Strategies to Sell Your Business

Selling your business may be one of the most difficult things you do as an entrepreneur. Only about a quarter of businesses sell within 6 months of ...

Selling your business may be one of the most difficult things you do as an entrepreneur. Only about a quarter of businesses sell within 6 months of going on the market, and many never sell at all. You don’t have to be among their ranks. A few strategies can increase the chances of a successful sale, shortening the timeline of this often stressful process. 

Make it Easy to Work With You

Your business is just one piece of the puzzle. Buyers are also evaluating you. They don’t want to work with someone who is nasty and unpleasant. This doesn’t mean you have to bend to their every whim, but you should be friendly and likable. After all, you will have to work together for months, and maybe even years. Moreover, the attitude you display to the buyer reveals a lot about your business’s culture. These strategies make working with you easier: 

  • Be friendly and amiable. Don’t resist small talk. 
  • Be honest. Buyers want to work with trustworthy people, not people whom they constantly must second guess. 
  • Be well-informed. Don’t make buyers do a lot of extra work that could have been prevented if you only did your own homework. 

Know How to Talk About Your Business

It’s not enough to just talk about what your business does. You have to be prepared to discuss what makes it special. Don’t give away confidential information, but do be mindful that progressively more details can entice a buyer. 

Establish Expectations

Set clear expectations about what you will share with the buyer and on what timeline. You might share early in the process which things you will share later, and at what stage. Don’t wait until the buyer asks, or it will seem like you're being withholding. 

Be Creative

Most buyers want to know as much about the business as possible. That can be a problem when you have competitive or trade secrets to protect. So instead of giving away this information, get creative about what you share an dhow. Ask buyers what they’re hoping to see, then find ways to give them that information without revealing important trade secrets. 

Prioritize What Matters

Most sellers are fixated on selling price, but high multiples and large sale prices are not the only factor to consider. Ultimately, value comes from what you negotiate with the buyer. You can negotiate many aspects of the sell before you arrive at the final price, and that can affect how much cash you earn just as much as the total price. 

Don’t let unrealistic expectations derail the sale and cause you to ignore important deal terms. 

Know That Speed is Always a Good Strategy 

The longer a sale takes, the more momentum it stands to lose. You may feel exhausted as you move toward selling your business, but now is not the time to move slowly. You need to get ready ahead of time. That means guarding your intellectual property, and identifying specific strategies to expedite the sale. Doing so may mean the difference between a successful sale and one that never happens at all.

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