Marketing your business for sale in Australia

If one of your objectives is to get your best price when listing your business for sale, then you need to consider who your likely buyer may be and have strategies to target this group. There are many reasons people choose to buy a business. When selling your business - put yourself in the buyer's shoes and find out what they will be looking for – these factors will need to be incorporated in your advertising, if not by you then by your Business Broker.

Who is your business most likely to appeal to? What will they be looking for? How much are they likely to be willing to spend? What’s important to them; the numbers, lifestyle, status, hours? Spell out the value of the key attributes contained in your business in terms that are important to your buyer! After all, at the end of the day your business is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

Define your buyer and their needs in your marketing plan. Determine how to best reach this group, looking for ways to get the best value for your marketing dollars by targeting your most likely buyers. Today’s market will require you to have a multi-pronged approach in order to draw out your best prospects.

1. Decide whether to engage the services of a Business Broker - it is a good idea to visit several reputable Business Brokers to gain a complete picture of the services available. Find a broker that has a current and qualified database, who understands the market and your industry, and knows how to reach the potential buyers of your business. Ask how many prospective buyers are on their database, how much and where they will allocate their marketing budget for your business, and which newspapers and internet sites they will use. As with any professional, check out their history and reputation. It is also good idea to ask the broker about recent sales and for the names of satisfied clients you can contact.

2. Have an Information Memorandum (Sales Brochure) – this document needs to set out the main features, benefits and financials of your business in a summary form. Memorandums are both informative and persuasive, and incorporate the buyers’ needs to assist in capturing their interest. You’re not just telling the guy next door! You need to manage the process, tell the right people, and promote your opportunity wisely and widely through the internet, print and potentially via direct mail to your potential buyers - after all, you want your best prospects and a sale.

3. Have a Plan (Marketing strategy for selling) – this needs to determine how best to create interest, and attract the right buyers. It should also include an advertising schedule, identifying the timing and types of advertising mediums to be used to best expose your business.

4. Target your Advertising. Two or three mismanaged ads in poorly targeted or low traffic mediums won’t cut it, and are more likely to waste your time, money, and attract the wrong people. Invest well, as businesses can take sometime to sell - influencing factors include price, type, ease of finance, market conditions and your marketing efforts. Spend time ensuring your ad copy is sharp. If you want your best price and buyer, then target your advertising using proven mediums and tools run by reputable operators:

- Newspapers or print: will they be mainstream readership, local, state or Australian wide, with featured or teaser ads?
- Internet: are they business specific sites with good traffic, buyers, history and credentials? Business specific sites with good resources attract more serious business and franchise buyers.
- Databases: are they current, qualified and suitable? How many prospective buyers will get to see your business? Business Brokers and Business for Sale listing sites often have buyer databases.
- Word of mouth: Brokers or Agents, are they experienced, active, well connected and respected operators?

5. Spread the Word. Get the word out, you can’t sell a secret. Use a Business Broker or market your business for sale yourself. Not surprisingly, most buyers use the internet to research available businesses for sale using sites like – most will charge a monthly set fee to advertise a business for sale. You may also elect to approach competitors or suppliers that may have an interest in your business.

This may sound complicated, but isn't. It's about getting your thinking straight so you get to maximise your prospects while managing your marketing spend. Selling your business will be one of the most important things you’ll do - you get a single chance to put a price on it, and market possibly years of effort - and once you sign the sales documents, it’s over.

If you make an effort to understand the steps in selling and who your likely buyer may be, then careful planning - with a little help from professionals, will get you well on the way towards striking a deal that’s right for you.

List your AU business for sale here.

By Richard O'Brien - aubizbuysell

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