You’ve spent years building a successful business, and now you’re ready to take a step back and look for a prospective buyer, but where do you start? From strategic buyers and financial buyers to family members and more, many types of buyers may be interested in purchasing your business depending on its size and financial performance. To help lead you through the sale of your business, Sunbelt has supplied a list of the top 5 ways to find a buyer.
If you’re thinking about retiring from your business or moving on to a new investment opportunity, review the five most popular methods for finding a business buyer.
By far, the easiest and most efficient way to find a potential buyer is working with a business broker to list your company for sale. Business brokers have access to a large network of buyers and sellers and can get your listing in front of qualified buyers. Not only can they help you market your business listing and identify potential buyers, but they can also walk you step-by-step through the time-consuming sales process. Some common tasks they help sellers with include completing business valuations, setting asking prices, pre-qualifying buyers, setting up meetings, managing offers, guiding you through negotiations, writing counteroffers, and handling contracts.
Many sellers hire a business broker to help find a new owner because it enables them to focus on the day-to-day operations of their businesses while a dedicated professional manages the business sale. Additionally, sellers that use a business broker often sell their businesses faster and for a higher price than those that sell independently.
To find a buyer on your own, you might consider listing your business for sale on a website like BizBuySell.com or BizQuest.com. For a monthly fee, you can list your business on one of these marketplaces in hopes of attracting interest from website visitors. More expensive packages on these sites even enable you to get your listing to appear at the top of marketplace search results and be displayed larger than basic listings.
As you begin receiving inquiries through these websites, it will be your responsibility to ensure buyers are qualified, field questions, set up meetings, and manage all aspects of the sale. Many small business owners find managing the sale themselves overwhelming while simultaneously running the business; however, they may benefit from saving on commission fees.
Private equity groups are another type of buyer you might consider, but only if you are okay with delaying retirement for a while. Most private equity groups prefer to keep owner-operators on to lead growth and run the company for a given period. In fact, the company’s performance may be tied to your earnouts, so consider whether you’re okay with your financial incentives riding on performance.
Another common way to find a buyer is by asking business partners to purchase your portion of the company. If you’re a sole proprietor, think about your most dedicated employees and determine whether one of them might be the right fit for your business. Selling to an employee is a great way to ensure that someone who truly knows the business keeps it operating successfully after your exit. The tricky part of selling to an employee is keeping the sale confidential until the deal closes.
Finally, if you own a family business, consider selling to a family member that works with you. Often, owners of family businesses feel most satisfied when keeping the company in the family because it can help ensure the family’s wealth continues for generations to come. If you go this route, be sure to draft a sales agreement that clearly outlines your business valuation, purchase price, payment schedule, and how payment will be handled. In most family business successions, payment is received over many years through the company’s cash flow. Alternatively, you may choose to be kept on the payroll for a given period. Regardless of the details you work out with your family, be sure to have everything in writing.
To learn more about attracting a prospective buyer for your business and planning your exit strategy, contact a Sunbelt Business Brokers office near you today! At Sunbelt, we help sellers like you not only find buyers but find the right buyers for the best prices.