No one knows your business better than you do. When it comes to selling, this can be both an advantage and a hindrance.
If you decide to sell your company without any professional help, you must be pragmatic and put aside any sentimental attachment you have towards the business.
Value your business
Determining a realistic price for your business is one of the initial steps in the selling process. Many owners will hire a valuation professional or broker to do this. If you are valuing and selling a business alone, you should research which valuation method best suits your proposition.
A traditional formula to valuing a business is known as ‘the multiplier’, which is the net profit of your business, times by a multiple of the sector, which equals to the valuation. Your accountant should be able to tell you what other companies in the same sector use as the multiple.
There are some valuation methods which involve sizing up the two sides of your tangible and intangible assets to determine the value; this is a good method if the business is asset rich. Examples of intangible assets could be customer relationships, patents, social media profiles and licensing agreements.
Get your paperwork in order
If you are naturally organised and you have kept up-to-date with your administration and filing, then organising your paperwork for prospective buyers should be a relatively easy task. You should have at least three years of trading accounts ready for buyers to review; the more detail you can provide the better.
If your paperwork is a pile of unorganised chaos, this task may be more time-consuming. It is important to include all your profit and turnover figures, and make sure they are accurate. Missing or inaccurate records could put off interested buyers.
You will also need to have your company documents to hand. These documents could include a certificate of limited company incorporation, details of business rates, property lease agreements, employment contracts and any other relevant agreements, policies or contracts.
Enhance your online brand
Any savvy entrepreneur interested in buying your business will undoubtedly Google your company name. You should make sure that your online brand is looking its best to attract more interest, especially if you’re a customer-facing business.
Your branding should be consistent, and all the information listed about the business must be current and correct. If there are any negative reviews from customers, you should publicly reply to them; this shows that you are actively trying to resolve complaints or issues. It’s important for your business to have a credible profile on reviewing websites, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, too.
Although you’re close to exiting the business, don’t drop the ball. It’s important to keep posting on your social media pages and continue to interact with your customers. Don’t, however, use social media to constantly promote your products and services. Rather make sure your tone is personable to reflect the personality behind your business.
Promote your USP
Whether you’re selling a bar, online jewellery store or gas station there are always going to be other businesses for sale in the same sector as you and, perhaps,in the same location.
Many businesses have a unique selling point.It could be the ethos behind your company – for example, you could run an ethically-sourced jewellery store – or may be your business targets a unique audience.
Promoting the business’s USP may be the reason why an interested party chooses to buy your company rather than a similar-priced business in the same sector.
Reach out to buyers
Using a broker who specialises in the sector relevant to your business means you can tap into a network of prospective buyers that the agent deals with, which could lead to more offers and a better bargaining tool when closing the deal.
You may have a contact in the sector or an employee who has shown an interest in buying the business. If this is the case, you can sell privately without the need of marketing.
There are also many websites where you can list your business proposition which will help you reach out to millions of buyers worldwide. There are a lot of hosting platforms so it’s best to do your research and choose a site that charges a one-off fee with no commission or hidden costs.