6 Tips to Find the Right Buyer for Your Business
When it’s time to sell your business, you’ve got a lot of work to do in order to ensure you find the right buyer. The right buyer will look slightly different for everyone, but in general, it will be someone who has the finances and knows how to run a business.
With all the potential buyers you’ll encounter, how can you tell which one to choose? How can you identify the right buyer for your business? Keep reading to pick up some tips.
1. Use a brokerage service
The best way to find the right buyer for your business is to use a brokerage service. When you go through a broker in your industry, they’ll have the experience required to vet potential buyers; they’ll know exactly what to look for.
For example, FedEx route brokers pre-qualify people who are interested in buying routes and keep them in a database. If you happen to be selling your FedEx route, a broker will have access to that database and can find a good buyer who can afford to buy your business.
Using a broker is ideal because it eliminates the stress of having to search for and vet buyers without knowing what to look for. When you don’t have the experience of selling multiple businesses, it’s hard to spot red flags and it’s also difficult to navigate the sale process in terms of legal obligations and maintaining confidentiality. These are important things to keep in mind.
2. Look at the potential buyer’s history
A potential buyer might be a first-time business owner, but if not, look at their history to see how successful their previous businesses have been. It’s entirely possible that their previous businesses may have been unsuccessful due to no fault of their own. However, it’s critical to take a look.
If a potential buyer has a strong history of building and running a successful business, that’s a good sign. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the right buyer for your business, but it means if they are, they’ll likely keep the business running well.
3. Require a confidentiality agreement
A serious professional ready to buy will understand the need for a confidentiality agreement. Someone who is merely curious won’t be committed enough to sign such an agreement. So, if someone refuses to sign an NDA, take that as a sign that they aren’t serious and move on to the next potential buyer.
4. Clean up your business’ appearance
First impressions are everything and good buyers will be turned off by red flags and other things that make your business appear sloppy, disorganized, or junky.
Before even listing your business for sale, clean up anything that will make your business appear less-than ideal to potential buyers. For example, if you’re selling a business with a fleet of vehicles, get rid of all your broken-down cars and random parts laying around. If you’ve got a physical store, make sure it’s clean, neat, and organized.
Potential buyers will judge your business by the way it looks on the outside, in the physical world, no matter how much revenue you generate.
5. Screen potential buyers thoroughly
It’s critical to screen all potential buyers thoroughly before even discussing the finer details about your business. Start the screening process early because you’re going to attract a lot of people who are merely curious and these people will waste your time.
Those who aren’t serious won’t want to go through the screening process, so you can eliminate non-serious buyers right out the gate.
6. Get every agreement in writing
Are you selling a family business that has become a staple in your community? If so, people will be sad to see you leave, but they’ll be even sadder if the new business owner doesn’t carry on in your footsteps.
If it’s important to you that the new business owner continues to run the business in specific ways, put it in the contract to get it in writing. Depending on your requirements, this type of a situation might be a deal-breaker for some, but not everyone. Some people understand that following in your footsteps will actually help them to be successful.
Don’t hold out forever
If you don’t find the perfect buyer right away, try not to hold out too long or you’ll never sell your business. If you’re getting bites, but you’re turning everyone down, you might be too picky. You can’t hold out forever. Sometimes the perfect buyer is the person who has the money.