1) Repeat after me: Repeat business adds value to my business.
Acquirers like nothing more in a business than customers who keep coming back for more. And if they have to come back to buy from you because they’re contracted to, all the better.
2) You probably think you’re irreplaceable in your business. I know I am.
But, guess what? Buyers don’t like that. They want to acquire businesses that are not reliant on the owner. Or anyone else, for that matter. If you get a good, solid team of people around you, not only will you be able to take a step back occasionally but when it comes to exiting your business, it makes it easier to sell because, quite frankly, the new owners won’t want you around for any longer than necessary, no matter how much of a genius you are. Even I wasn’t wanted when I sold my own businesses. Unbelievable.
3) Turn your business into a cash machine.
Buyers like cash-generative businesses and the more cash in the business, the less they’ll have to fund the working cap themselves once you’re paid off. So, make sure your invoicing is swift and your cash collection efficient and firm.
4) Make your business like Ben Nevis: scalable.
Explore ways you can scale up your business model – could it be franchised, for example?
Are there synergistic bolt-on products and services you could add to your current offering? Could you expand into new territories? Do you own IP that could be licensed? Could you appoint agents or distributors?
A scalable business is a saleable business.
5) Make friends with everyone.
You never know who your buyer might be, or where they come from.
Food for thought – I’ve sold four businesses of my own and the buyers were as follows:
a) A client
b) A competitor
c) A licensee
d) A synergistic business.
So, it pays to keep in with as many people in business as possible because they may well come back and buy you out.
A serial entrepreneur, John has launched and developed several companies. John covers Birmingham South, Wolverhampton & West Midlands – read more about John here.