This is a guest post by Marla DiCarlo, business consultant and CEO of Raincatcher.
Selling your business is no easy feat. From valuation and finding prospective buyers to pitching and dealing with the legalese, it’s enough to make anyone overwhelmed. Thankfully, we live in an age where there’s an abundance of tech resources to help get your business sold.
So to get you started, here are a few tips for using tech to simplify and facilitate the sale of your business.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s critical to research before you take the plunge. Know the market, the competition, and the potential buyers before you contact anyone. To research the market and competition, crack open Google Trends to see what’s happening in your industry and Google Analytics to check your page traffic. Also, look at your social media niche trends using software solutions like Buffer or Sendible. Explore LinkedIn for potential buyers and start connecting and interacting with them.
Get a handle on all the numbers of your business. Know your revenue, profit, assets, and operating costs. If your numbers are a mess, consider hiring an outside accountant or outsourcing to a company like Bench to help sort things out. Additionally, there are several account auditing software solutions on the market to help identify accounting and operational issues. Consider employing one of these programs to get things cleaned up.
Search Google for a list of free online business valuation calculators. Input your information into as many as possible. Doing this will allow you to have a ballpark estimate of your company’s value before you ever talk to a broker or buyer.
Aside from financial valuation, there are some other numbers and assets you should keep in mind. If your business is primarily online or if you have a significant web presence, you can check out sites like Siteprice.org, which values your website based on traffic and estimates. You can also go to domain providers, like GoDaddy, and see how much your domain is worth. Knowing the value of your online assets helps in determining a business’s overall worth.
A business broker is a professional who specializes in selling businesses. They know the tricks of the trade and can save you a lot of headache in the long run. Less than a quarter of companies on the market actually sell, and it’s usually because the owners aren’t prepared and don’t know how to execute. This lack of knowledge is where a broker can make a difference. Thanks to technology, you can effortlessly search for brokers online in broker databases. Not all databases are great, though, so be sure and do a little extra research. Look for brokers that are certified by the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA).
Speaking of databases, there are numerous databases where business owners can list their business for sale. BizBuySell.com is the most extensive database online, and it’s a great place to start looking at how much people with similar companies are charging. Additionally, you can list your business on databases to get exposure to potential buyers.
Like a broker and accountant, there’s no replacement for a real lawyer, and before you sign any contract, it’s a smart idea to seek counsel. However, there are several online sites and tools like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and LawDepot that can help draft business sale contracts. You can also take a look at templates to get an idea of what sort of contracts you’ll need to finalize the sale of your business.
Once you have a potential buyer, you might need a formal proposal and document to present the financials and sell the benefits to purchasing your business. Several online templates and proposal creation tools make creating a proposal a breeze. These online solutions make crafting a proposal as simple as data entry. You can also opt for online proposals with tools like Qwilr. Know that formal proposals aren’t always a part of a business sale, but should you need one, opt for an online template.
Between LinkedIn, broker databases, and business exchange websites, it can be tempting to forgo the human connection. However, if you want to make the most significant impact and increase your chances for closing, don’t be afraid to get out and shake hands with potential buyers. Go to networking events. Take prospective buyers out to dinner. There’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction and negotiation.
These are just a few tech tips to make selling your business easier. There’s an abundance of technologies available to automate processes. So, if you start feeling bogged down at any point during the process of trying to sell your business, do a quick Google search. There’s probably a solution to simplify the process. Selling your business is stressful enough, so be sure and ease the stress with the tools you have at your disposal.
Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners like you learn how to sell your business to get paid the maximum value for your company.