10 Tips to Help Get Started
In my career, nothing comes close to the difficulty – and the satisfacation, of selling my own businesses. You can do it too.
1. Brainstorm a list of assets. Think about your location, physical space and fixtures, customer base, marketing infrastructure, employees, methods and procedures, web presence, and revenue streams. Write it all down and get it organized. This is your product.
2. Be able to make your pitch in a few sentences, and have a one-page sheet that communicates the message. It needs to look and sound good.
3. Create an owner’s manual for your business including a mission statement, daily operations, vendor contacts, and everything else the new owner will need to know on his first day of business.
This document will be an excellent sales piece, and it will clarify your thinking
as you prepare to sell.
4. Get your financial paper work in order. Make the story crystal clear.
5. Work through your emotional angst about selling before you contact any potential buyers.
6. Visualize your potential buyers and advertise carefully. The whole world doesn’t need to know your business is for sale, only realistic potential buyers.
7. Price your business appropriately. Do some homework. Most industries have a formula for calculating the price of a business, and you can find out about yours by doing research online, calling like businesses that are for sale, and using the expertise you've gleaned through experience.
8. Clean up, fix up, paint up. Make your business look inviting. Separate the entity you are selling from any entangling alliances. For example, if you have more than one location and are selling only one, make sure your computer systems, website, leases, and other joint properties have clear boundaries. If you store your widget collection in the back closet of your business, get it out of there. If a particular asset or piece of equipment is not going to be included with your sale, remove it from the buyer's view.
9. Be prepared to spend some time and money marketing your business for sale. A Craig’s List ad probably isn’t enough to attract a buyer.
10. Have a plan in place to transition the new owner in and the old owner, you, out.
Assume you are in a coma and your goofy brother-in-law has to take over for you this afternoon. This manual will be his guide.