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You might be ready to retire and pass your company on to the next entrepreneur. You could be ready to move on to the next step in your career. Maybe your business is profitable, and you want to cash in on your hard work. No matter what your reason is for wanting to sell your business, the key to making selling a profitable move is finding the right buyer for a business.

 In this post, we’re sharing some tips for finding the right buyer for a business before selling.

Know Your Worth

Before having a conversation with a potential buyer, start by finding out exactly what your business is worth to be sure that you know what you’re looking for. Reputable organizations like the American Society of Appraisers can provide you with valuable information about your business valuation. An appraiser will use information from your financial reports to help give you an idea of what you can set as your asking price when you’re ready to sell.

Be Presentable

When you know what you have to offer to a potential buyer, you’ll need to find a way to present your business as an attractive option that has value. To do that, you want to show a buyer what they can look forward to if they invest in the business. The International Business Brokers Association says a company’s value is based on a variety of factors including sales history, earnings, and market outlook. However, it’s also important to remember that variables like a company’s branding and reputation will have an impact as well. When preparing to sell your business, be sure the impression you give is a positive one.

Know Your Buyers

Just like there are many reasons for business owners to sell a business, there are many types of buyers who will have their own unique reasons for wanting to buy a business. These are a few types of buyers you’ll be likely to encounter throughout the selling process.

  • Strategic Buyers – Those buyers who are interested in having a place in your industry and see the potential of owning your company as part of their long-term plan. These buyers could include current competitors who are interested in buying as a way to grow their company while eliminating their own competition.
  • Financial Buyers – The category of buyers who want to acquire companies to increase their own cash flow. These investors may buy a company while keeping the current owner on to manage the business or could take over and make changes before selling the company for a profit later.
  • Operator Buyers – This category includes those buyers who want to own and operate the company, making this business their career. Without the experience of buying and selling companies, this buyer could be more of a risk, but can also offer the feeling of handing the business over to an individual that will carry on business as usual.

Find Your Buyers

If you’re running a successful business, it’s likely that there are buyers who will be interested. finding the right buyer for a business is up to the business owner. Spreading the word online is a fast and effective way to let your network know that you’re interested in potentially selling your business.

There are websites, like BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com, that are dedicated to connecting buyers and sellers. Publications, both online and in print, that are geared specifically for your industry are great for posting advertisements about your business for sale.

Finally, you can hire a business broker. By hiring an individual with experience and knowledge in buying and selling businesses, you can be sure that you’re finding the right potential buyers and weeding out those that may not be serious, may not have the resources necessary, or may not be the best fit. It will also take the pressure off of you, as you continue to manage the business in the meantime.

Know When You’re Ready

There aren’t necessarily any hard and fast rules to let business owners know when it’s the right time to sell or keep a business. It can take months, even close to a year on average, to sell a business. A buyer will submit an offer and you’ll have the opportunity to look at the numbers, look at the buyer, revise the terms and conditions, and get to a place where you feel comfortable with the deal. Take your time, consult those with knowledge of the industry, look at all potential options, and in the end, you’ll know that you’ve made the best decision.

Selling your business is a major decision and one that any business owner shouldn’t take lightly. Using the tips above, you can help to prepare yourself and your business for the possibility of a buyer.

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Jess Barnes | Jess has a passion for helping small business owners build their brands and connect with their customers. She writes about money, tech, and marketing for blogs and businesses.