In any negotiation, being the person who makes the first move usually puts you at a slight disadvantage. First-movers tip their hand, revealing just how much he or she wants the asset being negotiated.
Likewise, when considering the sale of your business, it is always nice to be courted rather than being the one doing the courting. The good news is that the chances of getting an unsolicited offer from someone wanting to buy your business are actually increasing.
According to the Q1, 2017 Sellability Tracker analysis, you’re about 10% more likely to get an offer to buy your business today than you were in 2016.
Big companies are buying little ones for a lot of reasons, and the current market conditions are accelerating their appetite. When interest rates are low and stock markets are high, acquirers have the ideal platform to realize a return on their investment from buying a business like yours.
So how do you ensure you are on an acquirer’s shopping list? Here are five ways to get noticed:
- Win an award
Getting recognized as the “Widget Maker of the Year” by the Widget Makers Association is a great way to get the attention of acquirers in your industry.
- Invest in a PR professional
Engaging a public relations professional to tell your story to the media can put you on the radar of buyers in your industry. A lot of public relations professionals focus on the big mainstream publications, and these are important, but you must also ensure that your PR firm also targets trade publications and industry-specific websites read by acquirers in your industry.
- Host an event
Hosting an event such as a conference, trade show or summit for your industry is a good way to get acquirers to notice you as an industry leader. Personally invite representatives from potential acquiring businesses to attend: they will find his very flattering and initiates a personal relationship.
- Join a board
Serve on a board of directors with an executive from a company you think would make a natural buyer for your business. This is a great way to get noticed by an acquirer without having to announce your business is for sale.
- Grab lunch
Inviting a senior executive from a potential acquirer to join you for a meal under the guise of discussing trends in your industry is also a great way to get noticed. Your lunch mate may realize that your company could play a key role in helping them grow. If not, you might still glean some useful information about how big companies are seeing the evolution of your industry.
The sale of your business is a delicate dance where it is usually better to be the courted, rather than the courter. Acquirers are on the hunt for new businesses, and having them notice you will put you in a position of strength when you get to sit down at the negotiation table.
Credit: SWP Connect