Showing a business is more than just touring a prospective buyer through the building and showing him four walls and a new paint job. It’s about perception.
External Business Appearance
Most business showings are performed after business hours due to confidentiality. The buyer should understand that employees may not be aware of a possible sale until the acquisitions process is almost complete.
In preparing a business for sale, it’s imperative that you look at the business from a buyer’s perspective. From the outside, does the lot show that attention has been paid to parking arrangements and traffic flow? Does the company sign outside project a thriving concern or is it an old sign that needs painting or a neon sign with letters missing?
The key to a successful showing is to prepare for it by putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. The buyer’s perception starts with his first impressions. Remember, the showing will be the first time the buyer sees the business with intent to purchase.
Internal Business Appearance
The appearance of a business can either give an impression of organization or disorganization. How does the entrance look? Does the entrance hall or waiting room need new carpet, furniture, or paint? Are the floors swept and employee’s desks neat at the end of each business day? Is the equipment clean?
A buyer’s visit will always be announced in advance, allowing you ample time to clean, organize and be ready for a showing.
Looking at row after row of products without any numbers or designations can be bewildering, so warehouse shelving should be numbered and neatly laid out, with products labeled.
As the owner, you may have looked at these items for years and know exactly where to find whatever you might be need at any moment. You may be comfortable with the layout and structure, but the real question for the showing is: will the buyer be comfortable?
Everything should be in its place and well organized because that makes a statement about efficiency, ergonomics, and work flow to potential buyers.
A company website is also a tool for helping to show a business. Having a good website gives the buyer the perception of a progressive company that has joined the technological wave, one that is still looking for potential customers.
Make it Count
You only get one chance at making a first impression, so when you get that shot, it’s important to give the prospective buyer an impression of a well-run, organization capable of continuing to be profitable.