Speculate to accumulate: Why it pays to invest in marketing your business for sale

Speculate to accumulate: Why it pays to invest in marketing your business for sale

You’ve planned your exit strategy, done your due diligence, and your financials are in order.

All that’s left to do is list your business on a brokers website and wait for a buyer, right?

Well not exactly…

At least, not if you’re hoping to get the best deal or make a quick sale.

If you sell your home, you expect to pay up to 1% of your property’s value on marketing. You understand that photography or videography, copywriting, advertising fees and styling are all part of essential marketing. Marketing that paints an enticing picture for prospective buyers.

Yet for a business sale – where there’s potentially even more money and maybe even your life’s work at stake – why don’t sellers invest an equivalent amount of time and budget in marketing?

Selling a business the traditional way

Traditionally, if you wanted to sell your business, you’d engage a broker to place a listing on their website and reach out to their contacts, then wait for a buyer to come to you. Perhaps that’s why it can often take up to a year to sell a business, if it even sells at all!

Selling the dream

Selling the dream

Let’s start with the copywriting… Research has shown that storytelling is far more stimulating than straight data.

Reading stories activates our brains in a similar way as it would if we were actually experiencing what we were reading about, making it easier for us to remember.

While being up front about the financial and operational aspects of your business is key, adding an element of storytelling to your marketing strategy allows you to engage prospective buyers on an emotional level.

A picture's worth a thousand words

A picture's worth a thousand words

Humans, by nature, are visual creatures. A 2014 study by MIT found it takes us just 13 milliseconds to understand the meaning of an image, while other studies have shown it can take us up to twice as long to process written words.

So, if you want to capture people’s attention quickly, it makes sense to do it visually.

By investing some time in staging your business to sell – as you would your home – you’ll help prospective buyers envision their future as business owners.

Inspiring photography and video will showcase the essence of the lifestyle the new owner could enjoy, and show your business as the place where they can start creating their own story.

How an active marketing strategy can drive your sale

There are three key benefits of compiling a well-planned marketing strategy to sell your business:

Increased exposure

The more people who see your business for sale, the more likely you are to sell. Simple, really! A targeted marketing campaign will put your business in front of the right people, at the right time – those already in the market to buy, and even those who are not actively looking.

Remember, in the blink of an eye, the right image will register in the mind of a prospective buyer as it flashes past on their social feed, and subconsciously get them wondering about a viable alternative to spending the rest of their working life doing a job they don’t love.

Increased demand

By increasing demand, you can take advantage of scarcity value – the idea that if something is in short supply, it’s worth more. After all, there’s only one business with your USP. If potential buyers know they are competing with others, their desire to purchase your ‘scarce’ commodity could drive a higher sale price.

Another advantage of increased demand is that it gives you the opportunity to evaluate your options and find a fitting successor. If you’ve worked hard to establish a loyal customer base and set yourself apart from the competition, it’ll make it easier to walk away knowing your legacy is in good hands.

A quicker sale

High demand means you’re likely to complete your sale much faster. With all the relevant documentation prepared and appropriately shared as part of your marketing strategy, interested buyers will have much of the information they need up front. This means when they decide they’re ready to buy, you can get to signing on the dotted line without wasting time.

A quick sale (and seamless transition) is a great outcome for everyone involved. Not only does it reduce disruption among staff and day-to-day operations, but it also reassures customers and suppliers that although there has been a change in ownership, it’s very much business as usual.

Don't sell yourself short

Don't sell yourself short

Selling your business can be an emotional experience, but don’t undersell yourself at the final hurdle.

While it may seem counterintuitive to invest more money into something you’re trying to break away from, by investing in selling your business with as much passion as you did creating it, you’re more likely to get a great price and walk away happy with a job well done.