As a professional internet business brokerage, a large part of our job is coaching and guiding our clients prior to, during and after the process of selling their website business. Over the years and after dozens of successful online business for sale closings, we have identified 7 main key traits a seller needs to have so his business sells smoothly and for its maximum market value.
The first key is patience. Rushing to get to the finish line inevitably leads to mistakes, frustration, embarrassment and often failure. It is imperative to allow the process to unfold naturally and not with undue pressure to sell within a fixed time span. A listed business for sale rarely sells in the time period one expects and trying to force a sale is a quick way of killing a deal. Buyers never want to feel pressured as this is seen as a red flag. Be prepared mentally for at least a 4-6 month selling period. Great business opportunities sell themselves and often get a lot of offers quickly. If you are relaxed, this will exude confidence and trust in any prospective buyer that you are content to operate your successful healthy business until a deal can be reached.
Next is organization. Nothing drags out and throws a proverbial wrench into a deal more than chaotic books and records. Getting your statistics and financial book keeping organized and knowing other details like customer demographics, market share etc will go a long way to insuring a deal gets consummated. Having a solid grasp of your business and operations will transmit confidence in an interested buyer.
Following your organization is preperation. Gathering all of your data, financial details, bank statements, merchant acounts, tax returns, etc ahead of time and having them ready to provide a buyer who has extended an aceptable offer will facilitate a quicker smoother due diligence period that telegraphs trust and security to the buyer. This more than anything will secure a closing after an offer has been accepted.
Having a willingness to compromise is also crucial. Nothing kills a deal quicker than a stubborn seller unwilling to negotiate a fair and equitable deals for both parties. We have found that the best deals are always win/win where both seller and buyer are content and there are no bad feelings between them. Besides, there will always be a period of time each has to work together, so it is better to be on good terms from the start.
Flexibility is also key in getting a business transaction closed. This may mean offering or acepting some owner financing – perhaps up to 25-30% – which is becoming more the norm now with the credit crisis. It may also mean, getting less upfront in lieu of a back end upside earn-out or profit sharing arrangement. Obviously every deal depends on the party buying the business and the confidence in them. The point is that not every deal happens with all cash at close so being open to other options is necessary in most cases.
Respect is a trait that is often pivotal in getting to the end. Respect for yourself, the buyer and the business broker if you have engaged one. Understanding your needs and fears and the needs and anxieties of the other parties will allow you to remain more balanced and less emotional in the journey. Applying the Golden Rule is good practice in business as it is in life in general.
Finally, stay focused. Keep your business thriving and growing during the selling phase – the best way to kill a sale is if you lose traction or your business starts tanking. This is why it is an advantage to hiring a business broker in the beginning as they allow you to stay focused on the business operations and continue to grow and nurture it. A buyer will want to know the business is being taken care of right to the point of transaction.
These seven key traits will insure a smooth selling process and a successful close of your internet business opportunity.