past performance. With some creativity and foresight, put yourself in a buyer’s shoes: Why should someone want to buy your business?
The art is in positioning your business in the best possible light, finding the right buyer, and negotiating the best possible deal. You can prepare to evaluate and respond to offers and navigate the marketplace by getting educated – learn how the deal process works so you can avoid the most common pitfalls and missteps, understand what your business is worth, and manage the emotions that go along with this process.
We want you want to have choices and be able to pick the buyer that will be best for the company and for you in the long run.
Business Transition Academy has the tools, resources, and guidance you need to get started. Our proven six-step planning process and training programs provide you with the roadmap you need to exit your business on your own terms. Download our FREE book and gain access to more FREE business owner education resources, including:
- Introductory Course – How to Plan a Successful Business Exit
- BTA Owner Readiness Assessment
- Success Stories
- Real-Life Lessons Learned by Owners
We will show you the steps you need to take to plan for a successful business sale or ownership transfer.