Many business owners are truly committed to their businesses. As a result, it is very difficult for them to step away even when they approach retirement age. It is not uncommon for business owners to keep working into their golden years. But the truth of the matter is that at some point almost everyone will need to embrace retirement whether it is for health issues, moving to a new location, or simply for greater peace of mind.
If you see this path approaching for you in the near future, it could feel overwhelming. After all, most people have not sold a business before. As a result, they feel unclear about the process and don’t know where to start. However, everyone should be thinking about the eventual sale of their business because this future event should determine many of your current activities and decisions.
Let’s take a look at some things you can do well in advance to ensure that an eventual sale of your business goes as smoothly as possible.
When prospective buyers look at your business, they will want to be able to easily envision it operating smoothly without you involved. Because a good portion of business owners are so integral to the functioning of their businesses, it can be difficult for them to figure out how to decouple themselves from operations. In some cases, this process can take years.
Now is a good time to consider this issue and what you can do to make sure your business can function without you one day. Give some thought to who at your organization could be a second in command. When a buyer sees that a competent and knowledgeable employee will be staying on to assist them, it can go a long way in allaying any concerns.
Put Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes
Imagine you were buying your business. What kinds of issues might be of concern to you? Chances are these will be the same issues that could concern potential buyers. Once you have identified any spots of weakness, you can start to zero in on figuring out how to handle them.
First and foremost, you will want your buyer to feel confident that there will be a smooth transition and that they can almost immediately begin to profit from their purchase of your business. Anything that you can do to help ensure that is true will benefit the sales process.
Business brokers and M&A advisors are experts in the world of buying and selling businesses. They will help you to properly evaluate your business and look for these areas of weakness. Through this means when you do decide it is time to retire, the process will go more quickly and seamlessly.
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Putting your business on the map is not as simple as posting a sign, sticking up some flyers, or throwing a grand opening party. Instead, it’s about making your business stand out from the rest by creating an appealing and memorable first (and lasting) impression for passersby and potential customers.
Good curb appeal is essential if you want to see more people in your store and have them returning again. After all, people tend to make their buying decisions in the first few seconds.
If your storefront looks dated or unkempt, people won’t want to go inside. Fortunately, that means giving your business a little boost regarding looks might be as easy as a splash of paint.
With just a little work and preparation, you can give any space an updated new look in no time at all – here are some tips that will help improve curb appeal!
Fix Walkways and Sidewalks
If your walkways and sidewalks are cracked and broken, you should strive to get them patched up as quickly as possible. While this creates an eyesore, the larger issue is that it can create a hazardous environment for customers.
Of course, you may think that this is something you can put off until later on, but the truth is that fixing walkways and sidewalks is one of the best investments you can make – particularly when it comes to your business’s curb appeal.
Walkways and sidewalks in disrepair don’t just look bad; they also send the message that your business isn’t well-maintained. If a potential customer walks over a broken path or a cracked sidewalk and sees that your business doesn’t seem to care enough to replace it, they may wonder what other issues they might run into while visiting.
To ensure your walkways and sidewalks are tip-top, you can hire a contractor or do the work yourself. After all, it’s an easy fix that will only take a few hours to complete.
Keep the Exterior Clean
If there’s one thing all business owners should know, it’s that a tidy business exterior is extremely important. After all, a dirty facade gives off a shabby and unkempt vibe – which is the last thing any business owner wants.
Instead, a clean facade shows that your business has pride in its appearance and is well-maintained and cared for. After all, if a business is clean and organized inside, then it’s likely that they’re paying the same attention to the product or service they offer.
Given that it doesn’t cost much to keep your exterior clean, this is something that every business should be doing, no matter the circumstances. Of course, keeping your exterior clean is easier said than done. You must constantly be vigilant, sweeping away dirt and debris as soon as they appear.
Not only do customers assess your quality by your presentation, business cleanliness is at the top of the list for high-end buyers.
Improve Your Landscaping
Landscaping is a great way to improve your curb appeal, especially if your business is located in an outdoor shopping district. After all, well-maintained, vibrant plants and shrubs can be an excellent addition to any street, helping to bring attention to your place of business.
However, when it comes to improving your landscaping, don’t try to make changes all at once. Always aim to be mindful of cost in relation to return. Instead, start small by adding a few well-placed plants, shrubs, or flowers.
You can also replace dead or dying flowers if they are on your property. Of course, you don’t have to have a large garden to improve your landscaping; a few small pots or plants can go a long way.
Interchange Season Decor
Changing how your business looks throughout the year can be a fantastic way to boost its curb appeal – mainly if you’re located in a shopping district with a high volume of foot traffic. You can start by swapping out your regular signage for seasonal signs.
This is a great way to bring attention to special deals or sales you’re hosting during specific seasons. You can also change up the decorations inside your store to bring a bit of the season to your business.
Changing up your storefront is a great way to draw attention to your business, especially if you’re trying to get noticed when there’s a lot of competition in the area. It can also help you to attract high-end buyers.
Add A Little Plant Magic
There’s no doubt that having plants in and around your store is a great way to boost its curb appeal and increase your return on investment. However, you don’t have to stop with a few potted plants on the sidewalk.
You can add more plants to your store by adding them inside. Of course, this might seem like a strange choice. Still, there are many benefits to bringing plants indoors:
It cleans your air, making your store healthier for customers, employees and plants are a natural distraction for nerves and anxiety, and they can make your store feel warmer and inviting.
With all of these benefits, it’s clear that adding plants indoors is a great way to improve your curb appeal. Plants can also be inexpensive, so there’s no excuse not to add them to your store.
How to Improve Curb Appeal & Why It’s Important for Your Business
Boosting your business’s curb appeal is about investing in your space and caring about how your business is presented to the world. If you ignore issues like dirty exteriors and unkempt landscaping, your business sends the message that you don’t care enough to improve it.
However, when you improve curb appeal, you’re showing customers that you have pride in what you do and that you care about their experience. If you follow these quick and easy tips, you can see an improvement in your business’s curb appeal.
All these things matter if you want to sell or buy a business. Speaking of business real estate contact Fusion Advantage for help.Read More
The Market Pulse Report Survey is a resource that has a variety of information that business brokers and M&A advisors regularly utilize to better understand the business landscape. The most recent survey was conducted April 1st to April 15th 2022 and had 360 broker and advisor respondents. It also marked the 40th edition of the quarterly report. The Executive Summary of the report can be accessed here https://www.ibba.org/resource-center/industry-research/
The Main Street Market
One notable fact included in the latest report is that in the Main Street market, between 70% to 80% of buyers are likely to come from within a 20-mile radius. However, with larger companies, it is common for buyers to originate from a distance of over 100 miles away or greater.
The survey also indicated there are two key “headwinds” that businesses are currently facing. These include labor shortages and supply chain issues. Not surprisingly, labor issues are currently creating problems for organic growth. Likewise, supply chain issues can cause prospective buyers to shy away from a business.
The Profile of Current Buyers
The survey also indicated that Main Street buyers not only include the “typical” first-time business buyer. These individuals are often looking for a job in the form of owning a business. Serial entrepreneurs who have made money off previous deals are also now seeking to jump back in and buy another business. The survey indicates that about one-third of buyers who purchased businesses in the $500K to $1M range are serial entrepreneurs.
Additionally, there is a great deal of money flooding into the industry. The money is mostly coming from private equity, family offices, and corporations. Feeling burned by the lack of bank credit by the 2008-2009 economic downturn, these buyers don’t want to get caught in a similar situation again.
A Seller’s Market
The survey indicates that it is currently a seller’s market and that record setting multiples have been occurring. In Q1, an impressive 97% of businesses were receiving their asking price. However, nothing lasts forever. If you’re considering selling your business, it’s a good idea to start making progress now before this trend stops benefitting sellers.
Even with the strong sales track record last quarter, it’s important to note that a fast sale is still improbable. Even in the best economic conditions, it typically takes many months to sell a business.
There are many factors currently benefiting sellers, such as low interest rates, SBA involvement, and people not wanting to work for corporations. However, it’s important not to wait for the “right moment” as often that moment never comes.
It’s always a good idea to begin taking steps to prepare for the sale of your business as soon as possible. This can make a tremendous difference toward fostering a positive final outcome.
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If you are like most business owners, you have never sold a business before and might not have a clear idea of what the process is like. We recommend preparing your business in a way that makes the sale and transition process as easy for your buyer as possible. It should come as no surprise that buyers will like the idea of an easy transition.
It will be very beneficial if you take the time in advance to evaluate the steps and think about what you can do on your end to benefit your buyer. Since you’re the expert on your business, you have unique insights into what would make the transition the most seamless for the other party. When you prepare for the sale with your buyer’s experience in mind, you will likely not only speed up the sales process, but also increase the selling price.
1. Automate Processes
Just like you may have never sold a business before, your buyer may have never bought a business before. If you can figure out how to automate as many processes as you can, it will help with their workflow and reduce the level of intimidation your buyer may be feeling about taking over.
2. Establish a Second in Command
One thing you can do is have a second in command on your staff. If there is a competent employee that your buyer can depend upon for assistance and support, that fact alone will be tremendously attractive. If you do not yet have that person in place, you might have an eye on choosing a person and preparing them for this role. Speaking of staff, you will want to make sure your entire staff is well-trained and any HR issues are resolved in advance.
3. Keep Things Consistent
As you get closer to the time you will put your business up for sale, you will want to begin to work with vendors and key customers. You will want to ensure that the supply chain and significant customers are consistent. Otherwise, this could cause major disruptions for your buyer and impede his or her success. Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll want to keep the potential sale of your business completely confidential. If customers, vendors, and even employees learn about an upcoming sale, this fact alone can lead to a chain reaction of disruptions and problems.
A business broker or M&A advisor can help in a wide variety of ways when you are getting ready to sell. They are experts in maintaining confidentiality while taking you through the sales process from start to finish. Brokerage professionals will also assess your business and inform you of any areas that could be improved to make your business more attractive to buyers.
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