Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions.
Question: After two years in business, i have decided to sell my store at an asking price that covers just inventory and fixtures. Do you have any suggestions on the best place to advertise it? I listed it on Craigslist, but it has not received much action. A few people in our store’s circle are interested, but no one has made a concrete offer yet. I feel the store needs a new owner to bring new ideas and energy; I have tried all I know to do. It’s making a little money, but for the time, effort, and energy I put into it, I am ready to move on. Sales are still only averaging $180 to $200 per day, and I can’t seem to get more than seven to nine rings per day on the register.
Answer: Because we have talked in the past, I know this has been a very tough decision for you. Hard as it may be to let go of your dream, sometimes letting someone else infuse it with their time, energy, and ideas is the best move. I know others who made the same decision after struggling to make ends meet, and they experienced a great sense of joy and relief when they were free to move on.
As for advertising, does your community have a free local paper or magazine? Their classified section might be a good place to advertise, especially if the publication is geared toward like-minded people. Another place might be your store’s Facebook page, although to do that you have to be ready to let your customers know you are making a change. This can also be risky, though, as people tend to shy away from uncertainty and may avoid coming in.
If you do decide to make your decision public, know there is no disgrace in not being able to make this work. You made a valiant effort, but without sufficient capital for advertising and inventory, it is a Herculean task. If you do announce it, be as positive and direct as possible. You don’t have to say a lot, just that you have decided to move on and are willing to offer a great deal to a new owner.
Beyond that, the places I can think of to advertise your sale, such as classified ads in major cities nearest you, can be costly. A business broker will usually charge 10 to 15 percent of the sale price. Although this is not an upfront fee, it might be worth investigating. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best in your future endeavors!
First published in Vol. 27 No. 3 of Retailing Insight. © 2013 Continuity Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.