Marketing a Business for Sale

Marketing a Business for Sale
The Faces of Business

Marketing a Business for Sale

In this, The Faces of Business, Andrew Cross, Co-Founder, Exit Your Way, talks about the keys to marketing a business for sale and the things a business owner can do to make their business more marketable.

Andrew Cross is the Co-Founder of Exit Your Way and has been helping business owners prepare, market for sale, and sell their businesses for over 15 years. Andrew found his passion in helping people exit their businesses after a successful corporate career in sales and management for privately held and investor-owned companies. His experience with over 100 business transactions and decades of real-world business experience help him to understand precisely what clients need to do for a successful business sale.

Damon is excited to commence this Livestream with Andrew because his favorite subjects are marketing, business, and sale. He asks the guest how business brokerage and selling business was practiced a decade ago.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

To Damon’s surprise, Andrew says that “it was putting an advertisement in the paper in the classifieds.” To him, this is true even during the internet time because “it’s just slow to change.” There are trade magazines. The common knowledge is that private equity buyers have changed and become more sophisticated. Although running ads seems “an old school kind of brick and mortar type of running thing,” this is the real trick to market a business for sale.

Similarly, Andrew satirizes “the confidential process.” He believes people want to sell their businesses, but nobody wants anybody else to know about that. If people don’t put “for sale” signs in the window of their business, “that is a recipe for disaster.”

The host wants Andrew to impart his knowledge on preparing a business for sale. Damon believes people miserable miss the preparation part.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

“It’s critical,” remarks Andrew. Selling a business without preparation is a mistake. Andrew discloses that he receives many calls from business owners for the valuation of their businesses because somebody has expressed interest in buying their companies.

Andrew again disapproves of the confidential process. Not consulting anyone before selling a business is negative.

He understands that the process can be private, but educating themselves on the steps and techniques can prove fruitful. “Knowledge is power,” believes Andrew.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Doing the homework and “doing the marketing materials” in the preparatory work to sell the business is a prerequisite. “You’re not selling product or service. You’re selling your business.” Resultantly, such selling has to be marketed in a completely different way.

The buyers look at businesses from a completely different angle. Likewise, the sellers must consider the buyer’s lifestyle, professional fitness, and background experience that “they have to own and make that whole transaction successful.”

Andrew reveals why 80% of buying and selling businesses are never accomplished. So the first reason is they are giving out confidential information to the wrong people. So a screening process is essential.

Secondly, a comprehensive and strategic approach to marketing the business is required. “It goes beyond just putting an ad in the paper.” The sellers must use listing sites and social media platforms on the internet.

Thirdly, understanding the buyers and presenting our marketing materials accordingly can make our offer more compelling.

From Andrew, Damon seeks to know how to market a business for sale. The guest discloses that the number of buyers in this particular market is relatively limited, and everything depends on the buyer.

Andrew discusses a scenario drawing on the conclusion that an owner-operated business is tied to a specific geographic location. This affects value and limits our buyer pool. He maintains that even if we go in there underprepared, we will dry out the opportunity to sell a business. There’s no second chance to come back.

He discloses that we have about twenty minutes “at that initial pitch.” If we can’t make a mark, they make their decision, and they move on.

Damon requests Andrew to talk about the pricing and preparation of the materials to sell a business.

The guest, as mentioned earlier, says there are no second chances. The same is also valid for pricing. Our pricing must be included in preparatory sessions. Similarly, in order to sell the business on our price, “timing is crucial.” It works on the merits of a campaign.

Andrew talks about the various stages of launching and campaigning for a business for sale:

Advertising is a continuous effort to “fish deep.” We can use social media.

Marketers must research to find suitable strategic buyers.

They must campaign to communicate directly to buyers and allow them to look at the opportunity.

Timing plays a vital role in achieving desired results.

Fourth is outreach after we have prepared all the materials. It takes a month or so. And the outreach objective is to get “four or five good qualified strategic buyers interested in the opportunity,” considering presenting “a letter of intent.”

The whole atmosphere looks like an auction. We’ve got three or four hundred people looking at the competition. The auction part can drive up the value. Like in real estate, if the sellers reach the buyers, the value of the business gets compromised. But if we invite bids to be submitted, the demand naturally rises, and the price goes up. That’s the trick!

Andrew adds that the demand and price depend on the type and size of the business.

Moreover, he talks about the types of buyers. For instance, there are financial buyers, also called investor buyers. Some strategic buyers are competitors. However, people already in the same business are typically the best buyers.

The guest thinks that marketing a business for sale is more accessible today. It is because there’s a lot more capita. The seller markets are well-defined and larger. Earlier, there was a lack of information that created fear. “And fear kills deals.” Although today, there are private contracts, or more aptly described, confidential transactions that are locked to evade taxes, parties do research before the transaction.

Furthermore, there are more buyers than sellers. They raise money to buy running businesses, but there are few transactions. Its reason is many companies need to meet the criteria. So, sellers need to do their pre-market work.

Damon asks Andrew about the foremost challenges the sellers face. Andrew answers that the price and type of the business bottlenecks the deals. The higher the price, the lower the chances of their being sold.

Andrew argues buyers are happy to pay higher “for a solid management team that comes through.” They wouldn’t even pay for them individually a la carte, but they’re happy to pay more together. They are looking for an excellent operating management team.

Damon summarizes that marketing a business requires putting all materials together. Secondly, we go out with a targeted approach. Thirdly, we must employ a fishing approach and post ads on some listing sites to find our best buyers. Lastly, we must make sure our business has strong management. It’s a zero-sum game.

The discussion ends with Damon thanking Andrew for stopping by and sharing his thoughts on marketing a business for sale.

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ABOUT EXIT YOUR WAY®

Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

You can find more information about the Exit Your Way® process and our team on our website.

You can contact us by phone:  822-BIZ-EXIT (249-3948)   Or by Email:  info@exityourway.us

Find us on LinkedIn:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Find our Companies on LinkedIn: Exit Your Way®,  Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions, Bowman digital Media 

Follow Us on Twitter: @dpistulka  @exityourway

Visit our You Tube Channel: Exit Your Way®

Service Professionals Network:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Facebook:  Exit Your Way® Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions

Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow

32:36

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

buyers, business, sell, buy, people, marketing, deal, sale, work, materials, market, campaign, opportunity, strategic buyers, financial, listing, marketing materials, auction, understand, part

SPEAKERS

Damon Pistulka, Andrew Cross

 

Damon Pistulka  00:00

Everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And we have a special episode here today, we’re gonna be talking about marketing and business for sale with none other. My partner in crime. Andrew Krause. Welcome, Andrew.

 

Andrew Cross  00:15

Hey, how’s it going?

 

Damon Pistulka  00:16

Good, good. Well, we are going to just get right into it. I mean, because we, we mark our businesses for sale once in a while.

 

Andrew Cross  00:26

Yeah. The secret sauce,

 

Damon Pistulka  00:29

the secret sauce, and it’s been it’s been something you’ve been doing. Every once in a while. Yeah, it’s Elon wants it all to Yeah. Yeah. A little bit better than the average. Yeah. Yeah, averages aren’t good. But the real thing that I wanted to talk about date, because we talk about marketing and business for sale. It’s not just throwing a listing up on a site, I don’t want to get behind the curtain a little bit and talk more about it. So let’s go back aways when you started this 10 plus years ago, doing doing the business brokerage and selling businesses? What What was the real way that people got businesses out to buyers?

 

Andrew Cross  01:16

Yeah, I mean, I don’t think you know, the way we do it nowadays, it’s certainly changed a lot. But back in the old days, you know, is advertising, you know, putting an ad in the paper in the classifieds?

 

Damon Pistulka  01:33

Oh, that hurt that feels sold?

 

Andrew Cross  01:35

It does. I mean, that, you know, and this is even during internet time, because this is, it’s just slow to change. And, you know, trade magazines, my you know, that’d be you know, but you’d have an advertising budget, but it was definitely a, an old school kind of brick and mortar type of way of running things, run the ads, and, and wait for the phone to ring.

And you hope but, you know, private equity buyers have changed a lot since then to become more sophisticated. But, you know, but here’s the real trick, you know, marketing a business for sale to is, this is a confidential process, you know, there is a process for it. But, you know, people want to sell their businesses, but you know, nobody wants anybody else to know about that. Yeah.

And for good reasons, you know, confidentiality. So how do you do that? You know, and that’s, so that’s a real challenge. And you have to be able to you mark it and sell the opportunity. But not necessarily the business, because you just don’t see. You know, if people don’t put for sale signs in the window of their business. Yeah, that is a recipe for disaster, as we all know, and there’s a good reasons why that is. Yeah, they handle it that way. So how do you buy it? Buy something, sell something? If you can’t tell anybody about it?

 

Damon Pistulka  02:59

Yeah, that’s a great, that’s a great point. I you know, how do you sell something if you can’t tell anybody about it? In specific and it is a real, it is a real thing that we deal with in the industry. So let’s talk about this, this back up just a minute, though, in a lot of people that are selling their business, or having someone sell their business for them, may not understand the importance of taking the time at the beginning to develop really good materials around the business.

Let’s talk a bit about that. Because you’ve seen people do it with virtually no preparation, or a lot of preparation and what what is the real benefit from taking the time to create the right information for your business before you start marketing?

 

Andrew Cross  03:51

Yeah, well, I mean, it’s critical. It’s absolutely critical. I mean, I don’t think you really, it’s not something you can do off the cuff. And people, a lot of people come to me, you know, because they never thought about selling their business, but they got a call from somebody, you know, probably one of their competitors that want to sell, you know, I’d like to buy your business, they don’t know what they’re buying. You know, they don’t have any idea because, you know, it’s all confidential.

So, in those people can be good buyers, but too, but oftentimes, then our phone rings because it’s a whole, somebody wanted to buy my business, but I don’t know what it’s worth. I don’t know, if I’m ready to sell it, you know, I don’t know if he’s offering me the right amount, you know, you know, it’s all the unknown, right. And that’s part of the that’s the negative of a confidential process is nobody’s talking about these things.

You it doesn’t have to be public. This isn’t the stock market. You know, where you know, you have to disclose everything. And you don’t and so you have to, you have to get behind that and then educate a lot so that you know, it knowledge is power, and that will get your business sold and that’s where doing the homework and doing the marketing materials in the prep work to sell your business you’re selling not your product, or your service that you do, you’re selling your business.

So different customer. Yeah, you know, you know, has to be marketed to in a completely different way. You know, you might have the coolest widget in the world that you sell buyer cares about that, but doesn’t care about that.

Yeah, isn’t benefits, all that, you know, that’s all good differentiation, you know, that’s all good cost, that’s all good, you know, they want to know about that. But, you know, they’re they’re looking at it from, from a completely different angle. So it’s not about your product or service, it is about the business, the revenue stream, the risks involved, the lifestyle of the buyer, or the you know, in the the fit, professional fit and the background experience that they have to own and make that whole transaction successful.

 

Damon Pistulka  06:00

Yeah, you made you said this a little while ago, I want to bring it up, because a lot of people don’t understand the fact that marketing your business for sale. And how that starts with identifying your ideal buyer is, is so important, because you you kind of skipped over it, it’s not like selling your product, but in selling your product, you must understand your ideal buyer, just like for your business. Sure. And that is that is critical when you do and when you’re doing that, because then as you’re preparing the marketing materials, you understand the kinds of questions that that buyer needs to answer.

 

Andrew Cross  06:45

Yes. And again, there are, you know, understanding of buyers, the types of buyers, there are, you know, ones that fit into your industry space and expertise. Because you know, 80% of them, people who do venture out say I’m gonna go buy a business, you know, 80% of them never accomplish that task. So there’s a lot of people for various reasons, and a lot of people who are just looking, you know, and will waste a lot of time, and also you’ll be giving out confidential information to the wrong people.

So that screening process is important. And then in the marketing, your approach to marketing, the business is very targeted. So it goes beyond just putting an ad in the paper. Yeah, we still do that we don’t do it in the paper anymore. We put, you know, it’s all there’s listing sites, and there’s all on the internet now. But you know, we can advertise your opportunity for sale and now it you know, and we can be more strategic about it using social media to find these types of buyers. And, you know, so what is it? What kind of buyer Are you looking for, and then understanding what it is they’re looking for.

And that’s how you present your material, your marketing, your pitch, your offering your opportunity? Well, you know, you there’s a million terms for what that is because you’re gonna get about 20 minutes, attention from these buyers, to convince them that, you know, a can, that shows not just here’s a financial projection. And this is why you should buy me but also shows a vision, you know, how you do good what what it is that differentiates you in industry, what your customers look like, well, how repeatable is this?

You know, all the all the risks things that they’re thinking about your head? And, and how and then, of course, the financial analysis. And yeah, we always put that in the, in the material in the back. Yeah, yeah, you’re, it’s all like they don’t, that just has to meet a threshold. That’s really, it’s really basic about that. So you’re gonna know what Park you’re in? Based on that, because if the numbers don’t make sense, then it won’t work.

 

Damon Pistulka  08:55

Yeah, yeah. And you said a couple of things in that as well too. It’s, you know, understanding that buyer or the different kinds of buyers that are going to be seeing it and then their distinct value propositions for each one of those kinds of buyers and making sure that’s in your materials and prominent as you said, financials go to the back that kind of value proposition for that buyer is right near the front so they can understand quickly how this is going to help them achieve their goals.

 

Andrew Cross  09:25

Yeah, the financial part just supports everything else that you’ve done at the bottom so it’s got to meet like I said, it’s just got to meet a certain threshold in order to do that and then the rest of that beginning part of it you know, all the way up into reasons into that is convinced by

 

Damon Pistulka  09:43

Yeah, yeah. So when we when we look at selling a business today, loves this, this backup just one more time for material, because you’ve you’ve shown this distinctly and and really effectively when we’re talking about this with clients who want to rush, the process of creating the material are going to market with a bit and go to the market with the business today. But then, before you’ve got the materials that are ready for the business, and I know a lot of people will be tempted to do that, but why don’t you want to do that? Go to market before you’ve got your materials done.

 

Andrew Cross  10:27

Yeah, I mean, you know, these buyers, the market, you know, to is fairly limited, that all depends on the buyer, and what the, you know, the restrictions are, I mean, there’s definitely, you know, so if you go out to market, so for example, if you have an owner operated business, you know, and you’re tied to a certain geographic location, you know, this affects value, of course, in the business too, but you know, we’re buying pool is going to be somebody within commuting distance, you know, possibly somebody could move from out of state and actually make a move to come in and buy your business and specifically for that, but, but,

you know, what I’m saying is, you know, that limits your buyer pool, and if you go in there and unprepared, and you know, they only look once, you know, once, once it’s no, it’s no, yeah, so you can you’re gonna dry out those those opportunities, and you don’t get, you know, there’s no second chance to come back.

Oh, you know, now look at it this way. Yeah. You know, we thought about that. So, yeah, like I said, you get about 20 minutes, usually at that first initial pitch, if you can’t help them, you know, they make their decision and they move on.

 

Damon Pistulka  11:46

That is one of the points I did want to bring up is that because I know a lot of people are like, oh, yeah, this, we can finish a, you know, finish a, an ad, whatever that looks like. And then we can get out and start selling it. And well, if you do that, and you’re not ready right behind and you go, my best buyer could be found in the first five minutes when I look. And if they want the materials, and those materials aren’t right. You might be done.

 

Andrew Cross  12:13

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you don’t get second chances on that. And it’s very hard. And that’s also with pricing. You know, if you you know, and there’s, you got to really think about pricing, and where you go to market with the pricing of what because it timing is very important.

That’s the most important aspect of marketing a business for sale, it’s a campaign. And, you know, we might have various stages of launching a business and campaigning it for sale, and we can, we in advertising is, you know, that part of it is trolling, you know, that’s fishing deep, and you just let that run, but the targeted outreach, you know, using social media, doing some research industry research on finding good strategic buyers, and communicating, you know,

basically, the campaign is to go directly to them and give them a chance to look at the opportunity, you want to do that the timing part of it, because after you, you know, after you’ve prepared all the materials, and you’re ready to go, the market, you know, that’s going to be a good month, right there, of that first initial campaign. And the objective to that is to get four or five good qualified buyers who are interested in the opportunity who are considering presenting a letter of intent.

You know, and then our process, you know, that’s the objective is to get through that. So the timing part of it, what makes that important is that, that provides sort of an auction type atmosphere, hey, we have this opportunity for sale, they all know, we just brought it on the market, they all know, we’ve got three or 400 people looking at it, they all know that bids are going to be submitted.

That’s the auction part right, which can drive up value a bit. You know, I think you know, that’s one of the when you’re marketing a business that’s one of the claims that advisors and brokers will make that they can you know, they do that in real estate to it’s that game yeah, you’re gonna get more value if you go out and price it low and you know, get it bid up. Yeah, well, it doesn’t really work that way. Like I said, there’s constraints and fault but what it will do is it does get a deal done. Yeah.

You know, and you know, people you know, the buyers will understand if there is that feel an auction environment it’s an informal auction it wouldn’t call it we’re not putting a gavel down and taking bids, you know, but they know there’s they’re the only game in town that so that’s and that will sometimes it’ll get a little bump in value. But more importantly, it gets somebody to do good qualified buyer to give a letter of intent and get into diligence and go to closing And it pressure keeps the pressure on them for closing, because they know that, you know, there’s people behind them.

 

Damon Pistulka  15:05

Yeah, if they didn’t they back out, it’s not just take your time, it’s that by doing that marketing, and trying to, to hit a lot of the right people targeting in on the right buyers is key. And because you do keep the pressure on everyone to keep moving

 

Andrew Cross  15:23

forward. Yeah, and it’s some you know, and that’s can be difficult to depends on that, you know, the kind of business it is and the size of the businesses. So, you know, because in the type of buyer, you have, you know, financial buyers are Investor Buyers, there’s strategic buyers who are competitors, or people are already in the business, those are typically the best buyers.

But if it’s a smaller company, and a smaller deal, they don’t do a lot of buying, whereas financial buyers buy, you know, all the time, you know, so there, you have to do a fair bit of, you have to, you know, get it’s, it’s risk, you know, reduction in strategic buyers may not know what they don’t know.

So they see risk when it’s not there, the financial buyers are more comfortable and just go in and, you know, they do this all the time. So they already know the risk and and of course, seem a little bit smaller businesses or individual buyers and search fund buyers, were you know, for search fund buyers, are backed by financial equity groups and stuff like that, or investment groups.

And individual buyers are just, you know, high net worth or, you know, can family funds, and they can do stumbling sales, but in those worked out pretty well, too, because you have you have a management team that’s looking to come in and replace it. So if you’re in that situation, that’s it’s harder to sell a business if ownership or the management of the company is leaving? Well, yeah. It’s harder only because it’s there’s a smaller pool of buyers available.

 

Damon Pistulka  17:01

Yeah, yep. You know, you’re making some good points here with the different kinds of buyers. And that’s where I think that taking some time at the beginning to really understand the perfect buyer for your individual business, based on size based on industry based on a lot of different factors. Sounds like that can really pay off by allowing you to market to people that are more likely to buy.

 

Andrew Cross  17:32

Yeah, and, you know, it’s, you know, but you have to kind of appreciate the situation where we’re going in with an opportunity to spend, you know, five, six $7 million on an acquisition, and you’re going to a good strategic customer down the road, maybe he’s already got a $25 million, but you don’t they all it’s again, they’re not publicly traded companies. So that’s a that’s a pretty good outlay for them. So you have to really kind of helped them how that works, how that really benefits their value.

Yeah, their company. And then of course, some, you know, how do you fund it? Yeah, you know, and that kind of stuff. And you know, and, you know, it’s one of the best ways to understand why a strategic buyer is one of the best buyers is because you just go ask a banker who’s going to put a loan out they love, they would much rather land vacant, lot less risk, if they’ve got somebody who’s already ended in an industry and successful at it. So

 

Damon Pistulka  18:28

yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. So, as you’re looking at, you know, selling the business today, compared to years ago, do you? Do you see that the tools, the resources available now, do you think it makes it easier to sell business today? Or more difficult because of so many different options and ways to do it?

 

Andrew Cross  18:54

Yes.

 

Damon Pistulka  18:59

Love that

 

Andrew Cross  19:00

it is easier today. Yeah, there’s a lot more capital, there’s people looking at their capital. And as sellers, they’re, you know, the markets larger. And the information, you know, what’s killed Hills before is, again, this lack of information in that creates fear, fear, you know, you know, kills deals, and you know, and that’s why we do this, we want to, we want to say, okay, yeah, these are privately held, these are confidential transactions, you know, you can’t go down to the county and see that tax, you know, records and all that kind of stuff. And that transactions, you know, that are there, but we do have data from that too.

And the more you know, with the internet and everything else that’s going on, there’s much more data available, and resources available to to a buyer today than than ever before, so that that’s a positive but on the net Good upside is that you’re also it’s also more competitive than it’s ever been to buy a business. So, yeah, you know, if you’re, you know, and that’s, you know, half you’re going in and you’re competing with, you know, some of these groups, and they’re they have cheaper capital, and they can fund these things and that kind of stuff. But

 

Damon Pistulka  20:19

yeah, so I got this is something that came up, I was sitting here, listen to talk about this. And it’s easier today, we’ve got more cash in the market today. But it doesn’t seem like there’s more businesses getting sold today as a percentage.

 

Andrew Cross  20:36

It’s still not easy.

 

Damon Pistulka  20:37

Yeah, yeah, that’s it, it’s like you think about it, and you go, there, the tools have gotten better, we can get it out to more people, but yet, we still come into the fundamental problem of finding the right buyer for a business is still the toughest part about

 

Andrew Cross  20:55

Yeah, you know, and, you know, through that process of marketing, the business for sale, you know, that’s all theoretical, that’s what we try to do is, you know, launch it, do a campaign get four or five good qualified buyers get on an auction environment, get a solid offer, you know, get exclusivity and going down to the finish line, close it, that doesn’t always happen that way, in, you know, it has happened, and that’s great when it works, but it doesn’t always, a lot of times we get through that first campaign, we don’t get there,

then we drop a line, and we do some trolling, you know, on the advertising, you know, and that, it is weird, you notice that that’s why it takes a long time to sell a business. So you have to be ready to do that, too. So things may go along. And, you know, it is it is you just get a strike. You know, like I said, it is deep, like deep sea trolling.

And somebody, you know, somebody just crosses their path at some point, they didn’t see it before. And you know, they just want to get this deal done. So it’s hard to predict when that’ll happen. But that’s, you know, one of the things too, and we talked a little bit about test marketing, we do a campaign, you know, we may deliberately reduce that to kind of a preliminary warm opening, bring out the business to market to a select group of buyers, you know, we do have, in addition to our outreach to go and find and research that we do on buyers, we talked buyers every day.

So we have our own network and database of buyers that we we talked to and we always like to talk to buyers, and you know, understand what they’re looking for as well. Even though we don’t represent them, but you know, yeah, but so we know, they they want to be on our list when we go out on these campaigns to say that don’t expect it to be private or exclusive. You know, those guys who are really prepared? Well, the buyer business, you know, so we talked to them as well.

And, you know, a little test market might just get us to okay, why didn’t we wait, you know, we’ll just we’ll just roll this out to 60 buyers right now that we know, or we’ve done some research on it, you know, wanted to look at and with the feedback we get from that, if we if it doesn’t go forward, we can go back to the client and adjust. Yeah, you know, yeah. Work on the things we need to do to get it to, to a yes. And and also assess to that maybe we were fishing in the wrong waters, you know, so it’s not perfect science.

 

Damon Pistulka  23:25

Yeah. You know, it’s you know, it is interesting, though, it is interesting, because if you think about where you were what you were talking about before, a, you know, basically putting something in a classified ad or listing on a listing site, whenever years ago, to what we have today, when we have the databases that are that are, you know,

PE or public databases that allow us to find every private equity, every search fund buyer, every blah, blah, blah, that has taken the time to to list and those listing sites, you would think that with the access to the information, it would make it much easier to sell a business. But do you really think that it’s gotten any easier?

 

Andrew Cross  24:14

know, I, you know, and I think part of that is, you know, there’s a lot more buyers out there than sellers, there’s a lot more money to buy the, you know, the capital that has been raised to put towards buying businesses, there aren’t enough businesses that meet the criteria of those. For one, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of different reasons. And that’s, of course, you know, when you do your pre market work, and we do that with our clients to or we have to assess what that is and it helps us know where we’re going

 

Damon Pistulka  24:45

and prepare in the business. Yeah, yeah, because I because I guess you would think based on the way these directories, the websites that are listing now and we’re just should the information exchanged be easier. So you should theoretically be able to get your business farther faster. It just still, it come, like you said it comes down to buyers are very particular about what they want. And when they have to spend millions of dollars, it adds, that means they’re gonna be particular about buying what they want. Basically,

 

Andrew Cross  25:23

she was I mean, you know, and he doesn’t care acquisition activity is, you know, the higher the value of the business, the less transactions there are. Yeah, that just makes sense, right. So, you know, your businesses under, you know, business deals under 2 million in revenue, at the low oil, as a lot of them, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of activity there. And some of its, you know, just merely buying assets, and, you know, moving money around, because, you know, there isn’t a lot of value in some of those businesses.

But there is a lot of them. So there’s a significant amount of volume. And then as you go up the food chain, as it were, you know, the, the bigger the company deal gets, you know, but, you know, I was just talking, we were just at an m&a conference, I mean, one of the really good buying group, you know, private equity group manager, I was talking to him, and he’s been coming to our, our conference, this is where the brokers all hang out.

And yeah, he’s been a sponsor there. And he’s he spent significant source development to try and find deals, but you know, and he’s one of the bigger ones a better ones. Good buying group. And they’ve been the, you know, they’d been with our group for 15 years, and they’ve sourced 17 deals. Yeah, he thinks that’s great. That’s a lot of deals. So, you know, we’re just not I want a high volume.

 

Damon Pistulka  26:43

There’s just not a lot of there’s not a lot of businesses that meet the requirements for the buyers.

 

Andrew Cross  26:49

Yeah. And in some cases, you know, that’s back to the sellers. Again, preparing your material. Yeah, to have something you can’t just it’s not Yeah, we can’t put lipstick on a pig. Yeah. But you know, if you want to get the money like that, to that in your business plan needs to be you need to, you know, talk to these those buyers, they’ll they’ll talk, you know, they’ll show you exactly what they want to buy. So, then look at yourself and say, How close am I to that? Yeah,

 

Damon Pistulka  27:18

that is one of the things that being turned down by a few buyers will give you what you need to know, to that you need to fix in your business, if you are not successful in selling it? Yeah.

 

Andrew Cross  27:30

Well, you know, they’re all for it. Because, you know, their objective is they want to buy your business, you know, but they that, you know, but they want you know, so if you go back and get to work in your strategy, like I said, this is part of its that’s what’s integral to exit your way. It’s just like, think about this ahead of time. But if you can get to here, yeah, then you can you can you can be that guy, you know, that person that, you know, sold their, their business and an 8x or 9x. Yeah, lived, you know, happily ever after? Yeah,

 

Damon Pistulka  27:58

yeah, that’s, that’s for sure. And learning that learning that repairing, and then the proper process and marketing and for the sale, that business to connect the right buyers to the opportunity is really key. Well,

 

Andrew Cross  28:13

I tell you, I know, that’s one thing I just want to add to that, too, is the buyers too, are happy to pay more. Yes, yeah, happy to pay more they would they don’t want to they don’t want to be in the decision. Okay, I don’t have I love that, you know, I had a I had a, you know, I had a bumpy road here in the past, I lost my marketing, you know, executive, dada, you know, whatever reasons and Okay, so I’ll sell it to you for this instead.

That’s not how they operate. They don’t they don’t they don’t discount for, you know, the warts that, you know, they have, they would much rather pay a higher multiple for a solid, you know, management team that comes through and yeah, all these other factors that are involved.

And, you know, and I think we’re doing a deal like that right now, where we’re actually merging, you know, several small companies together, because individually, they would, you know, the buyers, you know, they wouldn’t actually wouldn’t even pay at all for them individually ala carte, but together, you know, when they put them all together, they’re happy to say, you know, even though that would be cheaper, yes.

Right. It would be cheaper for them just to buy up less money, they would rather pay more than to have them all rolled up together and operating with a good operating management team, because that’s what they’re looking for.

 

Damon Pistulka  29:27

Yep. Yep. That’s a good point. It’s a really good point. To talk about two is that buyers want to pay the money for it. They just don’t want to pay bad money for anything. Yeah, pay money for anything bad. There we go. Yeah. And that’s, that’s a key thing. Because in marketing your business, you can’t just say, Well, you know, if we had everything fixed, we’d be worth $10 million. But since we don’t we’re gonna sell it for seven. Yeah, that’s that’s a that’s a no you won’t you won’t get sold that

 

Andrew Cross  29:58

way. Yeah. And you You know, it that’s that, you know, it’s a zero sum, it just means your, your deal is probably not going to be done. But, again, those kinds of things, it’s not like they have to be completely fixed. It’s just that, you know, that’s about disclosure and about awareness. You know, everybody has these kinds of things, you know, in, if you can prove it’s just a temporary thing, or, you know, we know this happened, we’re doing this, and this is our actual plan, this is our projections from that going forward. You know, then you can still sell your business, so it’s

 

Damon Pistulka  30:31

not, yeah, we all dealt with the COVID. Bomb.

 

Andrew Cross  30:37

It’s a perfect grater, whatever,

 

Damon Pistulka  30:38

whatever happened.

 

Andrew Cross  30:39

I mean, people Yeah, exactly. I’ve got businesses right now that were pre COVID Did you know, did you know? Boom, 20% 20%, boom, had a really bad year, and then back up down there, now that they they’re trending, they’ve actually recovered and now are trending up, you know, recovering and going to asset.

All that’s forgotten. You know, these are called, these are called, you know, as long as you know, you, you present it that way, you know, here it was, and those are called, you know, one time events, you know, those kinds of things, little disaster, we’re sitting nuts. That doesn’t, you know, that’s not going to kill your deal. Yeah,

 

Damon Pistulka  31:18

yeah. And that’s all part of putting the marketing materials together the right way. So that, that buyers understand that, and you’ve, you’ve properly explained it.

So, but I just want to, you know, want to wrap up here, because this is great to be able to talk about, you know, prepare your materials before you go out, go out with a targeted approach to make sure that you get out there you can, you know, target approached, find your best buyers fishing approach on some of the listing sites you can do. And then, you know, before you do that, make sure your business what you learn is getting incorporated or you fix it ahead of time, because it’s a zero sum game.

 

Andrew Cross  31:59

Yeah. Let’s, let’s listen to the buyer. You know, get their feedback, you know, go for the know. Yeah. And find out but always find out why, just like you do in your business every day. Yeah. It’s no different. You listen, if you don’t listen to your customer, you’re you’re not going to have a business anyways.

 

Damon Pistulka  32:15

Yep. Yep. Good stuff. Well, Andrew, thanks for stopping by today sharing your thoughts on marketing and business for sale. I want to thank everyone else who was listening, and continues to listen to what we talked about. And we will be back again later this week. Thanks, everyone. Thanks. You bet.

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