Your Business Exit Strategy: Selling Your Business


Your Business Exit Strategy: Selling Your Business

Today, there’s more than one way of selling your business, and several options to identify and advertise to the right buyer.

As always, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, which will be impacted by the speed at which you’re looking to sell, how particular you are about the buyer, and how much involvement you’d like to have in the process (or, how little).

In this instalment of our series on ‘Your Business Exit Strategy, we’re covering the steps to getting connected with the right buyer for you, and what comes next when you’re ready to look at offers.

Selling Your Business

Advertising – With a Business Broker or Independent?

It’s essential to get eyes on the business you’re selling, and to nicely package up what your business has to offer a buyer. Marketing your business can happen through both traditional and more casual avenues, and your selection will be dependent on the type of sale process you’re looking for.

Many sellers will engage a qualified business broker or real estate agent, and this route gives you peace of mind that you’re getting the best guidance and advice across the sale. Additionally, a business broker has the advantage of being able to keep your sale details confidential, engage only qualified buyers who are ready to make a purchase, covering the advertising and marketing in a targeted way, and handle those specific details and paperwork with ease, saving you time.

Just as you can sell your home without the aid of a real estate agent, you can also go the route of an independent seller, but you’ll want to be confident that you can manage all the moving pieces of a business, and also have enough objectivity to not get in the way of a good sale (especially if this business has been part of your life for many years).

For those who choose to sell independently, you’ll likely want to engage in digital marketing to advertise your business on the major platforms, and this means getting your imagery and copy just right, so it garners interest and pulls in potential buyers.

You may like to cast your net closer to home, reaching out to family, friends or even employees to see if there’s a buyer that would be interested in purchasing the business. The advantage here is feeling a sense of familiarity and understanding of the business and your investment in it to date.

Even your competitor businesses may turn out to be promising buyers, looking to snap up other players in the market and leverage the work you’ve done.

Understanding The Buyer’s Motivation

For some sellers, the buyer will need to tick certain boxes in order to have their offer considered – you may be particularly specific about what you’d like to see done with the business once it’s changed hands.

Consider these questions and work out how important each answer is to you, and what it would mean for the business long term:

How does the buyer plan to run the business post-sale? Are they planning a major change to the operations or an overhaul of the brand?

Does the buyer have any intention to sell off parts of the business?

What impact will the sale have on the current employees?

If you feel very personally connected to the business (especially relevant if this is a family business now being considered to be sold to an external buyer), remember to keep a clear head when looking at future plans that a buyer may have – a qualified business broker will allow you to keep a healthy distance from the sale while staying completely informed, and this can be critical in getting you the best outcome for selling your business.

Reviewing Offers 

The right offer for you will be the one that fits best (or most closely) with the vision you have for your exit strategy – and ideally, you will have more than one offer to review after the business has been on the market.

You, or and your business broker, will receive letters of intent to begin with, which creates a base for the discussions prior to a formal offer, and these will often lay out terms and conditions, purchase structure and timeline, and most importantly, the price that the prospective buyer is putting on the table.

Take your time reviewing the price, purchase structure and also the proposed payment structure, as well as the due diligence period, any obligations that will be asked of you across the sale transition period, and any other details which will vary from buyer to buyer.

Once you’ve narrowed down the right buyer and you’re keen to move forward and sell your business to them, you’ll begin to engage directly with that chosen purchaser, and in the next blog in our series, we’ll cover this process in more detail.