When it comes to franchising, buying a business is a popular topic of conversation and one that is written about a lot. Less so is the topic of selling a business. As a long established franchise business, we have seen many franchisees come and go over the years, with some of the most successful centres in our network having had more than one owner.
Seeing a business for sale
makes some people worry – is the location terrible? Are the staff useless? Does the current owner just want to jump ship? Usually the answer is no, the franchisee is just looking to move to a new project or retire. With the housing market and economy finally picking up, so are the rewards you can gain from selling your franchise.
We've put together our top tips for selling a business and making it abundantly clear that actually, it's just time to hand over the reins to someone new.1) Know your stuff
Not that we're trying to teach you to suck eggs, but knowing your business inside out is vital when selling. Prospective buyers will have numerous questions and if you're able to answer them easily and knowledgeably, this makes your business more attractive.2) Work with your franchisor
Ensuring your franchisor is as up to speed on your business as you are will only increase your chances of a quicker sale. Chances are, they will be looking after the resale advertising as well as handling enquiries, so it's vital they understand why you're selling, what is being offered, and are up to date with any changes or developments within your business.3) Plan ahead
Not looking to move on yet but know you want to in the next 5 or even 10 years? An exit plan is crucial. Work with your franchisor to put one together and you will ensure you're in the strongest possible position to sell when you're ready. It's also a good idea to have a sale price in mind, even as early as the day your business opens, this way you know what you're working towards.
Your management style is also vital in getting the business to the right level to sell. We always say to our franchisees; 'work on the business not in it.' Your business should be able to operate without you, thereby showing prospective purchasers the business is not just reliant in your input.4) Be open with your staff
It's not always possible to discuss your plans to move on straight away, but when the time comes, be as open with them as possible. Your staff members are the biggest asset your business has and so leaving them prepared for the change and feeling confident in their roles is vital. Change can be hard but a strong, well informed team will better equip the business to move onwards and upwards under new ownership. 5) Be available to help with the handover
Depending on your circumstances this may not always be possible, but if it is, this can be a great help the new business owner. It doesn't have to be forever, but making yourself available for a short period of time will give the business a helping hand during those tricky first few weeks of new ownership before you step away completely.
One of the joys of owning a business and building it up to be successful is the knowledge that you can retire or move on to your next project leaving a positive legacy behind you. And if you're REALLY lucky (and work very hard) you can think about that legacy from the balcony of your holiday home overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Just remember to send us a postcard!Signs Express
, the UK and Ireland's largest signs and graphics franchise, is celebrating 25 years in business this year. If you're looking to start your own franchise
, or if you're interested in our resale opportunities
, please do get in touch.