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In the same way that many businesses work hard to increase the sale of their goods or services, the process of selling a business online can be optimised to help you make the most of your offering. Whether you need to close quickly or you want to squeeze the most profit from the sale of your SME, taking a more strategic approach to the preparation and completion of your business sale will allow you to succeed according to your own set of specific goals.

Here, we take a look at 5 key strategic points that will help you enjoy a quicker, smoother, and more profitable sale.

Prepare an exit plan

Many experts will tell new business owners that a detailed exit plan is a key component of a business plan. In other words, an exit plan should be compiled as part of your initial strategy for success, growing and becoming more complex as your business does. From succession planning to folding your business in the event of failure, your exit plan should include your desired approach to ending your involvement in the company. Additionally, it should include contingency plans that deal with undesired outcomes alongside a comprehensive look at your selling strategy.

The benefits of implementing an exit plan are multifarious. Firstly, you will have a concrete idea of when and how your involvement with your SME will end, allowing you to set specific goals for the kind of profit you want to take home. Secondly, an exit plan will allow you the optimal amount of preparation time to sell your business, leading seamlessly to our next point.

Streamline operations

It’s somewhat obvious to state that to optimise the sale of any business, then the business should be running optimally. However, many sellers are under the mistaken impression that getting out quickly when the going is poor and unprofitable is the way forward. Essentially, this approach will ensure you make a poor return from the sale of your business and ultimately leave it behind with plenty of regrets. However, even if you must unload a business due to poor performance or falling profits, there’s plenty of ways to ensure it has the very best chance of selling successfully.

As mentioned above, your exit plan should include ways to prepare your business for sale. This, in turn, should lead to the optimisation of your daily operations. You should renovate well-worn shops or other premises, create new advertising material or refresh old marketing ideas, ensure licences and permits are up-to-date and take any other measures to ensure that your SME is running without issue.

Advertise online

Advertising online through marketplaces is the ideal way to reach the largest audience of potential buyers. Put simply, the more interested parties you have in your business, the more likely you are to sell – and sell at a good price too! In order to create compelling adverts online, you should include a comprehensive business description with your USPs and any other pertinent information that buyers may take an interest in.

Your advert should also include high-quality pictures that depict things like your business premises, location, equipment offered in the sale, and any other important or attractive imagery. Key documents should be added so that buyers can quickly and easily see your offer is legitimate, and finally, you should be updating your advert regularly to reflect  improvements that you are making – a particularly important point considering businesses can take many months to sell.

Leverage social media

While you might want to keep a modicum of confidentiality surrounding the sale of your business, social media can still be leveraged in ways other than bringing attention to your advert. These days, the importance of social media for small businesses is no secret, and everyone should be leveraging this free marketing tool to gain exposure. If you are selling your business, then don’t neglect these platforms, in fact, try and grow them as much as possible. Creating greater interest in your business even during the sales process is a great way to lure in potential buyers.

Naturally, you can also use places like Facebook or Twitter to link directly back to your online advertisement and still keep the more sensitive points of your offering private until you have pre-qualified your buyers. Most advertising tools will offer confidentiality settings that hide information from potential buyers until they have fulfilled certain requirements.

Negotiate firmly but carefully

The negotiating process of any sale can be tricky and, as a seller, it is very easy to go into talks in too bullish a manner. This can be a recipe for disaster, scaring off potential buyers and causing the collapse of sales talks. Of course, the other side of the coin, where sellers are too meek to negotiate at all, will also leave you disadvantaged. Striking a balance at this stage then is critical to the successful sale of your small business.

Again, your exit plan will come in handy here, giving you clear goals to achieve and a defined framework in which to operate during discussions. This should help guide you through negotiations and allow you to be firm enough to achieve your goals without throwing caution to the wind and scaring off your buyers.