Even though every business sale is a little different, the steps involved are similar. It’s all about getting the business ready and making sure that you can present the best face of your business to the public for all to see. After all, you’re not going to garner top dollar for your sale if you aren’t putting your best impression out there. Here are the general steps that should be on your to-do list. They can be broken down into smaller steps along the way, too, so that they’re easier to accomplish.
Step One: Get Your Business in Order
This is the part where you take the time to gather the financial documents, get information on the state of the business, and generate a profit and loss statement. You’ll also want to read up on selling a business and make sure that you know what you’re getting into so that you can have a head start on the process.
Step Two: Figure Out Your Value
Value is different from profit. In fact, it’s usually an exponential of your profit and assets, as determined by your business size and other factors. Valuing a business is often the most complicated part for people who are new to the market, but it is a critical step. This is how you ensure that you get an accurate sale price and aren’t asking too much (or too little) when you put your business on the market.
There is no finite or foolproof solution here—you just have to take the time to calculate it the best that you can. Of course, it’s always going to suit your best interests to allow someone with financial expertise to help you value your business to put it on the market.
Step Three: Find the People You Need
There are all kinds of resources to help you sell a business. The best option, for many, is to choose a broker, first, and foremost, to help point you in the direction of the rest of the people who can help you. You may want a lawyer on hand, or an accountant, or another financial professional. That’s up to you, but they are available. When selling your business, if you work in a niche market, you’ll have to look a little harder to find the help, but it’s out there.
Step Four: Market the Business
Marketing is everything. In today’s highly competitive online world, it’s important to make sure that you can reach out to the right people at the right time so that they can help you get rid of your business for the best price. Social media, email marketing, and other modern tools are great to use. You can reach a whole new audience of people and give your business a better chance to flourish, no matter what.
Step Five: Choose Your Buyer
The negotiation process could take several months, or even up to a year or longer, so you’ll want to make sure that you are prepared for the process. If you’re lucky, the right buyer will come along sooner than later. However, you do need to make sure that you’re getting the right buyer and not just the first one that comes along.
The right buyer will have a genuine interest in your business and what it offers. They will ask questions and be excited about the opportunity. They will also share with you their plans and visions. If you want to help yourself even more, you can choose pre-qualified buyers to ensure that you aren’t wasting time and resources on people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer.