If you want to sell your business, you have to get it ready. That means taking the time to gather the paperwork, get your financial information and documents in order, and have your business valued so that you know how much to ask for the sale. You’ll need to find the right people to help you along the way, too because they will be another invaluable resource. Business brokers and financial planners will guide you through the process and ensure that your transaction goes smoothly.
What does “gather the paperwork” mean, though? In addition to a profit and loss statement, you’ll want to make sure that you have any relevant documents, which will usually be presented as an executive summary.
The Executive Summary
This is where you will want to provide the details of your business. You can include financial information, a fact sheet, security reports, media mentions and awards, a list of employees, and specific programs, tools, software, and other resources that the business requires. You could even include an FAQ section for quick reference and other legacy documentation (revenue documents, expense and profit reports, appraisals, etc.).
If you don’t have the basics down, you can’t move forward. Not only that but if you can’t provide these kinds of documents to your leads, they probably won’t be interested because they can’t get the information that they need.
It was briefly mentioned in step one to get the right people to help you, but it deserves a little more attention. Consider whether you need a broker to handle the sale, a financial planner or accountant to help with the finances, or anyone else who can assist you in making the sale easier, and easier to understand along the way. Too often, people get in a hurry or try to be cheap in selling a business and want to do it alone. Other times, they just don’t think that they need help.
Either way, you’re wrong. Unless you happen to be a professional broker and/or accountant yourself, you can’t sell a business on your own and expect the best outcome. You might pull it off, but it won’t be for the best price or because you did your due diligence. Anyone who sells a business and makes a significant profit without having to hire people is probably just lucky.
It’s not that it’s difficult to sell a business. There are just many steps involved and the professionals out there are part of your toolkit—their services exist for a reason. You’d hire a realtor to sell your residence, so why wouldn’t you hire a broker to help you sell your business?
The people you hire are an investment, not an expense.
Now that you have the details in order and have the right tools at the ready, you can list your business for sale and start marketing to attract potential buyers. Remember, this is the digital age. You can’t just post in traditional business classified sections or limited spaces because people are looking in new places and want more flexibility and access to the things they do online.
Specifically, you need to develop an omnichannel marketing strategy that includes social media as a marketing tool because it’s where many people go to find opportunities, connect with others, and make new networking connections. If you work with a broker that’s familiar with the current climate and trends, their suggestions will always include social media and other modern marketing alternatives to get your listing seen.
Your broker will help you close the deal once you’ve chosen the best offer, and then you’ll be able to move on to the next stage of your life. It’s a process, and it’s one with steps for a reason– you can tweak the details and make it fit the needs of your business sale, but the basics are pretty standard. Make sure that you have a plan and put that plan in writing so that you can cover all your bases as you go. Up next, we’ll discuss all the common mistakes and what you need to be mindful of when selling your business.