By Greg Younts, CMAI, GABB Broker
A unique challenge of selling your business is that you cannot advertise certain confidential details about the business, and yet you have to target and attract the attention of the right buyers. Specific details about the business such as business name, exact location and unique products or services offered typically cannot be revealed to the public. It could be disastrous if employees, customers, competitors or other third parties discovered the business is for sale. So, how do you confidentially market your business for sale and attract the attention of the right buyers? In an article for the Atlanta Small Business Network, Greg described several possible options for developing a successful confidential marketing plan for taking your business to market, and you develop a custom plan that will best fit your unique business.
Your marketing plan and associated marketing documents should highlight what is unique about your business without revealing so much information that you risk compromising confidentiality. Second, you identify who would be the most likely buyers and structure your marketing plan and message to get the attention of these buyers. The right buyer could be an individual, another business, Private Equity Group and/or other possible groups of investors. And third, you determine the best strategy to get in front of your potential buyers.
If an appropriate method for taking your business to market is to advertise to the public; using business listing websites, business trade journals, trade shows or any other appropriate advertising medium can be effective. Or, a more targeted marketing strategy might be best for your business. You may know specific buyers who would be interested in your business, and industry research can be performed to identify a list of potential buyers within your industry. In this targeted approach, the best strategy may be a proactive direct mail and phone campaign to contact this group of buyer prospects. It also might be appropriate to execute a broader strategy that includes both public advertising and targeting a select group of buyer prospects.
Regardless of the marketing strategy that is right for your business, key tools that could be used in this process are some form of public advertisement and/or business profile that is often referred to as the “blind profile”. The profile is blind because it does not reveal confidential information, but does provide key facts about the operations and financial performance of the business that buyers need to see. Multiple versions of the blind profile might be required for your business if different types of buyer prospects are contacted. A blind profile typically contains more information about your business than a public ad. It is often sent to a buyer after they respond to an ad and is sometimes included with a letter in a direct mail campaign.
The most widely used form of public advertising for businesses on the market are the business listing websites. The Georgia Association of Business Brokers maintains a website where its members list businesses for sale in Georgia, and other businesses for sale by GABB brokers. This site and others allow business owners the flexibility to provide a comprehensive profile of their business without disclosing confidential information. Buyers mau search for businesses by criteria such as type of industry, geographic location, sale price, annual revenue, cash flow, availability of owner financing, etc.. And, there is the option to search by keywords to find a very specific type of business.
An experienced business broker knows how to write a listing site ad that will best describe your business such that it will be found and read by the right buyers. Too often, business owners provide a very poor description of their business. In my experience, business buyers are often frustrated by how difficult it is to find businesses that are accurately described with the key information they need to see if it is a business they want to pursue. This is one of the major reasons why some businesses do not generate strong buyer interest or catch the attention of the right buyers on listing sites.
Experienced business brokers and M&A professionals can help you develop a marketing plan and the related documents. They know how best to describe your business in an advertisement and blind profile, and make sure it reaches the right buyer audience. They know what appeals to buyers and how to make your business standout as an exceptional acquisition opportunity. They know how to impress and capture the attention of C-level executives, Private Equity Groups and individual buyers. And, as buyers express interest in the business, brokers know how to engage with buyers to further determine if they are qualified in terms of background, skills, experience, interest level and financial profile.
Top business brokerage and M&A firms have marketing and industry research staff to support their brokers in developing the marketing plan, blind profile and other marketing documents that will be used for their clients. They have access to various sources of industry data sometimes needed for identifying a list of potential buyers for a business. These firms have also developed several third party relationships that give their clients the best and broadest possible exposure to top buyers in the marketplace. They have relationships and affiliations with various state, national and international Business Brokerage and M&A associations. And, they are in contact with thousands of Private Equity Groups, corporations and other possible sources of buyers.
The successful confidential sale of your business largely depends on developing and executing the right marketing plan for your unique business. Failure to take a business to market the right way has resulted in businesses not selling or businesses being sold well below market value. If you are selling your business and need expert guidance through the confidential process, you should consider the services of a business broker. The investment in the services of a business broker could result in recognizing an after-tax gain on the sale of your business that will easily justify the broker’s fee.
Greg Younts is a Certified M&A Intermediary and has more than 30 years of experience working for companies in sales, marketing, and management capacities. He started his career in the information technology field where he focused on the design and sales of strategic technology solutions to meet the needs of companies that range in size from small business to the Fortune 100. He has served companies in every major industry throughout North America.Read More
Find out how your business-for-sale offering memorandum can help attract buyers and obtain financing by attending the Feb. 19 meeting of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers.
Stephen “Steve” Mariani, owner of Diamond Financial Services and a board member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), will speak to business brokers about compiling a listing memorandum. The GABB, an IBBA affiliate, is the state’s premier organization dedicated to professionals who buy and sell businesses in Georgia. The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m., preceded at 9:45 a.m. by a free continental breakfast and networking session sponsored by GABB Affiliate Chris Fonzi of Logic Environmental, Inc. The GABB meets at the auditorium of the Georgia Association of Realtors building at 6065 Barfield Road, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328. GABB’s meetings are free and open to the public; please fill out the form below to attend the meeting as a guest.
Mr. Mariani will discuss what buyers look for in a business-for-sale listing, and why lenders read your offering memorandum. A complete and comprehensive memorandum is not only a great advertising tool, but lenders use them for internal write-ups. He will also cover items to be sure you leave out of your offering memorandum.
Mr. Mariani’s company has helped small business owners realize their dreams by funding more than $1 billion in acquisition loans during the past 24 years. Diamond has become largest privately owned non-bank SBA acquisition loan generator in the nation serving only the broker markets. Steve has also been producing and presenting broker training webinars and workshops for the last 11 years at various conference events.
After witnessing the difficulty and challenges some business buyers experienced securing business loans to acquire a business, Mr. Mariani learned the intricate, complicated world of the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan process. He mastered the SBA SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) rules and regulations and has become a major source for many national lenders. Business Brokers, lenders and owners nationwide seek Steve’s advice and he has become the “expert” in SBA loans. His understanding of SBA rules also allows for providing the most aggressive financing available nationwide.
The GABB is the state’s largest and oldest association of professionals who specialize in brokering the purchase and sale of businesses and franchises. Broker members help owners determine the asking price of their business, create marketing plans and strategies for selling their business, identify and qualify buyers, and have the knowledge, experience and skills needed to help maintain the confidential nature of the process. The professionals of GABB relentlessly pursue professional development so they can provide superior, ethical services for all customers and clients. Affiliate members include bankers, lawyers, appraisers, insurers and other professionals who work closely with brokers to help owners and buyers get to the closing table.
For more information about GABB, please contact GABB President Dean Burnette at 912-247-3209 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or GABB Executive Director Diane Loupe at email@example.com or 404-374-3990.
If you are not a GABB member and wish to attend the meeting, please fill out this form. GABB meetings are free and open to the public.
Georgia enjoyed an excellent year for economic development in 2019. The Georgia Department of Economic Development released an online “Year in Review” highlighting the state’s accomplishments.
In January 2020, Georgia was named No. 1 for workforce development in Site Selection Magazine’s 2020 Workforce Development Rankings for the South Atlantic Region.
Record job and employment numbers were announced for 2019, too. Georgia set a record for total number of jobs at 4.65 million, our unemployment rate reached another historic low of 3.2%, and our workforce reached 5.13 million – another record high. Take a look at a digital copy of our FY19 Year in Review for more GDEcD highlights and success stories.
These accomplishments are clear evidence that Georgia’s comprehensive, team-focused approach is working. Our status as the No. 1 state to live, play and do business has been well-earned!Read More
Atlanta –Georgia earned the top ranking for workforce development in the South Atlantic Region, according to Site Selection Magazine’s 2020 Workforce Development Rankings.
Site Selection is an internationally circulated business publication focusing on corporate real estate and economic development. In November 2019, the publication also ranked Georgia the number one state for business for a record-breaking seventh consecutive year.
In the announcement, Site Selection Editor Mark Arend pointed to ranking factors “relative to other states in the same region based on five national and objective measures” such as depth of the labor pool, availability of certified applicants for job openings, and legislatures that are committed to funding workforce programs.
“As I’ve said in communities throughout the Peach State, the hardworking Georgians who make up our workforce are the foundation of our competitive edge in attracting business – both in the Southeast and across the country,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “I’m excited that Site Selection Magazine has recognized yet another reason why Georgia is the best state in which to live, work, and raise a family.
“Working hand in hand, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, and our leading workforce development program, Georgia Quick Start, have produced a top-notch workforce that companies can count on to get the job done. Looking ahead, we are committed to working with our partners throughout state government and in local communities to ensure that more businesses call Georgia home and continue to create opportunities for families throughout our state.”
Site Selection’s rankings are based on a combination of factors, including CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2019, Workforce and Education sub-ranking; Forbes’ most recent Best States for Business Labor Supply sub-ranking; U.S. News’ Best States for Education rankings; ACT National Career Readiness Certificates rankings; and the workforce preparation and development component of the State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
“Workforce development is the number one issue for so many of the companies that we work with, and business decision-makers understand that training programs like our No. 1 Georgia Quick Start offer a readily available workforce that will help their businesses not only meet their goals, but carry them to new heights,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia’s partnership approach is working to support economic development across our entire state and keep it attractive to businesses and job creators. This exciting news is a great way to start a new year as we continue generating hope and new opportunities for Georgians.”
Georgia has long received recognition from leading companies and site consultants for its attractive business climate. The state’s workforce training program, Georgia Quick Start, is the best program in the United States. Logistics hubs like the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connect businesses to their consumers across the globe, and the state’s pro-business policies make Georgia a competitive option for companies looking to locate or expand.
In fiscal year 2019 alone, the Georgia Department of Economic Development supported the creation of nearly 29,000 new jobs through the location of 332 projects, 74 percent of which were located ou
tside of metro Atlanta.Read More
GABB Board member Matt Wochele and his partner, J. Snypp, met Wednesday with six new members. The group spoke about the listing process and the follow up to managing a listing. Matt and J. shared some stories of listings; both are Million Dollar Club veterans. The brokers covered things that are expected and common and also how to handle the unexpected. Matt will host another informal Q&A session after the Feb. 19 GABB meeting.Read More