How to write your business-for-sale listing

December 30, 2020
Quote from a popular business-for-sale site, "the only way I could create the listing was to get my nieces boyfriend (who worked on movie sets in the 90s) to write it"

Writing a business-for-sale listing ad is hard. Especially if you don't consider yourself a reincarnation of Billy Shakespeare.

Writing a comprehensive snapshot of your business in under 500 characters ain't easy. Yet this is a critical step to selling your business.

Here's a simple trick we use to create a high-quality listing ad in minutes:

Part 1: Write an eye-catching listing title

Part 2: Write the body paragraph for your listing

  • First, write an Executive Summary for your business
  • Next, remove any identifying information (address, name, etc.) from the Executive Summary. Use this anonymized version as the body paragraph of your listing ad.

Alright that's it - good luck with the sale!

Okay, fine. Here's how to do it 👇

Part 1: Write an eye-catching listing title

Most listing sites give you only up to 60 characters to write.

To put that in perspective, this sentence is 60 characters.

As you can see, it's not a lot of space to grab a Buyer's attention. Although still possible with a punchy listing title. Try writing your listing title using the following formula:

Image showing the 3 steps in writing a business-for-sale listing

You can break a listing title down into 3 parts:

1) Buyer Qualifier

  • A key-word that will catch the attention of your Buyer Persona.

2) Business Descriptor

  • Describe your business in 3 words or less (clothing store, coffee shop, wholesale distributor, etc.)

3) Supporting Attribute

  • End with an attribute that sparks Buyer interest and supports the Buyer Qualifier.

Writing the buyer qualifier

A Buyer Qualifier makes it easy for your Buyer Persona to identify your business. It is best for your qualifier to be 1 keyword.

For Lifestyle Buyers, that word is 'self-managed'. For Financial Buyers, a possible qualifier is 'high-margin'.

Below are a few examples for different Buyer Personas.

Image breaking down the various buyer personas and their various qualifiers

For your Supporting Attribute, enter your business's greatest strength. The SWOT Analysis tool in DealBuilder makes this easy. Using the tool you can create a comprehensive list of all the strengths of your business. Once your list is complete, rank the top 3 strengths of your business (we will use these later). For now, enter the #1 strength as the Supporting Attribute at the end of your listing title.

Part 2: Writing an Executive Summary

Your Executive Summary should provide a concise and compelling overview of your business. In DealBuilder, you will find a library of examples for different types of Buyers. Here is an example of a DealBuilder template tailored towards a Financial Buyer.

Entering its ______ year of business, {Business Name} has enjoyed a history of profitability. This has resulted in the owner(s) earning benefits of $_______ per year.

{Business Name} delivers {products/services} to its clientele of {description of clientele}. Contributing to {Business name}’s success is {attribute 1}, {attribute 2}, and {attribute 3}. Further opportunities exist to focus on {opportunity 1}, {opportunity 2}, and {opportunity 3}.

{Business Name}'s robust profitability makes it possible to hire a full-time manager to replace the current owner(s). As a result, this is a unique opportunity for both an individual owner/operator or buyer group.

The above focuses on what a Financial Buyer cares about. In this case, the profits of the business, its strengths, and future opportunities. Attributes 1, 2, and 3 come from the Strengths section of your SWOT Analysis. Opportunities 1, 2, and 3 come from the Opportunities section.

To make the above anonymous, replace the {Business Name} field with 'The Company' or 'The Business'. You are now ready to share your listing with the world!

Want to learn more? Check out our other recent articles on selling your business:

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