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How To Advertise A Business For Sale Without Revealing Too Much


How To Advertise A Business For Sale

Sidney decided to advertise a business for sale that he had owned several years. And he thought it would be important to give as much information in the ad as possible, so that only people interested in exactly what was being offered a busy convenience store--would respond. He was trying to achieve the perfect match. That would save everyone's time. But he learned, after people dropped by his store during business hours asking for more details, that he had included too much identifying information.

Ruining the confidentiality about your sale is only one problem with providing too many details in the business for sale ad/posting. Another is that one or more of the facts stated in the advertisement might discourage or confuse prospective buyers.
 
Here are a few guidelines that can be followed to make sure that just the right amount of information is included to attract interest, but not so much that it works against the objectives of the advertiser.
 
1. Location is important to many buyers and probably should be included, using a very general description, in most ads offering a business for sale. People who may be potential buyers probably want to know whether the manufacturing company is in a new and modern industrial park or an old factory setting near downtown. The ad for a retail business in California should let readers know if the company is in a suburban shopping mall or a part of the central business district. One strategy to give important but non-revealing information, is to mention the neighborhood in a large city--sporting goods store in western part of Los Angeles; or just name the county, in the event the business can be identified simply with information about its city liquor store in San Bernardino County.

2. Contact information should not, of course, be easily associated with the business. One seller didn't know how callers responding to his furniture store for sale ad/posting were able to determine the identity of the company. The ad included the number for his home phone, rather than the store's phone number. Clever buyers simply used a reverse directory to discover his name using the phone number, then conducted an online search using his name and the term "furniture store". It's a good idea to set up a separate email or phone number just for the purpose of receiving responses to the ad.

3. Stating, "Complete information will be provided to qualified buyers," alerts readers of the ad to the fact that they'll have to supply their information to the seller, if they want to know details about the company for sale. Serious buyers ready to satisfy the seller's confidentiality requirements will respond to the ad expecting to agree to a non-disclosure document, and to provide requested personal information to the seller. Those who are more curious than serious will probably not respond to the advertisement.

4. Detailed information in ads may or may not make the phone ring. Revealing that a cafe for sale generates $5,000 in monthly earnings to the owner may result in responses from those who want to make that amount of money. That's too much information, however, to attract the buyer who needs to generate $7,000 to $8,000 per month in earnings. Yet that buyer's response to the ad would be welcomed, because the seller would have the chance to explain the potential is there for an active owner to quickly boost earnings by 50%.
 
Whether or not to provide earnings figures, rent costs, years remaining on the lease, asking price, annual growth rate and so forth, is up to the seller. He or she should understand that while certain facts included in the posting might provoke responses, that information is likely to discourage others from calling or emailing the seller to express and interest and request more information.

One possible strategy is to run the ad with information for a couple of weeks, then change it by reducing the detail before advertising again.

Peter Siegel, MBAAbout The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder & Senior Advisor (ProBuy & ProSell Programs) at BizBen.com (established 1994, 8000+ CA businesses for sale, 500 new & refreshed postings/posts daily). Get expert advise when placing an ad to sell a California business. Reach him at 925-785-3118 to discuss strategies regarding buying, selling, (or financing a puchase of) California businesses.


Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, BizBen News, How To Sell A Business


Comments Regarding This Blog Post


Good points, Peter. Also remember if you take a picture of the exterior to either use Paint program or Photoshop to take out any address numbers on the side of the building and any distinctive names, which could be traced back to the business. Adding pictures adds a lot of value to the listing. If the seller is willing to carry a note, that's also important to specify in the add, because it will attract more buyers. Even though you are selling a deli, it's nice to include that the buyer "can do" other food types, and to include those style of cuisines, again attracts more buyers.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
AJ Rana - Business Broker, San Francisco Bay Area

Professionals who understand the importance of world class business brokerage service and the value it can create. Specializing in assisting sellers and buyers with retail stores, restaurants, hospitality & lodging, manufacturing operations, distribution companies, e-commerce and service businesses.

Joe Ranieri, Business Broker, Orange & LA County Areas

Having owned retail/restaurant businesses for over 20 years, my interest turned to listing and selling businesses rather than owning them. I specialize tend to specialize in Orange County high volume restaurants, fast food independents and chains, bars and liquor stores. Call 714-292-5448.

Steve Zimmerman: Restaurant Broker Specialist

Steve founded Restaurant Realty in 1996. He has personally sold/leased over 900 restaurants, bars & clubs, & completed over 3000 valuations. The author of "Restaurant Dealmaker - An Insider's Trade Secrets For Buying a Restaurant, Bar or Club" available on Amazon. Reach Steve direct at 415-945-9701.

Mani Singh, Business Broker, Riverside, San Bernardino Counties

I have successfully represented clients sell & acquire multitude of businesses ranging from Gas Stations, Liquor Stores, Markets, Super Markets, Smoke Shops, Postal Stores, Restaurants, General Retail, Auto and Construction related. Phone me for assistance with selling or buying at 951-296-7646 Cell

Taj Randhawa, Business Broker Specialist - Gas Stations, Liquor Stores

If you are interested buying or selling a gas station, liquor store feel free to phone me for a consultation. My vast experience & specialization in gas stations & liquor stores helps me in serving my clients with full confidence, trust & sincerity. Serving Central Valley, SF Bay Area. 559-259-4247.

Jeff Back, Broker: Restaurant Specialist - SF Bay Area

J. Back & Associates Restaurant Real Estate was founded in 1988 as the first bay area real estate company to specialize exclusively in restaurant real estate. I am the past President of Charley Browns restaurants and have been involved in the restaurant business for over 35 years. 925-736-8200.

Lee Petsas, Business Broker - Orange, San Diego Counties, Inland Empire

UBI Business Brokers has been successfully selling businesses in Southern California since 1965. Our Agents have over 100 years of experience in selling small to medium size businesses throughout Southern California. We service Orange County, Inland Empire, San Diego. Phone Lee at 714-363-0440.

Jeff Sacher, Business Broker - North Bay Restaurant, Retail Specialist

Jeff is a leader in business brokering in the North Bay. Since joining Santa Rosa Business And Commercial in 1999 he has assisted Buyers and Sellers in over 200 business sales and acquisitions. Jeff provides other services for his clients as well. Reach Jeff and his team at 707-888-4972.


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