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Looking at your business through the eyes of the Buyer

Ideas to de-personalize your business and make it more desirable to Buyers.

Image of a pair of glasses laying on top of a laptop

Many sellers feel that their business should reflect their own personal touch and in some ways that may be good HOWEVER not when you are selling your business.

There are many sellers who over “customize” their business making it too much about them as business owners for a buyer to see themselves in the business. Buyers often have concern that the business is dependent on the seller and when you are trying to sell your business this will work against you.

We have even seen over the years many different scenarios that with small tweaks issues could have been avoided.  For instance we had an upscale restaurant where the owners labelled each menu item with their own names, for example Mary’s Meat Loaf or Ricky’s Ribs.  What happens when a buyer takes over that business? Do they keep the menu items as Mary’s Meat Loaf even though their name is Sue? If they do change the names of the menu items there is a cost for menus to be re-printed and more importantly will the customers think that the recipes are now different and they can’t order their favorite meal.  It’s even a good idea to look around your business with fresh eyes. Is your business covered with personal items such as family photos or photos of your last fishing trip, or even mementos of achievements?   Awards for a restaurant or business services are great but too many personal items can detract when selling.

Take a look at your business through the eyes of a buyer.  You could have a very successful business that is family owned with too much personal customization.  When it comes time to sell, this will scare off potential buyers because they believe that the owners are so tied in with their customers or clients that the business will lose revenue once the business changes hands.

The sellers of this particular restaurant had previously attempted to sell their business with no success. We realized when we took the listing that they were hiring us for our experience and often common sense advice.  We immediately suggested that the sellers make changes to their menu to remove their names from each item. The result was that we sold the business within a very short time period.  Their business was truly successful but buyers couldn’t see past all the personalization with this small change their business became much more saleable which of course resulted in happy sellers and buyers.

A potential buyer must believe that the business that is being offered is transferable without a major loss of business because of the relationship of the sellers after the transaction is completed.

As Business Brokers, we always advise business owners who are considering selling to de-personalize their business prior to the business being marketed. So how does the business owner remove personalization such as an abundance of family photos etc. without alerting everyone that they are considering selling? One method we have witnessed is that the business owner considers some “small” remodeling or painting where he or she needs to remove items.

The bottom line is that if you are considering selling your business, talk to your First Choice professional to review whether your business is not only saleable and desirable but also if your business is ready to sell from how the buyer will view it. Make sure that the buyer will not feel that your business is “All about you”.