Find a Buyer

Techniques to Find the Best Buyer for Your Small Business

Story Highlights

  • Passive Techniques
  • Active Techniques
  • Get Creative!

Finding the right buyer involves both your head and your heart. Your company reflects your talent, creativity, and hard work. It’s not easy to let go of an enterprise you have brought to fruition. The decision to sell will be easier if you find a buyer that matches your passion for growth and success long after your involvement is over.

Making A Match

There are two types of techniques to find a buyer – passive and active. Your company should pursue a combination of both passive and active techniques to ensure the best chance of finding a qualified buyer.

Passive Techniques

Passive techniques employ the art of sending posting an advertisement in front of an audience and waiting for a response. You can send your message by advertising your company on various listing sites and waiting for potential buyers to reply. Opening your search to a wider audience will mean sifting through both qualified and unqualified buyers. However, despite the effort of weeding through candidates, you can attract your ideal buyer by choosing advertising platforms wisely.

Listing Sites

Listing sites are websites that allow you to create confidential advertisements to sell your business. Not only can you publish your listing on these websites, but you can receive inquiries from interested buyers and contact those that meet your requirements. Pricing for this service varies by each website and there is no obligation for you to sell.

Classified Sites

Classified sites appeal to local buyers and sell everything from baby bottles to businesses. While advertising on classified platforms is cost-effective, you will attract a lot of unqualified buyers.

Social Media

Social media sites are a great way to attract potential buyers. The key to success is targeting your audience properly. Local business and industry groups can help to generate quality leads. Your options range from creating free posts to purchasing paid advertising where you can control the budget. One of the challenges of finding buyer leads on social media is that in order to keep confidentiality, you won’t be able to leverage your company brand in your ads. You can still take advantage of social media audiences by creating dynamic advertisements that will sell your business without explicitly naming it.

Industry publication advertising

While industry publications are typically more expensive than other listing options, you are more likely to attract industry insiders who have done their research and are qualified to buy your business. You should consider advertising in industry publications if you are selling a larger business yet can still maintain confidentiality.

Active Techniques

Active techniques are selling efforts focused on buyers who have been identified through targeted research. You will contact these potential buyers directly about buying your business.

Creating buyer personas

A buyer persona is a model that helps you to zero in on the buyer most likely to want to purchase your business. Questions to help you identify your potential buyer include:

– Who is your buyer?

– Where is your buyer located?

– What websites or publications do they frequent?

– What qualifications or qualities do they need to have?

Examining Your Network

 Your network can include casual business contacts from overlapping industries, colleagues from professional associations, local community groups, online social media networks, and even competitors.  You can reach out by sending non-identifying letters of inquiry to potential leads with a PO Box return or an anonymous email address

Always remember to frequently check the PO Box or email for responses as communications sent to anonymous points of contact have a higher chance of being missed.

Looking outside of your network

Seek out individuals with ties to your buyer personas. These potential buyers can be either industry professionals, M&A professionals, or Brokers.

Get creative!

Buyers are typically looking at online posting sites, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make yourself visible elsewhere. Thinking outside the box could really pay off. Remember to keep confidentiality and accurately gauge the level of effort you are willing to put into sourcing buyer leads. Implementing a combination of both passive and active techniques will help you to find the best buyer for your business.

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