Now that you have completed, signed and returned our Registration Agreement we will prepare a set of Sales Particulars. These are similar to what you would expect to see from a normal residential estate agent however it will set out the details of the business that is for sale.
The Sales Particulars will be populated with information that we gathered at the initial visit/valuation and photos that we took will be used as well. If you have your own photos that you wish to provide (may be when the business is operational and with customers etc) then we are happy to accommodate those where appropriate. The Sales Particulars will be sent to you for your approval before they are released for prospective purchasers.
Selling a business is very different from selling a house and issues that need to be clearly explained are the price (what is included and what isn’t), leasehold or freehold, terms of a lease (where appropriate), planning use for the property and any licensing criteria also. Staff, stock, assets, websites, phone numbers etc are generally all part of the deal to be agreed.
The vast majority of properties will require an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) before we are able to market the business/property for sale. An EPC measures the energy efficiency of the building and gives it an overall rating. Most buyers do not pay much attention to this document but it still needs to be in place before a property can be bought or sold.
Once we have confirmation that you are happy with what we have produced we will push the button on the marketing activity that we undertake. We have accounts with a number of national websites dedicated to selling or buying businesses for sale. It is simply not a case of just sticking it on Rightmove because it has the biggest audience. We want to make sure it is in the right places for the right people to see.
We also list the business on our own websites as well as market it to our database of existing clients that are looking for business opportunities in Essex. We regularly send out emails to our database advising them of new instructions or price changes to ensure that your business gets maximum exposure. You may have seen one of our adverts in the local press or local publication and where appropriate we can include your business in that as well.
We have our own social media sites on Facebook and Twitter and these help us to reach a different audience. For us the most important part is not just one specific marketing strategy to use. The power comes from the combination of marketing activities we undertake to try and find the right buyer for your business.
As your agent, we will filter any enquiries that come in for your business. Some people are just nosey and want to know what businesses are for sale. We ensure that all applicants have to register with us to get the full Sales Particulars. We will send out the details and people may then enquire with more questions or requesting a viewing. It is also common for prospective purchasers to visit your business as customers so it is important to be aware that when your business is for sale your prospective purchaser could walk through pretending to be a customer at any minute.
More formal viewings are agreed and arranged at a time convenient for all parties. You as the business owner are probably the best person to explain your business and show someone around. As your agent we will have a general overview of what you do and how you work but the real nuts and bolts are something that a potential buyer for the business will be interested in.
After a formal viewing, the potential purchasers will usually ask to see a copy of the accounts particularly if they want to continue trading as you are currently. If they are planning on doing something completely different then the historical accounts will be of less relevance.
At this point we would hope and expect to start receiving offers for the business and the usual practice begins of offer and counter offer. If the business is priced correctly in the first place we would hope and expect to get offers close to or on the asking price. If a business is over-priced, the offers that come in will be much lower than this. It is important to remember that a business value can mean different things to different people and a low offer may actually be a fair market price offer but looks low compared to a high asking price in the first place.
We would hope to soon get to the “sale agreed” stage which can be exciting and daunting at the same time. With business sales this is definitely not the end of the process. In residential sales it is usually a fairly standard process to follow between buyer, seller and their solicitors.
With business sales there can also be an added layer of complication if there is a landlord involved and their legal representative also (particularly where a lease is being assigned or a new one offered as part of the deal)
The next page explains the final step which is from being “sale agreed” to “completion.”