Whether you are working with a professional business broker or trying to sell your business on your own, one of the most basic and important first steps is to take time and care when writing your business-for-sale advertisement.    Here are 5 simple tips on how you can make your business for sale advertisement effective.

1.  Use a Compelling Title

It is important to use a title that will grab the reader’s attention.    Think about what makes your business unique or the great qualities of your business – use these catch phrases in your title.  Remember that you want your business for sale ad to “stand out in the crowd” – wet the reader’s appetite – give them a reason to want to click on your ad to learn more.    Here are some examples of how to give your ad title some added “zing”.  Here are some examples:

  • Use “Donut Shop for Sale – Highly Profitable!”  —-not this—-  “Donut Shop for Sale”
  • Use “Popular Chinese Restaurant for Sale – in business 30 years!” —not this—“Restaurant for Sale”
  • Use “Profitable Dry Cleaners – Owner Retiring!”—-not this—“Dry Cleaners for Sale”

2.  Keep it Positive

It is important that your ad be positive.    It is best to discuss sensitive topics verbally and in person.  Perhaps your business has been really negatively impacted by the economy, but you do see a lot of opportunity for the right person to turn it around and expand the business – that’s good information, but best left for a one-on-one conversation with the prospective business buyer.    You don’t want to mention anything negative in the ad that would discourage the prospective buyer from contacting you directly to learn more.

3.  Include Important Details and Facts

When describing your business for sale, make sure to include enough facts and details to give the prospective business buyer a clear picture of the business you are trying to sell.     The main point here is — do not put down 1 or 2 sentences and quit.  You need to tell a story and give the reader a reason to get excited about your business.    Here are some things you can include:  type of business, services offered, longevity of business, history, location (is it in high traffic area, a growing area, etc..), number of employees, if positive, include reasons for selling, types of assets, owner financing available?, what is your competitive edge, etc.

4.  Selpl Check & Proofread

Did I get you with that typo above?    Don’t forget to spell check – if you are using Microsoft Word – just use the Spell Check feature.    A poorly written advertisement can be a turnoff to prospective buyers.  You want to make sure your ad comes across as professional and well written.  An ad full of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes only hurts your chances to impress the prospective buyer.   As Nike so aptly puts it – “Just do it!”

5.  Include a Photo

Prospective buyers love to visualize what a business looks like.  Include an attractive photo of your business.  Try to highlight an aspect of your business that is particular appealing or unique – for example, if you own a restaurant that has an attractive interior, feature a photo of the inside – if you own a concrete plant with state-of-the-art equipment, have the photo capture the equipment.   If you are concerned about confidentiality, try using a “stock” photo that portrays your business but does not disclose details.  For example, if it is an Italian restaurant, perhaps you have a generic photo of a chef – if it is a Pool Repair Company – perhaps you have an attractive photo of a pool.

Following these 5 tips will help you write an effective advertisement for your business.  On a final note, it does take time to sell a business, so it is important that you be patient and have realistic expectations.  It is not uncommon for a business to take 12-24 months to sell.    Best of luck!

To post your own business for sale advertisement – visit BusinessBroker.net’s FSBO Sign-Up Page.   Thank-you.