You won't find any magic formulas for selling a zoo, especially while the market is struggling to overcome the perceptions created by a down economy.
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Qualified buyers are constantly looking for attractive zoos. Like always, unprofitable and poorly positioned businesses struggle to find buyers while sellers who have invested time and effort to prepare their sale are being rewarded in the marketplace.
A good broker can offer several benefits to business sellers. Right out of the gate, brokers know how to help their clients properly prepare their businesses for a sale. More importantly, brokers have the ability to identify serious buyers and maintain confidentiality throughout the sale process. Typical brokerage rates (a.k.a. success fees) run 10% of the final price - an expense that is usually recouped through a higher sales price and less time on the market.
Objectivity is a rare commodity in a business sale. You have invested yourself in making your zoo the success it is today, but in the eyes of prospective buyers, your operation is only worth fair market value. It is difficult for many owners to accept the cold, hard facts about their company's worth, but objectivity is the name of the game in a successful zoo sale. A business broker can be a valuable resource in right-sizing your expectations and preparing you for market realities.
Selling a Zoo to an Employee
Employee sales have pros and cons. A faithful employee may have the motivation and ability to continue to operate the business. If you need to sell quickly, the timeframe is condensed in an employee sale because you don't need to track down a buyer. Yet most employees lack the means to buy their employer's business at or near the asking price. Most of the time, employees also expect owners to finance a large portion of the sale. So if you aren't willing to finance the sale or need to get top dollar for your zoo, a sale to an employee is probably not a possibility.
Given your interest in exit planning and in zoos, you might find these additional resources to be of interest.
If you consider zoos to be sales prospects, there's more applicable information for you elsewhere on our site. These helpful guides are more appropriate for you:
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