Marketing Your Business Confidentially

Whether you use a business intermediary or not, there are a finite number of places you can market your business for sale. Marketing is but one important aspect of the value chain created by business brokers. While marketing and exposing a business is a vital part of the business sales process, in my experience, finding the potential buyer is only about 25% of the entire business sale process. What that means is that in roughly 75% of the cases after finding a potentially interested and qualified buyer for the business, something ends up derailing a potential deal. While the reasons for this can be varied, for now we will talk a bit more about the main marketing and advertising channels and share some of our experience in using each of them.

Some of the main sources that we, as business brokers, utilize to market a business for sale, include:

• Specialized internet sites
• Existing qualified buyers
• Classifieds
• Referrals
• Repeats (from previous sales, etc.)
• Yellow page ads

While the largest percentage of new buyer inquiries come from online advertising, it is the Existing Qualified Buyer leads and Referrals that garner the highest percentage of buyers that end up purchasing a business. This has to do with the proverbial 90% rule – on average, approximately 90% of first-time business buyers end up purchasing a business different than the one they initially inquired about. This means that a person that has inquired about a specific light manufacturing business with a price tag of $500,000 is as likely to purchase another manufacturing business, or even a service business. Contrary to common belief, buyers are not necessarily attracted to a single business opportunity, or even only driven by financial returns when exploring their options. Some of the main reasons why individuals look for purchasing a business are:

• To be their own boss
• To have more freedom
• To have more control
• To be able to leave a lasting legacy

Financial rewards, though important, come third or fourth in the list of main reasons for buying a business. This is an important aspect to consider when marketing and advertising a business for sale opportunity.