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  • Writer's pictureJason Huett

How to Develop the Right Mindset to Sell Your Business

Man thinking at his desk

During the first 15 years of my career, I operated a multi-site chain of martial arts schools in Dane County, Wisconsin. The most enjoyable part of my job was the technical part — teaching the martial arts. If you own a business, chances are you can relate to loving the technical work in your business.

Through this experience I became adept at breaking complex concepts into bite-sized pieces. This was a critical skill because student ages ranged from 4 years old to 65+. Students came from different cultures, had different learning styles, and were motivated by different teaching styles.

However, breaking complex concepts down worked for every student almost without exception. During this article, I am going to apply the same teaching methodology to the process of selling a business.

If you're a business owner thinking about selling, you likely feel a bit overwhelmed by the unknown. This is natural — it's similar to the first business you started when you didn't know what you didn't know. I'm here to tell you that if you operate a successful business, you have the most important part already mastered: mindset. However, many business owners don't recognize the fact that they have this transferable skill.

Know Your Audience

Let's start with your business. You either sell a product, service, or both, right? I'm guessing that you have a general Target Audience or Persona who typically buys those products and services. It's not to say that every customer is the same, but there are likely similarities amongst many of your customers.

The same applies to selling your business. Just like you have a Target Audience as your customer base, so too must you define the type of buyer you want to attract in the sale of your business. Do your best to get away from the "anyone with the funds is a buyer" mentality. We want to aim high — we want a buyer with the funds, but also with the correct mindset; a passion to continue to build the legacy you worked so hard to build yourself.

Answer this Question

Next, answer this question: How do you attract new customers to your business? Chances are, you use some of the following tools: paid advertisements, social media, the web, word-of-mouth, referral marketing and direct mail. You may be thinking, "So, I should use these tools to market my business?" It's not quite that easy — the same tools and tactics may not work, but this is the mindset needed.

Business man holding a magnet

The takeaway is this: you found a way to attract customers to your business. Conceptually, the same mindset can be applied in this circumstance. The tools and execution used to market your business may be different, but we're still attempting to (1) attract prospects, (2) engage those prospects, and (3) move them closer to purchase if there is a good fit.

The job of a business broker is to handle this work for you, but it goes a level deeper. Your business broker needs to select the appropriate marketing strategies, tools, and tactics to maximize the chances that qualified buyers are seeing your business listing. They need to leverage digital tools, specifically, database research and marketing tools to focus their efforts and get your business in front of the right prospects. By doing so, you will waste less time and improve the quality of prospect that you engage with during the process.

The Interview

Another process most business owners understand well is the recruitment and hiring process. Many of the same strategies you have practiced dozens of times applies when finding a buyer — it's similar to hiring a new employee.

When you interview prospects to fill a job position in your business, there's a 2-way dialogue, right? The same applies here. Remember, we're here to hold the bar high. We want the RIGHT type of buyer, not just any buyer! You want the new buyer to align with you on general business philosophy, outlook on customer service, and to some extent, vision for the business. The buyer will come with many questions, but it's important that you have your own list to understand what type of operator they will be.

Respond to Offers Mindfully

As you've operated your business over the years, chances are you had to say, "No" sometimes. The same applies in this setting. Keep in mind the totality of the offer your prospect brings. They will ask for something — we just don't know what it is until they write their offer. As with most facets of life, a good deal is a process of negotiation — try to keep the big picture in mind as you travel down the path to an accepted offer.

After reading this article, I hope you realize that you have been selling yourself and your business for many years. Take that knowledge and mindset and apply it to the process of selling — and, set the bar high!

To your success,

Jason Huett Collaborative Commercial, LLC



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