Owners selling a business online often believe that because they've run their companies successfully, they'll have no trouble advertising on the Internet, finding a good buyer and closing a deal. That's not necessarily the case.
Many smart business owners have difficulty completing a successful sale because they make one or more of six common mistakes.
This is what to avoid:
1. Providing too little information: Most entrepreneurs offering their companies for sale know it's important to provide enough information so prospective buyers can determine if the offering is of interest. But there is a danger in providing too little details about the business. The best strategy is to explain enough to potential buyers so they can get most of the facts about the business being sold without going onto the next ad because your listing didn't have enough information to keep them interested.
2. Being hard to reach: A surprisingly common problem is not making it easy for an interested person to get a hold of the owner posting his business for sale ad on the Internet. Buyers won't try to reach you forever. They'll get impatient with the continued back and forth voice mail messages used in an effort to communicate, and will go on to investigate other offerings. Offer a couple of different ways to contact you. Give several phone numbers (including your mobile), and a valid email address that you check frequently. Some services like BizBen offer a text alert service when someone has inquired about the business you are selling - a great way to get right back to the interested buyer.
3. Revealing the company's identity: For most people engaged in selling a business online, it's very important that certain individuals, such as employees, customers and vendors, don't find out exactly which company is being offered. It's best that the seller set up a phone number and email address that have been established solely for people interested in responding to the offering.
4. Failing to distinguish between real buyers and people who will waste the seller's time. That's one of the biggest problems experienced by owners of small and mid-sized businesses looking for someone to buy them out. They lose time, energy and momentum working with people who haven't the interest or the money to complete a deal. A time waster is anyone unwilling to provide a personal financial statement, resume, and someone unwilling to start the introduction process by signing a non-disclosure business. For every ten responses to a business for sale ad, usually only one or two of the people are realistic potential buyers. Those are the ones to focus on, while saying "thanks, but no thanks" to the others.
5. Not having important information about the company ready: And once a qualified and serious buyer is identified it's critical that needed information is immediately available. That will include financial data--balance sheets and P & L statements going back three to five years--an asset list, copy of equipment and premises leases and related documents. One of the easiest ways to lose a good buyer is not being prepared to provide her the information needed.
6. Neglect to rely on professionals when appropriate: While it isn't necessary to have an attorney or accountant available when a business is being introduced to prospects, it's often a mistake not to call on them when their services are needed. Sellers don't always understand that the best way to communicate with the buyer's due diligence experts is by having the company accountant available to answer their questions. And it's almost always a mistake for a seller to enter into a sales contract or attempt complying with bulk sales regulations without assistance from a lawyer and escrow holder.
Selling a business online can be the right strategy for an owner ready to retire. But it's critical that he avoid some of the common seller mistakes if he wants to be successful. Ask me about our BizBen ProSell Program that covers other critical tips when selling a California business and provides exposure to the right business buyers to get a business sold!
About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder & Senior Advisor (ProBuy & ProSell Programs) at BizBen.com (8000+ California businesses for sale, 500 new & refreshed postings/posts daily). He advises business buyers, small business owners/sellers, business brokers, agents, investors, and advisors). Reach him direct at 925-785-3118 to discuss strategies regarding buying, selling, (or financing a puchase of) California businesses.
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Julieanna Wakileh, Business Broker: PreSchool Center Specialist
I have 30 years of experience, working, founding, owning, operating, consulting, and selling preschools. I'm very knowledgeable with procedures that are required for selling preschools. My practice, knowledge and education is ideal for the sale of preschool centers. 925-451-2884 Cell/Text.
|Peter Siegel MBA, BizBen Founder, ProBuy, ProSell, ProIntermediary Programs
Founder Of BizBen.com (since 1994). I am the Lead Advisor for the ProSell, ProBuy, & ProIntermediary Programs. I consult daily with buyers, sellers, and brokers daily about buying and selling California small to mid-sized businesses. Call 925-785-3118.
|Chris Seaman, Business Broker: Southern California
Founded in 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has accelerated to become one of the most successful Business Sales Organizations in the world. Our team of agents have gone through extensive training to become experts in the field of business brokerage. Call Chris at 858-578-4111 for more info.
|Jim Thomas: Broker Specialist, Consultant - Fitness & Gym Industry
Jim Thomas is the well-known founder and president of Fitness Management USA, Inc., a management consulting and brokerage firm specializing in the fitness, health club and sports industry. He has over 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes.
|Mani Singh CBB, M&AMI, Business Broker, Southern California
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
|Ryan Clark, Business Broker: Southern California
The Veld Group provides a refreshing approach to Business Brokerage, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Consulting and Valuations. From Your Street to Wall Street, we cater to Main Street Businesses as well as more complex Strategic Firms and Start-Ups. Phone Ryan, Business Broker at 310-652-8353.
|Harry Sidhu, CBB, Broker: SF Bay Area, Central Valley, SAC Region
Assisting both sellers and buyers of businesses - dealing mainly with Liquor Stores, Grocery Markets, Gas Stations, Smoke Shops, Restaurant Related, Retail Related, Service Related. Serving SF Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento area. Call Harry Sidhu, CBB for assistance at 510-366-6130.
|Joe Ranieri, Business Broker: Orange, LA County Areas
Having owned retail/restaurant businesses for over 20 years, my interest turned to selling businesses rather than owning them. I specialize in LA & Orange County restaurants, fast food independents and chains, bars, & liquor stores. Call 714-292-5448 Cell/Text.
|Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews|
|Liquor License Assistance Consultant - San Francisco Bay Area - Jim Saxton
Jim Saxton - 20 years experience of local governmental requirements, such as Police Departments, Zoning / Planning Departments, ABC District Offices, my company Liquor Licenses of SF Bay Area is very qualified to resolve all of your concerns during the liquor license transfer process. 925-787-0770.
|Buying A California Gas Station: Top 5 Risks For Gas Station Business Buyers
Those seeking to buy gas station business opportunities need to know about five factors that can make this purchase particularly risky compared to other businesses. Peter Siegel, MBA (BizBen ProBuy Program & Business Purchase Financing Expert) at 925-785-3118 discusses this topic about gas stations.
|Buying A Restaurant Can Be Challenging: 3 Key Tips For Restaurant Buyers
People always need to eat; there should be plenty of business. Some restaurant buyers think there is prestige to owning a popular eating establishment. But it isn't an easy business purchase. Peter Siegel, MBA (BizBen Founder, ProBuy & ProSell Program Director at 925-785-3118) reviews this topic.
|FREE Webinar: Buying Or Selling San Francisco Restaurants - Best Practices
This informative 40 minute interview/webinar about buying & selling restaurants in San Francisco with restaurant broker specialist Cheryl Maloney is a real eye opener for restaurant buyers and sellers. Cheryl gives great advice to both buyers and sellers from her years of experience in the industry.
|Specialty Restaurant Broker Discusses Liquor Licenses & Working With The ABC
What you will read in this BizBen blog post you will probably not find in any manual or set of instructions provided by the ABC (liquor licenses in California). This blog post by Jeff Back (SF Bay Area Restaurant Broker Specialist) at 925-736-8200 discusses this topic of liquor licenses in detail.
|Tips From A Restaurant Broker - Check A Restaurant For Karma Before You Buy
Jeff Back (925-736-8200), a SF Bay Area broker specialist who specializes in selling restaurants discusses what he looks for when sizing up a potential restaurant for sale. Do the restaurants you're thinking of purchasing have good Karma? See Jeff's insights into this topic on restaurant karma.
|Buying A Restaurant With Financing: 5 Options For Restaurant Business Buyers
In this Discussion, Peter Siegel MBA (Business Purchase Financing Advisor at 925-785-3118) discusses financing of purchasing a small to mid-sized restaurant business (with or without real estate). When it comes to financing a restaurant, potential restaurant buyers have many options to choose from.
|Buying A Restaurant: 5 Myths Restaurant Buyers Should Know About
Jeff Back, Restaurant Broker & Consultant in the SF Bay area discusses myths about buying restaurant small businesses. It's not what you have been told. He includes 5 myths of the most frequently sited principles for success that are simply myths when examined over decades of his experience.