It can be a devastating blow to put your 20 year old business up for sale and receive no offers or at best low ball, bargain basement offers.

There were probably some really good reasons for that and other than asking the buyers to tell you why, let me share 15 reasons:

  1. You were not unique in your marketplace and your messaging was confusing on closer inspection.
  2. You were invisible in your marketplace and piers had never come across you.
  3. Sales and profits were growing well under 25%.
  4. The 3 year outlook for your market sucked.
  5. Your current years trading were showing signs of strain and last year was not a great year.
  6. Legacy products dominate your sales line.
  7. Your profits even after adding back owner benefits were well under $2m.
  8. A few big customers accounted for more than 33% of your business.
  9. Your top 10 managers had never received a call from a headhunter, were invisible and did not interview well.
  10. The business was totally dependent on you the owner.
  11. Your margins were weak relative to the sector average.
  12. Your business model produced lumpy sales and profits with little visibility.
  13. Your financial statements have never been audited.
  14. Staff moral and engagement was perceived to be weaker then the Red Sox locker room (insert your favorite soul destroying team).
  15. Your legal contracts and statutory filings were as organized as the Enron Finance Department.
Any one of these could have sunk your attractive offer or more likely a combination of a few. Sadly you could have done something about all of them, even your market #4, although admittedly that would have taken unreasonable courage.


Fulfilling The Potential of Your Business has 60 chapters 3 to 5 pages per Chapter that might help before you try again.

And try the Saleability Test.