Finding your dream buyer with full price will go similarly to the metaphor of finding your soul mate. When you’re searching for your soul mate there are three stages to the process: Dating, Engagement and Marriage. These steps are comparable when selling your business:
- Dating: Play the field, feel out potential buyers and don’t rush into any commitments too eagerly. It becomes very evident that you’re an inexperienced seller if you are overzealous about the sale and can block you off from the perfect potential ‘suitor’. During this period it’s also best if you as the business owner do some ‘soul searching’ in the form of a business valuation.
- Engagement: At this point you are committed to a buyer and they are committed to you. However, without due diligence a deal could still fall through. Once contracts are drawn up, due diligence handled and boundaries established, you’re hopefully ready for the next step.
- Marriage: In this stage of the sales journey it’s time to negotiate final contract terms, including an offer and sign your business over to the proud new owner. If you’re not staying involved with the business after the sale, now is the time to sign any assets over to yourself that were not purchased.
Here’s the key to this first phase: play the field. Don’t rush into any commitments. Nothing signals inexperience quite like an overzealous seller, so leave yourself open to multiple suitors. Savvy entrepreneurs know to how to play the game, so start by listing your business for sale and be patient. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
The beginning of the sales journey is filled with uncertainty but, much like the dating scene, that’s part of the excitement. But, don’t let your naivety undercut the value of your business.
You’re ready to put yourself out there, but how do you hook the buyer of your dreams? To understand the process of buyer courtship, let’s frame this journey within a context anybody can understand: a classic love story.
Sound familiar? Well, you might go as far as to say that finding a perfect buyer is like finding a soulmate. Sure, it’s not a true 1:1 comparison, but there are undeniable similarities between connecting with your buyer and connecting with your betrothed.
Finding a buyer for your small business can be intimidating. Putting your business on the market inevitably stirs anxious energy, and feelings of vulnerability can prevent entrepreneurs from seeking out deals. After all, when selling the business you spent years developing, you want to be sure that you’re selling to the one.