1. Visualize your buyer. Is it more likely to be a man or a woman? How old is your likely buyer? An individual, partners, or an established business? What does your buyer currently do for a living? First timers or experienced entrepreneurs? How much money do they have? What media do they use? Nailing down the answers to these questions will help you target your sales efforts.
2. What qualifications are required of your buyer? Does your business or industry require or strongly prefer particular certifications? Knowing your criteria can help you eliminate some candidates and point you in the right direction to others. True Story
3. Brainstorm sources of likely buyers. Your buyer could be someone you know, someone in your industry, a supplier, colleague, competitor, employee or friend.
4. Pretend you are looking for a business to buy, one just like yours. Where would you look?
5. Prepare your sales materials and advertising with your buyer in mind.
6. Advertising that your business is for sale can have repercussions to your business. Customers may shy away from a business that is actively being sold. You want to get the word out to realistic potential buyers only. Find that balance between being discreet and doing what you need to do.
7. When you advertise, check into the free stuff first. Craigs List and other internet resources offer great value for free or next to nothing. Look carefully into these resources.
8. People still read the paper. Don’t forget the power of putting an ad in an appropriate paper or magazine. The way your ad looks is critical to attracting the right buyer at the price you want.
9. Look into creative sources for potential buyers: schools that graduate students qualified to run your business; companies who have recently laid off employees and are helping to place them; churches and civic organizations that train people for jobs, the Chamber of Commerce and other business associations.
10. Take every lead seriously. Appearances can be deceiving, and your buyer might be the person you’d least expect to fill your shoes.