Marketing a business for sale

Marketing a business for sale If one of your objectives is to get your best price, then you need to consider who your likely buyer may be and have marketing 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, status, lifestyle, hours? You will need to 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. 

How do I sell my small business? Firstly define your buyer and their needs in your marketing plan. Then determine how to best market your business for sale so you reach this group, looking for ways to get the best value for your marketing dollars by targeting your most likely buyers. In today's market you will require a multi pronged approach in order to draw out your best prospects.

When marketing your business for sale;

1. Decide whether or not 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 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 will they 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 encapsulate your business, setting out its main features, benefits and financials in a summary form. Memorandums are both persuasive and informative and incorporate the buyer's 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) - 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. So how do you advertise a business for sale? Two or three mismanaged ads in poorly targeted or low traffic mediums won’t cut it. Free or poorly rated and/or mixed message mediums, or using representatives with little credibility seldom makes the grade and are more likely to waste your time and money, and attract the wrong people. Invest well, as businesses can take time 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:

- Websites: what are the main sites, are they well established business for sale specific with good traffic, buyers, history and credentials?
- Databases: are they current, well qualified and suitable? How many prospective buyers will get to see your business?
- Word of mouth: Business Brokers or Agents, are they experienced, active, well connected and respected operators?

This may sound complicated, but isn't. It's about getting you 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, of 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 when marketing your business for sale.

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By Richard O'Brien - nzbizbuysell

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