Most Businesses Can’t Find a Buyer! 5 Proven Steps to Sell your Business


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By Steve Williams CExP™, CMMA

Do you want to sell your business and are wondering how to make sure you find a buyer? According to Forbes Magazine, only about 20 percent to 30 percent of businesses that go to market end up selling. Selling a business is a significant decision that requires careful planning and preparation. By following these five proven steps, you can get your business in top shape for sale, attract potential buyers, and secure the best possible deal. Let’s dive in!

Sell your Business

Conduct a Comprehensive Business Valuation:

Before putting your business on the market, it’s crucial to understand its true value. A comprehensive business valuation performed by a professional appraiser will help you determine a realistic asking price. Factors such as revenue, profit margins, customer base, intellectual property, and market potential will be considered to arrive at a fair market value. A well-documented valuation will instill confidence in potential buyers and increase their trust in your business.

Enhance Financial Transparency:

Buyers are naturally cautious when it comes to investing in a business. To alleviate their concerns and build trust, ensure that your financial records are transparent and up-to-date. Organize all financial statements, tax returns, and important business documents in a clear and accessible manner. Being open about your financials will demonstrate your business’s stability and minimize potential obstacles during negotiations. Also, buyers look for an accredited third-party review or audit, this gives them even more confidence your financials are reliable.

Strengthen Your Management Team:

A well-structured and competent management team is an invaluable asset when selling a business. Buyers are more likely to be interested if they see that the business can continue to operate successfully without the previous owner’s direct involvement. Invest in your current team’s professional development, or consider hiring key individuals who can add expertise and credibility to your business. A solid management team can instill confidence in potential buyers and enhance the appeal of your business.

Sell Your Business

Boost Sales and Marketing Efforts:

A business with proven, strong sales and marketing strategies is inherently more appealing to buyers. Focus on increasing sales and expanding your customer base in the months leading up to the sale. Showcase the potential for growth and highlight any recent successes or milestones achieved by your business. A comprehensive marketing plan and a well-developed online presence can also play a crucial role in attracting potential buyers and generating interest.

Clean Up Your Business Operations:

Prospective buyers will scrutinize every aspect of your business operations. Before listing your business for sale, take the time to clean up any loose ends and resolve any outstanding legal, tax, or compliance issues. Streamline processes, update policies and procedures, and ensure that all licenses and permits are current. A well-organized and compliant business will be more attractive to buyers and minimize any potential post-sale liabilities.

Sell Your Business – Final Thoughts:

Selling your business is an intricate process that requires careful planning and execution. By following these five proven strategies, you can significantly enhance your business’s value, attract potential buyers, and secure a successful sale. Remember to conduct a thorough business valuation, enhance financial transparency, strengthen your management team, clean up your operations, and boost your sales and marketing efforts.

With proper preparation, you can sell your business as it will be in the best position to attract the right buyers and achieve the optimal sale price. Selling a business is a significant milestone, and with the right approach, you can ensure a smooth and rewarding transition for both you and the new owner.

Are you ready to take the next step and sell your business? Implement these strategies, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale. Good luck!

Steve Williams CExP™, CMAA

is a Partner at Incentica Business Plans in Calgary. He is a certified exit planner and mergers & acquisitions advisor with 30 years of senior management and executive experience. Steve has written over 130 business plans and succession/exit plans for some of the biggest best, including Fortune 500 companies. Steve is a Business School grad and Harvard educated.

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