Selling a Business in an Ever-Changing Market

Business Insights

Steve Barry is a principal Client Director at EvolutionCBS,  he has nearly thirty years’ success as a transformational business leader improving turnaround, post-acquisition integration and structured growth.

He has worked extensively with UK SMB, mid-corporate and Public Sector organisations from a background of sales, distribution, business development, executive coaching, capability development and mentoring.  He transforms businesses in need of organisational development and growth in preparation for sale.  

It's my job to find the story of a business for sale within the detail that our clients give me. 

Prospective buyers want to know in straight-talking terms what the future is going to look and feel like if they buy your business.  That’s how they determine ‘value’. This means far more to them than a litany of facts and figures.  It’s how they interpret those facts and figures that’s important to your sale.    

In a previous article of this series, Kay Binns spoke of the amount of research that goes into finding a list of decent prospects.  Our clients recognise that they need to partner up with a sales team that’s eager to do the legwork to find key players rather than a generic round up of anybody who’s in the market to buy a business. 

They understand that the conversations they have in the early stages of their relationship with their sales team should give rise to their business’s narrative – its ‘story’.  This is an essential ‘tell all’ time with a team that they must feel easy talking to.  Remember, then, that your story ought to include the good, the bad and the ugly twists and turns it’s taken as your business has evolved. After all, the one constant in Life is change.  How has your business survived, and how adaptable is it going to be to changes in the future?

That story is key to the whole process.  As the list of qualified prospects grows, this story is tweaked and applied by your experienced team to meet the ‘brief’ that each buyer brings. 

How can you help your sales team to grow a list of genuine prospects?  There are two key things that I share with our clients – and they’re both to do with your psychology.  


Selling a business has more to do with your EQ than your IQ score. 

With a good team looking after you as they research and build your business’s story, the onus is on you to be willing to adopt a new perspective. 

It’s very important that you understand on an empathic level how your prospective buyers think.  What inspires them?  What is likely to make them hesitate about the deal?  What type of personalities do they have? 

You might want to sell at a certain price, but the buyers have a different figure in mind.  What’s more, they might have different objectives for buying your business than you have for selling it.  Try to develop an understanding of your prospect’s perspective alongside your own for a better outcome.


Speaking of perspective, is it possible that your own could use a shot of positivity?

Even in ‘normal’ times, external influences affect business.  Since COVID-19 began, we’ve had an uncomfortable time of it. 

The changes have not been all bad, though.    

Many businesses have made sudden, enforced changes since March 2020 with an agility of thinking that they didn’t know they had.  Increasing activity online has been one such change that most have reported since the pandemic forced us to rethink our ways.  For some, it’s meant them putting new systems and procedures in place, restructuring, streamlining and even recruiting new talent. 

If your business model is ready for a change, don’t think you have to come up with all the ideas yourself.  Speak with your business sales team, bring advisers in, so that at least the plan is in place before you start the sales process. 

Unlock the value of lockdown and consider how you can make your business more viable for a buyer as we come out of the pandemic. 

Positively thinking, it’s just around the corner …

Remember, it’s not the amount of change that happens to you that matters.  Rather, it’s your response to it.  Make that the story of your business and your pool of potential buyers will fill up most gratifyingly. 

With the right team on side, you’ll soon usher in that ultimate change you’re after.

EvolutionCBS is a long-established, Reading-based business sale consultancy with an enviable track record of success.  Supporting business in any sector and any region within the UK, EvolutionCBS finds buyers from around the world through highly targeted research. The company’s service is focused on business sales of between £5m - £40m with an average transaction size of £14m.