Today we are blessed with advice from Peter Watson of on preparing to sell a business.

If you want to get the maximum return on the sale of your business, then you need to make your business as attractive as possible to buyers. Some of the more important elements of making a business attractive to buyers include:

  • Streamlined business methods
  • Innovative use of technology
  • Growing customer base
  • Making sure bookwork and financials are up to date
  • Renovating your shop front, corporate offices, staff, computer systems and website

Before you get caught up in the details of enhancing the image of your business, you first need to attend to the basics. By implementing methods that will put your business ahead of the competition and keep costs down, you can significantly increase the price you get from a buyer and the amount of inquires you will receive.

Virtual Office/Telecommuting

The ongoing development of the Internet has allowed small businesses to utilize virtual offices and telecommuting to enhance staffing while maintaining overhead. When you have a virtual office agreement in place, your company is able to have a professional presence in cities all over the world. This is a much less expensive way of maintaining a global presence than establishing physical offices of your own. Virtual offices often include:

If you set your company up to allow for telecommuting, then you can utilize talent from all over the world to grow your business. An elaborate telecommuting system shows potential buyers that your business understands innovative ways to get the talent it needs at reasonable costs.

Growing the Customer Base

Few things are more attractive to the potential buyer of a business than a customer base that keeps growing. The decision to sell your business does not mean that you start to suspend your marketing and client retention efforts. In reality, the opposite should be true – and you should increase your customer base growth efforts to develop a revenue foundation that any buyer would find impossible to ignore. Another advantage to focusing on the growth of your customer base is that buyers are looking to purchase good ideas as well as a successful business. As you develop successful methods for growing your customer base that are specific to your business, you can add that information as an enticement for those looking to buy your business.

Maximizing Vendor Agreements

A dynamic vendor policy is going to be very attractive to potential buyers because it shows that you understand the value of maintaining the costs of doing business. You need to develop policies that require the review of vendor agreements regularly, and then establish guidelines for revising vendor agreements to keep your costs down. Any potential buyer of your business will want to know that you have strong relationships with your vendors – and it is up to you to develop the criteria for working efficiently with them. Each vendor agreement should have specific policies in regards to shipping, returns and marketing that will benefit both your company and its vendors.

The Steal of the Century

If you want to make your business truly attractive to any buyer, then you need to make it look like the buyer is committing “the steal of the century.” Work with professional consultants to establish a fair selling price and then overhaul your company’s business methods to make them as efficient as possible – and your company will look like a gold mine in the eyes of buyers. Any buyer who feels as though he or she is getting a really great deal, is going to be somewhat apprehensive. That is why you need to create a presentation that outlines why you are selling the business and makes it very clear how the company will remain successful. You can make a potential buyer feel much more comfortable when you can give him or her information that indicates that buying your business is not only a legitimate opportunity, but is also the “best deal on the market.”

Think Outside the Box

The process of making your business attractive to potential buyers involves much more than putting a new coat of paint on the company office building. With some innovative thinking and the implementation of cutting-edge business methods, you can convince buyers that your business is one that they simply must have.