Over the past twenty plus years, I have worked with many business owners who were trying to sell their companies. Much of my work focuses on assisting owners in preparing their businesses for sale. This is a natural extension to my business since I have built a career helping people buy companies. I understand what it takes to sell one and most importantly, what a buyer must have in place in order for them to get through the entire process and close the deal.
When buyers table these potential suggestions, quite often the sellers will try to prove how smart they are (not always the case) with a "we tried it – it didn't work" response. Not only does this answer discourage a buyer, it can derail a deal if a buyer starts to feel that there are limited growth opportunities.
Instead of this approach, it is far better to explain to the buyer that something like that was done but the results were not as expected and outline why. Explain to the buyer the entire initiative and where and why it did not produce the hoped for results. Perhaps it was just timing, market conditions or other issues beyond the seller's control. Maybe it failed simply because it wasn't a good idea. However, I have found that the many failed marketing/growth initiatives are a result of poor execution and a lack of sustained testing under a variety of scenarios.
This may not apply to every scenario.
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