It’s never an easy decision to sell your business. With all the time and energy you have invested, it is difficult to hand over the relationships you have built with your customers and employees. For many reasons, you need to make sure that the next owner will take good care of what you have built.
Selling a business in a very emotional time, so it’s important to take extra steps to help you find that perfect buyer. In most cases, sellers would rather negotiate a little on price than to hand over the keys to their company to somebody who isn’t going to ask in the best interest of current employees and customers.
Because of this, it’s important to filter through potential buyers to find the ones who will be the best fit for your company, in addition to being qualified to purchase the business. When you are looking for a broker, you will need to find one who is capable of sorting through the tire kickers to bring only qualified buyers to the table.
However, in order to find the right buyer for your company, your broker is going to have to bring a lot of attention from potentials. In order to do this, they will have to market through many avenues, and bring multiple potential buyers to the table. When you are interviewing brokers, ask how they intend to bringing buyers to the table, and what marketing avenues they use. Then ask them to send you copies of all of the marketing materials that they make, and links to everywhere that they publish the business for sale.
The biggest complaint that we receive from sellers that have used another broker is that they signed a listing agreement, and then never heard from their agent again. Unfortunately, this is all too common in the industry.
When you think you have finally found the right buyer, ask them questions about the aspects that are important to you. Do they intend on keeping current employees? Do they have any ideas about how to introduce themselves to current customers? Would they be offering any current customer incentives to help ease the transition into new ownership? Anything that is really important to you in a new buyer, just ask.
Ultimately, selling your business is going to be a mixture of preparation, a qualified broker, good timing, and a little bit of luck.