You’ve decided to sell a business. Your next step is to hire a business broker who knows your industry, and who can help you set realistic expectations as you move through the sale process. One of the most important aspects of this sale will be getting an accurate valuation. If you’re hoping to increase business value, or you’ve already gotten a business valuation that was disappointing, take heart. There are still some things you can do to generate extra value that can attract the attention of the right kind of buyer—if, and only if, you have time and a willingness to put your all into increasing value.
These five tactics can help you increase business value ahead of a merger or acquisition.
Identify and Focus on Key Value Drivers
What makes your business valuable? In what ways does it stand out over your competition? If you’re drawing a blank or thinking in broad terms, it’s time to spend some time getting specific. These key value drivers are the areas where you need to focus on growth and innovation.
Strengthen Your Team
A buyer isn’t just buying your company. They’re investing in your people. Is that investment a good one? Or do you have a lot of dead weight hanging around? Now is the time to ensure you have the right people in each and every role. This might mean hiring, firing, and reorganizing. It might mean additional management training. And it almost certainly means identifying which employees are irreplaceable. Often, the title of an employee does not accurately reflect their value. So if you have people with important institutional knowledge or social capital upon whom you’ll depend during a merger, make sure you incentivize them to stick around.
Generate Recurring Revenue
Recurring revenue offers significant security, especially during market swings and difficult financial times. Can you create subscription services, memberships, or other exclusive benefits that use auto-billing? If so, you immediately become a less risky business proposition. You may also increase revenues. A business broker may be able to help you identify potential areas of recurring revenue, even if you think your business model is not a good fit for a subscription service.
Reduce Owner Dependence
You might think that having a hand in everything your business does means your company will be well run. But to a buyer, excessive dependence on the owner makes a business a bad investment that will inevitably lose value when the owner leaves. Spend some time training your team so they can run the business in your absence. You just might enjoy the break, too.
Attract the Right Kind of Attention
Brand reputation is everything, especially in a cultural climate where social media leads everything. So do what you can to become a brand leader. Build a strong and compelling social media presence. Send staff to important industry conferences. Innovate. Buyers don’t want businesses that are treading water and hoping for the best. They want companies with strong growth opportunities and plenty of industry clout.