Until maybe just a few years ago, selling your business was considered a taboo. Traditions defined that the son must follow the footsteps of his father, and join the family business. But with changing trends in the mentality of people, the business environment, and the constant need to create something bigger and better, the stigma is vanishing quickly, and selling business is no longer looked down upon.
Being new to the idea of business selling, sellers often make some basic mistakes, forcing them to sell the business at a lot less than what it is worth, or in worst cases, shut it down without getting any return on investment. Traditionally sellers will try with their own contacts (limited reach and confidentiality issues) and talk to people that they want to sell their business. This often provides limited reach and also it creates situation where the word soon gets out that business is for sale, and it can greatly decrease employee morale, and might provide advantages to competitors to bash the seller company, and gravely affects the future scope too.
Other factors: Sellers generally wait too long to SELL, timing of selling is equally important. Sellers also generally lack any proper exit strategy; good paper work and clean financials. All of these are mistakes that can affect business selling. With everything turning up on the Internet, it wasn’t long before selling business made its way to the there, and this is where buying and selling businesses found a new approach. It also helps overcome the drawbacks of manual selling. Internet provides what print advertisement (newspaper or journals) or word of mouth cannot provide: the secrecy/privacy, the reach, the specific target audience, and all of it at low cost.
Going through Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool, it was found that there were more than three lakh monthly searches to buy or sell business with common search phrases like ‘business for sale’, ‘business for sale ‘, and ‘businesses for sale’ getting monthly searches between 10,000-60,000. That turns up to about 10,000 business buying and selling searches per day! The statistics make it perfectly clear that there is no shortage to the people interested in selling or buying businesses. Social media plays a huge role in establishing network and connections of people interested in buying or selling a business, and these connections form the database of buyers and seller that can be later used to find interested parties quickly.
Putting up advertisements on the Internet is similar to putting up advertisements in a newspaper or journal: it needs to be visible. A small ad will be missed by most. But in newspapers or journals, the more visible the ad, the steeper its price gets. This is again where Internet shows a considerable advantage with features like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO plays a huge role in making specific ads visible to more likely buyers or sellers, and that leads to quicker selling of business at a great price.
This entire approach of putting your business on sale online has helped sell businesses much faster, and at a much better price than was previously thought. But again just by going online will not solve the conundrum for SME business sellers, they need proper guidance to navigate through this maze of business selling at profit. One has to be careful what where and how things are put online. Talk to companies who can help SELL your business, but before you decide, check out how they do it, what is their network, how they would promote your business for sale, how much they will charge, any hidden charges, what support will you get etc…