Unless you’re primarily a business flipper, having an exit plan might be the last thing on your mind when starting a business. However, experts advise that you should always run a saleable business at any point in time. This is because you have to be strategic to build a business that can bring you top dollar in the event you want to sell.
As a matter of fact, only 20% of businesses that go up for sale each year sell. This could be partly due to a surplus of similar businesses on sale versus low demand. But in most cases, it’s because most on-sale businesses have a low ROI (return on investment) potential, shunned by investors.
In a nutshell, you should build a saleable business from the get-go, whether you plan to sell or not. By so doing, the business will be more attractive to buyers and fetch top dollar if you decide to dispose of it. Actually, large corporations are always looking for successful businesses to acquire. Meaning that if you build a saleable business, the buyers might come to you instead of looking for them.
So, how can you achieve this? Let’s find out how to Create a Saleable Business.
What Are the Qualities of a Saleable Business?
As much as a business is an investment, when and why you sell it can determine how much you fetch from it. Sometimes, you might not find a buyer at all.
For instance, if the business’s profitability goes down or stops being profitable altogether, you might think selling is a good idea. But on the contrary, that’s the worst time to put it up for sale.
That’s because no one will want it if you’re not deriving any value from the business. And even if you happen to find a buyer, they’re likely to discount it so much that the sale won’t be worth the efforts you have put in over the years.
Essentially, there are certain qualities a business should have to be saleable. These include;
Buyers prioritize a business’s financial performance when considering a purchase. This is expected since no one would be interested in a venture that does not yield a reasonable ROI.
For this reason, you should work to make your business profitable before selling it. If you can clearly demonstrate the business profitability and positive cash flows potential with actual figures, then you stand to get a better price.
The other quality that interests buyers is the growth potential of a business. A venture that’s scalable stands to fetch more on the market.
Generally, you should have a continuous growth and expansion strategy in place. In addition to growing your business, potential buyers will find it worth buying, thanks to the income upside.
Diversified Client Base
Large clients are treasured as they bring in good business. However, potential buyers might be turned off if you only have a few of those taking a large percentage of your client base. If the clients decide to pull off, it can risk business continuity.
To make your business desirable and avoid getting discounted, you should diversify by getting several such clients.
A business with recurring revenue makes a good deal for buyers. For instance, if customers have subscribed to your products or services, or you have monetized your website, and it brings a considerable amount of passive income, your business will be more attractive to buyers. The more passive income it generates, the higher the price you can get.
Most people pride themselves on being the face and pillar of their businesses. However, when it comes to selling, this backfires on them. At any time, buyers purchase businesses capable of performing well without the owner. That’s why it’s essential to have a strong management team running the business.
Even if your business is just a small venture, if you haven’t set it up to make money without your involvement, then you risk being discounted. To make the business autonomous, you need to start delegating responsibilities to employees and set up systems to cut off the dependence.
How to Create a Saleable Business Using Your Website
Having looked at the aspects that improve the saleability of a business, here is how you can kick-start the process.
1. Develop a 5-Year Plan
While it’s possible to prep your business for sale within three to six months, consider creating a long-term exit plan if you’re not in a rush to sell it. Draft a 5-year plan detailing your targets and the strategies for achieving those targets.
To begin with, set up the operations to allow the business to function without your involvement. Then ensure your management team or employees (for small businesses) can deliver on the business objectives without you by delegating responsibilities and training them accordingly.
On the same note, creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) and documenting the processes is vital. This ensures that anyone who assumes the business can consult the SOPs to continue running it. Here you can create manuals or how-to videos for all your business processes.
2. Build Scalable Traffic Sources
Where does your website traffic come from? You may want to create more sources if it’s mainly from paid search. For instance, if you rely primarily on paid search, there would be no room to scale once you exhaust all related keywords.
Diversifying always helps, and many buyers prefer a business with various traffic sources, which translates into a constant flow of leads. Ensure you invest in organic traffic growth strategies such as optimizing your on-page and off-page SEO, listing your site on directories, optimizing your online presence for local SEO, growing your social following, etc.
As the leads keep flowing from different sources, your business growth potential increases alongside. Ultimately, this can attract potential buyers when your time for selling arrives.
3. Create Unique Content Consistently
Publishing unique content regularly can distinguish you as a thought leader in your industry, which is beneficial in many ways. One is that it gets more audience on your website, boosting your brand awareness. It also builds trust among your existing and potential customers, making it possible to close more leads.
The other benefit is that it builds business credibility and can help influence the decision of buyers when you decide to sell. Generally, great content is a sure way of establishing your brand authority, which you can use to your advantage to quote a higher selling price for the goodwill thereof.
4. Polish Up Your Website Design
It’s no secret that website design impacts the user experience. If a site’s layout does not allow for easy navigation, losing qualified traffic is highly probable. A high bounce rate also impacts your ranking negatively. Consequently, this can slow down your business, affect your online influence, and generally lower brand perception.
For this reason, you want to be always at the top of your game by ensuring your website design is crisp and flawless. You should also keep running regular website audits to ensure there are no broken links, as these lead to lost traffic and affect ranking as well.
In a nutshell, a website that provides a smooth user experience is good for your brand image and business growth, and buyers lookout for this to gauge your credibility.
5. Establish a Solid Online Presence
The Internet has become a basic source of information whenever one wants to buy something. For instance, when transacting with someone, especially online, the first inclination is always to check their online profiles to learn more about them.
If someone doesn’t have any social profiles or their accounts are inactive, it always raises concerns, and a person might change their mind altogether. A competitor with an active online presence would appear more genuine, even if their product or service is of lower quality.
For this reason, ensure you establish your social presence from the get-go and always keep your profiles active. This allows you to connect with prospects, expand your brand awareness, and provide credibility to potential buyers when you’re ready to flip the business.
6. Run a ‘Clean’ Website
Despite the dangers of engaging in SEO malpractices to boost ranking, many people still take shortcuts. However, this is a path you don’t want to take, especially if you intend to sell. Before buyers agree to buy your business, they will most likely carry out their due diligence, including performing a website audit. If they uncover any malpractices, such as buying backlinks, you may end up losing a potential sale.
Even if they don’t, if Google discovers what you have been up to, you may suffer de-indexing, which is a costly penalty. And if this happens before you sell the business, you might not be able to sell at all.
Before you create a saleable business, get ready to Prep Your Website.
As earlier mentioned, you should build a saleable business from the get-go, even if you have no intentions of selling. That’s because a saleable business is a profitable venture. Moreover, the autonomy of such a business can allow you more time to discover other interests as it does not rely on you.
Not sure where to begin? We can help you. At PixelFish, we delight in creating beautiful websites for better business. Contact us today for a free consultation.