Deciding to sell a business is no easy task. Along with financial considerations, there are also emotional and lifestyle factors involved for both parties. Sellers like you are essentially letting go of a project that took years to perfect, while buyers face the uncertain burden of continuing the tradition of a successful and profitable operation.
Luckily, there are ways to help make the business selling process easier and more effective. Here’s how to get started:
1) Collect Information
When you’re walking away from a lifelong venture that’s dear to your heart, it’s natural that you’d want to ensure your legacy will remain intact. Rather than being nosy or overbearing, asking specific questions of potential buyers will help you understand their motivations and plans for the future.
Questions to ask include:
- What are the buyer’s motivations for wanting to purchase a business?
- What changes does the buyer plan to make to business operations?
- Does the buyer have any previous business experience?
While potential buyers will have full discretion whether to answer these questions or provide details of their intentions, it’s important that both parties feel comfortable with all aspects of the transaction. When sellers and buyers find mutual trust and respect, the business selling process becomes smooth and efficient.
2) Offer Information
In most cases, buyers are largely interested in the financial aspects of the business they’re considering, including profit statements, customer data, and more. Still, explaining the history and specifics of the business can create both interest and emotional investment with potential buyers.
The buyer will likely have specific questions regarding various aspects of the business. As you provide this requested information, don’t be afraid to also share stories surrounding the early days of your business, as well as notable events that occurred under your watchful eye. Rather than a history lesson, this insight should be presented in such a way that the buyer is aware of the special and impactful nature of the business they’re poised to purchase.
Above all, honesty remains the best policy. Never sugar-coat facts or pull the wool over the eyes of potential buyers in an attempt to quickly transfer business ownership.
3) Reach Out for Assistance
As more factors are involved in any business interaction, the likelihood of errors and omissions dramatically increases. That’s why it’s important to work with a qualified and certified business intermediary (CBI).
Contrary to popular belief, CBIs don’t represent either party. Instead, they help facilitate a well-organized and successful sale through a non-complicated system of research and determinations, including fair-market valuation.
While you have unique motivations and requirements for the sale of your business, potential buyers have several choices and considerations to weigh when it comes to deciding which business to purchase. ■