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Selling a Business – Tips to Advertise a Business For Sale Successfully

Anticipate a buyer search criteria and categorise your business accordingly

It is important to file your business for sale advertisement in such a way that it grabs the attention of the maximum number of relevant business buyers. The more types you file your business under, the better your exposure will be.

If you are selling a pub that serves food, for instance, it is worth filing the business under not just ‘pubs’, but also ‘pubs and hotel property’, ‘restaurants’, ‘taverns’ and ‘bars’, as your likely purchasers will be searching for a business for sale under all or some of these categories.

It is also worth including key information such as the postcode, street or town where your business is located in your description text, so that any business buyer using the keyword search facility will find your business in their search results.

Honest figures will help your business to sell

In order to sell your business successfully, it is vital that you give your potential buyers a sensible indication of the kind of living they can expect to earn from the business. New business buyers aren’t just relocating from a street or village that they are familiar with; in most cases they are also walking away from the financial security of a monthly paycheck to become their own employers. This constitutes a daunting step into the unknown for a lot of people, and the more data you can reassure them with in your advertisement, the better your response levels will be.

You can include the turnover, gross profit and/or net profit figures on a weekly, monthly or daily basis with an advertisement, and it’s advisable to include at least one of these figures as a bare minimum if you can. Other figures that are worth mentioning in your advertisement are footfall / shop frontage (if it is a retail business), traffic levels (if it is an online business), demographics on the local economy (if it is a service-led business) and lease length / rent review dates (if it is a commercial property).

Your figures may be highly confidential, in which case it is perfectly acceptable to write ‘turnover and profit figures available on request’; The most important thing to do is to acknowledge the figures in your advertisement; if you don’t, it can look suspicious or unprofessional, and it can stop potential buyers from taking you seriously and enquiring about your business for sale.

Pricing your business for sale :

To get your business to sell quickly, it is important to price your business sensibly. An overly ambitious asking price might feel like a safe place to negotiate down from, but if you price your business too high, your potential buyers might not come across your advertisement in their search, as it will fall outside of their price range. If you price the business at a value lower than you are prepared to accept, you could find yourself inundated with buyers who you are not prepared to sell to, wasting your time and theirs. Remember that the price at which your business is sold is ultimately dictated by your acceptance – or refusal – of an offer; at the initial stages, your priority is to generate as much valid interest as you possibly can in your business for sale.

Take a look at comparable businesses for sale on websites listing businesses for sale and pick an asking price that is in line with what looks to be current market values. If you are unsure of what your business is worth, you can get a free business valuation from business agents or websites advertising businesses for sale.

Choose business-related photos that help your business to sell

Your existing promotional material may be remarkably effective at bringing customers through your doors, but you are dealing with a very different target market when you are selling a business. The business itself is now the product, and your ‘customers’ in this case will be looking for signs of prosperity, security and success. For instance, a photo taken inside your premises at peak times showing a busy shop floor will give potential purchasers more incentive to enquire than a beautifully-crafted logo on its own. Try to take photos that show off the passing trade and ‘bustle’ of your business.

Choose the right place to advertise your business for sale

Advertising your business for sale online is a great way to get maximum exposure. The price to advertise online is also less expensive than on print newspapers and magazines.

Online Business Opportunity – Creating a Business Plan

An online business opportunity requires a sophisticated, detailed business plan which will be the road map for your business future. A business plan not only provides direction but also allows you to take into consideration the various benefits and pitfalls of your online business opportunity before you actually start.

A business plan is valuable, as it enables the entrepreneur to identify and build specific policies for the different sections of the business. It will also help you to familiarize yourself with the priorities, perspectives and wisdom that are essential to start a business.

If you will require bank financing to start your business, your lender will require a copy of your business plan and will scrutinize it carefully before they will even consider lending you any startup funds. In short, having a sound business plan is the most essential ingredient in laying the foundation for a new business and turning it into a reality.

Factors to Consider When Creating a Business Plan

Plan Your Source of Funds

Estimate as close as possible, the cost of starting your business and determine if your personal available funds are sufficient to not only hand all your start up expenses but that you also have enough left over for working capital to carry you through the first year. If not, you’ll need to do the research necessary in order to find the best financing option available that fits your personal risk tolerance level.

You need to format and organize your business plans for easy understanding. The overriding goal is to structure your plan so that it meets your overall business objectives in a logical and easily understandable manner. You need to be aware that it is the road map to reach your business goals. If your plan does not meet your Lenders criteria you will risk not getting your startup business funded.

The business plan should be straightforward and believable. Proper presentation of the business plan needs to instill confidence in your Lenders mind in order to secure a loan. You also need to convince your prospective Lender of your business concept in order to develop his respect and confidence.

Market Research and Analysis

You need to thoroughly research your product or service to enable you to fully understand who your targeted customers’ are and what their potential requirements are. Simply doing a Google or Yahoo search will help you to determine a lot of valuable information to help you in this arena.

Thorough research will help you determine the price for your product or service that you wish to sell, the level of competition in the market and possibly a solution to potential risks that you might encounter with your new business.

A thorough market analysis will help you select a business niche more effectively and will help you to decide on a marketing strategy that will offer you the best chance for success for your online business opportunity.

Marketing Plan

Your business plan needs to include a marketing plan on how you will draw customers into your business. Are your customers local, national, or world wide? Depending upon where they are located, you will need to have a plan on how best to reach them. Local customers could be reached by newspaper ads, word of mouth, referrals and etc. If they are national or worldwide customers, then you may need to consider trade magazines, national publications, internet ads and other similar marketing avenues. Needless to say, you will need to keep your advertising budget restrictions in mind no matter which advertising method you choose to follow.

Risk Analysis

As part of your business plan, you will need to analyze your business risks to determine in advance potential liability problems that could arise. As part of your analysis, you will need to determine what type of insurance you will need to protect yourself in case your product or service is deemed to have caused injury or loss to a customer. What about auto insurance, office insurance, health insurance and other related insurances? You will need to develop an aggressive management plan to mitigate or avoid as much risk as possible.

Executive Summary: After having completed all the segments of your business plan, you need to write an executive summary highlighting the essential components of your plan including your intended return of investment and your contingency plans for repayment of financing funds, if any were borrowed. This will be essential for your Lenders’ review in their decision to grant you funding.

To achieve any level of success in your business, you must take the first step of creating a business plan. Once the plan is finalized and approved by your Lender and funding has been secured, your next responsibility will be to execute the plan and to manage it on a daily bases in order to insure that you are moving in the direction of succeed in your online business opportunity.

How to Build a ‘Branded’ Business – Part 2

In Part 1 of our series I outlined all the steps necessary to building your own ‘Branded’ business. In doing so, I discussed why it is important to create a branded business, rather than one that is not properly and heavily branded. I also gave you the sense that anything is possible with the right plan and thinking, and that building your own business can be one of the most rewarding challenges in your life.

The first step, and for many the most crucial, in building your own ‘branded’ business is: Developing and Understanding the Business Mindset. This mindset is not only crucial to ensure you have all the necessary arsenal, belief and expectations to see your business succeed in the long run, it is vital in helping you understand if you are ready to go into business in the first place, and to ensure you choose the right one to build or enter into.

Most entrepreneurs and business people I have come across who are just starting out and contemplating their own business, usually have a vision of themselves and how they want to be seen and respected. They know all the things they would like to acquire with the vast amounts of wealth they plan to build, they know who they want to be, and they dream about and envision the way they would like people to admire and respect them.

They then have the solution as well to meeting all these dreams and objectives and fulfilling their emotional and tangible needs: going on their own and building their own business.

As I have mentioned before, going into business simply to get wealthy is not the answer for happiness, and more often than not is a recipe for business failure. By going this route you will simply be doing everything for money and in doing so you will be compromised at some point in the future. Either your ambition will die in the business you have undertaken, or you will play by the wrong set of ‘immoral’ rules to achieve your objectives and monetary gains, and in the process you will end up using and abusing people. This is not a higher objective. This is a recipe for failure.

Key Areas To Address

In ‘Developing and Understanding the Business Mindset’, the 3 areas you must explore and which must be addressed properly are:

1) Why do I want to build a Branded business?
2) What will it take for me to succeed?
3) How Long will It take for me to be successful?

Why Do I Want To Build A Branded Business?

We touched on the first area already, but the key question you must ask yourself is: Why do I want to build a ‘branded’ business? If you are looking for ‘get-rich quick’ schemes or long-term wealth only, I have news for you, in the end your chances for success are slim.

The most successful businesses in any industry, time and time again, are built on love, passion and interest. Yes, we can all make some quick money for some period of time doing things we don’t like, but to build a proper ‘branded’ business that can go the distance and give you all the ‘tangible’ and ‘intangible’ rewards of a world class operation, you will need other attributes. You are going to have the heart, passion and love to see you through all the rough and turbulent times you will face when you first start building.

When the chips are down, when things do not go according to your business plan, when finance becomes a problem, and you are losing money month after month and are up to your eyeballs in cash flow problems, it is only your rich vision that will pull you through. Only love, passion and belief will give you the strength and desire to continue. Starting a business is very, very hard and if you are only doing things for money, chances are high you will give up too early and steer your ship in a different direction of newer or perceived ‘easier’ money.

If you are building a business to create something you love, in an area, market or industry you love, you have one part of this mindset on track. If you love helping and developing people like I do, then playing the stock market isn’t your business solution. You need to apply your passions and skills (and acquire new ones if necessary) into your business, and in this case rather get into recruiting or become a Human Resources officer for a company that interests you.

In the end, choose the business you want to build based on your interests, what you want to achieve personally, and for the greater good of those all around you. Yes, you need to make money, and the more the better, but this musn’t be your sole objective. You must empower your employees, develop and up-lift the community around you, grow and respect your business suppliers, and than your business will flourish as it will have a forceful positive energy working for it.

What Will It Take For Me To Succeed?

Please understand this now: building a successful business may be the hardest thing you ever do. Building a successful business in most cases is harder, more time consuming and emotionally and physically draining then getting married or gaining a university degree. In many cases, the rewards are greater and can last a lifetime.

This is a very important point because starting a business is not about ‘filling a gap’ and killing some time in your life until you get things sorted out. It will take everything you have and more, and you must only go into business if you can absolutely guarantee you can give all of yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. Don’t start a business because you graduated college and you and your buddies need something to do until you get real jobs; this will not work and I can promise you the business will defeat you and rob you of your confidence and your bucks.

Also, if you can avoid starting a business on your ‘spare time’, I would highly recommend it. This does not mean you can’t start a successful business after hours, you can, but only in certain areas and through certain mediums. It is ideal to be giving your business full commitment, and if you are working another job or are working full-time elsewhere, chances are high that you will take short-cuts when building your business and you won’t have the necessary arsenal of belief, energy and positive thinking to see it through.

You will come across maybe the most difficult and challenging period of your life, so it is wise to prepare yourself for a serious battle. Understand you will take blow after blow from your business and will have to employ as much positive thinking as possible to help you navigate through all the self-doubt and negative circumstances you will come across. Most success stories will tell you that so many people wanted to give up so many times, and only pushing on and on, after heartache and hard work, did they find their pot of gold.

Napoleon Hill, in his award winning and timeless classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’, says most people quit on their business right at the end of their troubles, right when they are closest to success and only ‘three feet from gold’. Buy this book, it is essential for helping you with the right business mindset and preaches page after page about positive thinking and persistence: do not give up.

You must also prepare yourself for a great deal of fear and anxiety. Most of everyone who knows you, or who is around you and knows of you, will believe you will not succeed and won’t take much interest in your new undertaking. Their lazy and ‘can’t do’ attitude exposes their fear and their own belief that they cannot succeed. They will pass all these fears and anxieties onto you.

You do not want these people around you, but they will be, and their lack of interest in your business and negativity in some cases may take its toll on you and give you self-doubt. Prepare yourself mentally for your business and those around you to not only offer you negative tension, but expect them to work against you in some capacity.

Finally, for you to succeed you will have to have the right experience and information. You must make sure that you have some sort of experience, skills or training in the business you are about to enter. If you have a passion to enter the restaurant business, make sure you have some skills or you acquire some first before entering. Some people believe that if you have been successful in one business, you will be successful in another in another industry – I am not one of those people.

It is essential to have the experience and information necessary to succeed first. When I worked for Unilever marketing consumer goods and I moved working from one market to another, I still spent weeks learning about the new market and category I was about to compete in.

Although I was still in an FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) Food category, and moved from one Lipton brand to another (Lipton Side Dishes to Hellmann’s mayonnaise), I still had to spend weeks studying all the necessary and relevant market and brand data to help me succeed. This information included: market size and growth trends, key players and growth trends, key purchasing factors in the category, key research on consumer behaviors and opposition brands, and all past marketing and business strategies and their results to name a few.

How Long Will It Take Me To Succeed?

The TIME factor is the final key area you must address in developing a winning business mindset. Building a business does not happen overnight so it is imperative you also understand it takes a long time to build a business and profitability.

So many go into business with visions of grandeur and a mad rush of customers running into and frequenting their business once they open their doors. Unless you are spending a fortune on an established business or franchise, chances are you will have to spend time and build your business day-by-day.

Why this is so important to understand and get right in your mind upfront, is because it will help you financially plan your business and temper your expectations so you avoid early disappointment. We have a saying that applies to new businesses:

‘In the first year, you work for your business’ (you are losing money)
‘In the 2nd year, the business works for itself’ (you are breaking-even)
‘In the 3rd year, the business works for you.’ (you are turning a profit)

If you are going to start to build a business, make sure you have enough cash flow and plan to have enough money in the bank for at least the first year while you lose money. You generally dont make any kind of profit in your first year, and sometimes your second year so you actually need to plan for negative profitability and understand you will lose money for many months and burn cash before you turn a profit.

Understanding that it will take a lot of time to make money and to start succeeding, will also help you to avoid disappointment in your beginning stages when you are working very hard, doing everything right and you still aren’t seeing results. You must believe it will take time but everything will come right, sell this to yourself, and you will succeed. i will outline everything you need to do to build a successful ‘branded’ business in the rest of our series.

For now, just remind yourself that all success comes from our mind and the thought we can. Prepare yourself mentally and develop the right business mindset and expectations and you are well on your way to achieving success.