In any negotiation, the person who ‘makes the first move’ is usually put at a slight disadvantage. The instigator shows their hand and reveals just how much he or she desires the asset being negotiated. When considering the sale of your own business, it is nice to be courted rather than being the one doing the courting. The good news for potential business-sellers today is that the chances of getting an unsolicited offer from someone wanting to buy your business are actually increasing.
Big companies are buying smaller ones for many reasons, and current market conditions are accelerating their appetite for growth: interest rates are at historically-low levels and stock markets are high. This is truly a perfect storm which provides ideal circumstances for acquirers to realize a return on their investment when buying a business like yours. So how do you ensure you’re on their shopping list? In today’s Exit to Success blog, we present five ways to get noticed by an acquirer:
1. Win an Award
Getting recognized by receiving an Industry Award really raises your profile to potential acquirers. Investigate awards currently offered through your industry association and engage a specialist to design a successful application. Becoming the “Widget Maker of the Year” by the Widget Makers Association is a great way to get the attention of acquirers in your industry. Put any ‘tall poppy syndrome’ aside, and be ready to toot your own horn.
2. Grab Lunch
A networking lunch, that is. Consider inviting a senior executive from a potential acquirer to share a meal under the guise of discussing trends in your industry. At the very least, you may glean some useful information about how big companies are seeing your industry evolve. At best, your lunch mate may realize that your company could play a key role in helping them grow.
3. Hire PR
Engaging a public relations professional to help tell your story to the media can get you on the radar of buyers in your industry. Many media relations professionals focus on big mainstream publications, and while these are important, ensure that your PR firm also targets trade publication and industry-specific websites that are read by acquirers in your industry.
4. Host an Event
Consider hosting an event (e.g. a conference, tradeshow, summit or workshop) for your industry and invite representatives from potential acquirers to attend. Being invited to an industry event can be flattering for acquirers and it is a good way to get them to notice you as an industry leader.
5. Undertake Guerrilla Marketing
Develop a social media campaign to challenge the status quo – a la Uber – and create buzz around your business. Your business should be viewed as an innovator and a thought leader by disrupting the norm with something unexpected and remarkable. If executed intelligently, this will ensure that key players in your industry sit up and take notice.
The sale of your business is a delicate dance: buyers are on the hunt for new businesses, and having them notice you of their own volition will put you in a position of strength when you get to sit down at the negotiation table.