Friday, March 21, 2008

Getting Ready to Sell?

I've written before about closing your business, but a recent e-mail campaign (with the dozens of bounced e-mails) has brought this issue to my attention again. I usually try to find a new e-mail address for the ones that are bounced back to me -- and it's easier if the e-mail address includes the company domain name -- like

But even then, I've got a list of more than 100 domains that no longer exist. That can be valuable real estate -- I'm half-tempted to go out and register them myself. After all, some resume writer out there spent a lot of time building up that brand name ... only to let it lapse if they left the business.

Does anyone know a business broker that does any work in the careers industry? I'd like to interview him or her for a future article -- and I think I could send some business their way.

In the March 2008 issue of Inc. Magazine, the "Ask Inc." column featured a question from a business owner who would like to sell the company in the next 18 months.

It made some very good points. Among them:
  • "What is the business without me? Most of your company's value is in your relationships with clients and the knowledge you have gained from experience."
  • Business owners should begin preparing for a sale 3-5 years in advance. (Of course, resume writers who are leaving the field for another career won't have that long. But ideally, you'd make time to grow the value of the company. That's the catch-22 -- if you grew the company, you probably would stay in the field!)
  • Update any manuals you've written or materials you've created to make the business transition smooth -- to help a buyer understand the business -- it can't just be all in your head.
  • If you're selling the business (and not just your client list or domain), make sure you have solid sales record documentation in place.
  • Your client list is your biggest asset. Ideally, you've been keeping in contact with your clients, so the information is still "fresh." The ultimate value of your client list to a prospective buyer is how many of those clients he or she can convert/retain. If you help make the transition possible, your client list will be worth more.
Here are some additional resources:
Closing a Business Checklist (IRS)
Small Business Planner: Getting Out (SBA)

1 comment:

  1. I think a lot of people just don't know what kind of available resources are out there, which why domains just fall to the wayside. I don't know of any business brokers myself, but I know there are global marketplaces where you can sell your business.