Who will buy my business
If you are thinking of selling your business, the first thing you need to do is identify who your potential buyers are. Then you can target your advertising towards them, saving time and money, and maximising your chances for a quick sale at the right price.
If you’re a business owner then chances are you know sales. So, think like a salesperson and take an objective view of your business. What are its strengths and what are its weaknesses? What does it offer a new owner?
There are many reasons why people buy businesses. It could be for better work-life balance, financial security or more autonomy. In order to target the right group of potential buyers, you’ll have to think about your business from their perspective, so you can target your marketing efforts effectively.
Here are some of the possibilities on who will buy your business:
The first-time business buyer
The first-time business buyer will be looking for a robust business with room for improvement. They’ll want to know that the numbers stack up and that they can stamp their own mark on the business. They will also need assurance that the business can survive without you. To entice first-time business buyers, you may want to consider a handover period to help them learn the ropes. One word of caution though, beware of dreamers. These are the ones who are dissatisfied in their employment or corporate day job and looking for a way out. They may not be entirely prepared for a quick, straightforward sale.
It’s quite common for a current employee to buy their employer’s business. They know the business, what works, what doesn’t and where the opportunities are. An employee willing to buy the business would likely have the passion to help the business grow and be excited by the opportunity. It’s also a good option in terms of business continuity. Just make sure they are fully aware of the realities of business ownership – not all followers make great leaders.
The business partner
This is also great option for business continuity. If you have a business partner, they should be the first person you approach. They know the business intimately and the transition would be smooth. They may not even need finance if there is enough equity in the business, which means the sales process would be quick and straightforward.
The investor or investor group
Investors or investor groups generally buy businesses to add to a portfolio. This means they would usually be more hands off and less interested in the lifestyle benefits of your business. What they will be interested in are the financials, the market and growth opportunities. Your books will need to be in good order. In this instance, there may be an opportunity for you to stay on as manager if you wished to.
The family member
This is also great option if you are keen to keep a hand in the business in some form or other. If you sell to a member of your family, for example, your child, you could provide a comprehensive handover and even stay on as a paid or unpaid consultant. For many business owners, this is their exit strategy and a way to provide for future generations.
The competitor or vendor
This group should be approached with caution from the perspective of confidentiality. However buying your business could be a great growth option for them. Manage ths process carefully; if the wrong competitor or supplier gets wind of your intentions, it could damage your business.
Now target those who will buy your business. Once you’ve identified your prospective buyers, the best way to target them and maximise your sale prospects is to ensure your marketing plan has the right mix to reach this group, thereby ensuring the best value for your marketing dollar. This might entail engaging professionals, making it easier for you to continue managing your business throughout the marketing and business sale process.
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