Like it or not, an answering and finding service sale is a complicated affair, made even more difficult by the emotions associated with leaving a business you've poured your life into. In our experience, a common owner concern is how the sale will affect customers and employees.
(article continues below)
Too often answering and finding service owners fail to receive fair market value for their businesses. Smart sellers know the value of their companies are prepared to identify buyers who are willing to pay top dollar.
When the Sale Goes Off-Course
It's not uncommon for the owners of small answering and finding services to adopt a go-it-alone sale strategy. Plenty of owners sell their answering and finding services unassisted. Although there are exceptions, solo sales typically take longer and are less productive than brokered sales. As a rule, no business should sit on the market for more than six months without attracting the interest of at least a handful of qualified buyers. When buyers fail to exhibit substantive interest, it could indicate unrealistic pricing or an inferior selling strategy. If that occurs, it's time to bring in the professionals to get your sale back on track.
For most owners, the hardest part of selling an answering and finding service is remaining objective. Your estimate of your company's worth is probably skewed by your emotions and your close, personal connection to the business. In our experience, the most successful sales are ones in which the seller has made an intentional effort to remain objective and set realistic expectations. Many sellers create a negotiation team to minimize the effect of their personal emotions on negotiations. More importantly, this team can perform a reality check on your expectations for the sale.
Dealing with Tire Kickers
If you haven't sold a business before, prepare to be overwhelmed by tire kickers -- seemingly interested buyers who lack the capacity, ability or desire to actually purchase your answering and finding service. As a seller, it's important to separate the tire kickers from the serious buyers as soon as possible. Each tire kicker is an investment of time and energy that could be poured into finding a more qualified prospect. If you aren't sure what to look for in a serious buyer, ask your broker for advice. Never provide detailed information about your answering and finding service until the prospect has been qualified as a serious buyer.
Given your interest in exit planning and in answering and finding services, you might find these additional resources to be of interest.
If starting an answering and finding service is on your agenda, these helpul resources may be just what you've been looking for:
If you consider answering and finding services to be sales prospects, this isn't the best resource for you on our site. Try these useful resources instead:
If you are looking for exit plan advice for a different kind of business, try our directory of exit planning guides below.