I chat with various business owners every day and hear of a variety of businesses in nearly every imaginable business sector. The businesses that give the best first impression are those that appear well organized, are relatively clean, and where the business owner has books and records readily available. This gives me an indication that the business is most likely well run and that the owner has given some thought and preparation to the idea of selling his/her business.
What is the first thing people do when they decide to sell their car? Many take the car and have it professionally detailed. Those that don’t have it professionally detailed at least either take it to the car wash for a wash and wax, or spend the time and energy to wash and wax it themselves. Will anyone pay top dollar for a car with layers of dirt and bird droppings crusted into the paint? Not likely.
What do people do when they are going to sell their house? Many times they will paint the house, do a bit of landscaping and clean things up so the house shows well. Will anyone pay top dollar for a house that is dirty and cluttered with foot high weeds in the lawn? Not likely.
When it comes to business, the psychology is pretty much the same. I have seen manufacturing shops so clean you could eat off the floor. And, I have seen shops so filthy I didn’t want to sit, lean against, or touch anything. Interestingly enough it seems to be the latter where the business owners insist their business should command top dollar.
A buyer is not going to pay top dollar for a business that appears dirty, cluttered, disorganized and has either no books and records or records that make little to no sense.
GABB member Loren Schmerler recommends that before putting a business on the market, the owner should fix all interior and exterior problems. Fix parking lot holes, replace dead shrubbery, clean the windows, fix the roof and/or paint the exterior to enhance curb appeal. Fix stained ceilings, replace light bulbs, repair and repaint walls, get workers to clean their desks.
“When the buyer tours your business, you want them to visualize becoming the owner and being proud to do so,” advises Schmerler.
The bottom line is that as a business owner, investing a few thousand dollars to have a professional work with you in preparing your business for sale will in most cases give you tens of thousands of dollars or more in return.
This article is taken from the BizBen blog. Peter Siegel is the Founder & President Of BizBen.com & BizBenNetwork.com (National version). He consults daily with intermediaries, buyers, owner/sellers & advisors daily about buying and selling businesses.Read More