The million dollar question; where can I post my business for sale listing that will get in front of the most qualified buyers while at the same time costing me as little as possible? The newspapers no longer work, and along with them fall most other forms of print including direct mail, coupon books, and magazines. Television and radio are too cost prohibitive, a single ad alone is going to cost you in excess of 5K minimum. Craigslist is free but produces poor results; you may end up getting a lot of low ball offers from people just wasting time while they wait for the bell to ring at work so that they can go home but not too much more. Then there are the typical websites, such as Bizbuysell, to consider as they are the industry leaders that get the most amount of traffic. Because there is no use fighting the monster, unless you enjoy wasting money, it is best to learn what is available and how to best utilize these services without getting charged an arm and a leg.
What about social media
There have been some very intelligent people out there that have tried and failed to crack that code. Yes, social media is something that almost everyone uses now but as far as being used as a vehicle to facilitate business sales, the jury is still out on that one. There are dedicated networks such as Linkedin that are focused on business professionals, but even that has gotten a little bit spammy lately. Advertising on any of these platforms is risky in this business because the closing ratios are so low in the first place that it makes it hard to hold the course as every minute you are shelling out more and more cash for your newest listing to get a few additional likes. Unless you are simply attempting to build some brand awareness it is recommended to steer clear of this type of advertising unless you are a serious professional that is capable of targeting specific demographics that are likely to convert.
Other pay per click advertising
You have a ton of other options available, most of which involve some other sort of PPC system. Again, exercise extreme caution as there have been many instances in which a newcomer to this type of medium forgot to limit their settings and next thing you know they are advertising to India about their local roofing company and spending thousands of dollars for nothing. But, if you are able to figure this out, then you are going to be far ahead of the game. There are a lot of different little options that you are going to need to pay attention to, including time of day, bidding strategy, and keyword selection. Beyond all of that, you will have the option to use the display network and even to use re-targeting lists for people that have already visited your websites. All of these can be very effective techniques if properly utilized. The question is really how much time do you want to spend learning everything and how much are you willing to spend as you inevitably make mistakes along the way?
Keeping it simple, but paying handsomely for it
This leads us back to the big dogs, the industry titans, to advertise your business with. Initially it does not seem that bad, the fees are manageable and look like they offer a fair amount of services with the base package. From there you pay and then wait for the action to start happening. You get a few odd leads, but that can be expected. No system is fool proof and Nigerian con artist are getting smarter by the day. But then one month flies by, and another, and another without any real prospects making offers to buy your business. So you then decided it is time to upgrade with one of the many expensive, but guaranteed to be effective, packages that are available. All of a sudden leads start pouring in but you can not handle all of them. There are some people that you forget to call back and none of them are getting the attention they really deserve. In the end, you are left with a lot of frustrated people, some of which may have actually been interested in purchasing your business if treated properly. You get the picture; advertising a business for sale is not an easy endeavor. With business taking 9 months on average to sell, make sure that you calculate the monthly fees times this multiple in order to get just a rough idea of what the expense is truly going to be. Factor in your time spent, and vehicle / fuel costs etc., and you will soon see exactly why business brokers exist. There are many clients that at first think the fee is unreasonable, too high to even consider. But, with all things considered, brokers make a whole lot less net profit then one would think. By just dividing the fee alone out over that 9 month period, you will quickly see how justified it really is charging that amount to clients.