Selling and running a regional business
Selling a regional business is in many ways the same as selling a business anywhere else. There are still the steps you need to take to ready your business for sale, ways to better negotiate the sale, and of course the need to take care of existing staff. However, selling a regional business comes with added challenges, the largest of which being a smaller pool of potential buyers, the need for buyers from other cities/towns to relocate, a smaller pool of resources to help you sell your business, as well as the potential for your sale to become publicized and potentially impacting the productivity of your business until the time you do manage to sell it.
How do you sell a regional business with these potential limitations at your door?
Steps you can take when selling a regional business apply also to running a regional business. If you have acquired or started a new business, consider the following.
- Get online. If you do not have a strong online presence, and have not yet set up your business to meet digital demands, do so before you sell. The biggest obstacle regional businesses have always faced is distance. Potential customers were always restricted to locals, but this obstacle has been completely overcome thanks to the internet. You can reduce the impact of less foot traffic that is synonymous with owning a regional business, while boosting potential foot traffic, through an effective use of digital marketing tools (i.e. social media, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing). If you have a product to sell, potential buyers want to know that it has an online market. If you are not confident in your ability to develop a strong digital presence as a business, market your business in terms of its potential for those who have those skills.
- Advertise your business’ ability to connect with outside consumers, through for instance seamless shipping practices. You need to assure potential buyers that a relatively small population and a greater distance from major cities is not a problem for your business, but instead a benefit due to potentially lower rental costs.
- Research government incentives in running a regional business (i.e. small business grants). If they apply to your business, advertise these as part of the business, or sign up to them.
- Can you demonstrate strong networks within your local area as well as with those in your industry? As much as having a strong online presence is important, local support still underpins the success of many regional businesses. Can you show potential buyers what percentage of your income comes from local consumers vs. online?
- Seek the services of an accredited business broker outside of your immediate area. They may be able to source potential buyers from areas where affordability concerns drive people to seek opportunities in regional areas. There has never been a better time to sell a regional business, as more people seek to escape cities and own their own homes.
- When selling a regional business, use your industry connections. You have a high chance of finding a buyer within this small network.
- Be descriptive when listing your business online. You may not want to say the name of the business, but your listing information should be as exhaustive as possible in describing the benefits and opportunities inherent in your business.