It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll face as an owner — do I sell my agency? That’s a tough position to be in, but it’s not always a bad one. Even if you never planned to sell and your company is doing great, it could be the most profitable decision you’ll ever make. And that’s why it’s crucial to know how to find the right buyer before you’re ready to start looking.
There are a few ways to go about this…
- Build Partnerships
In our opinion, this is the best way to go because it’s really the easiest. Agency partnerships and collaborations happen naturally over time, and they could present the perfect opportunity to expand your business, or at least get a situation and an offer you’re really happy with. Whether you’re currently outsourcing work to one another or collaborating on various projects as a team, sometimes these people are the most practical buyers for your agency.
Not only do your partners know what you do and how you work, but they’ve seen first-hand that an acquisition with you is successful. This makes marketing yourself a lot easier, and it can help you find new outlets for growth. Agencies are rarely sold to people outside of your network, so start by looking right in front of you first.
- Create Online Visibility
Ok, we know we just said that most agencies don’t sell to strangers, but the more you can get the word out there, the bigger your actual network will become. Sites like Clutch are great platforms for connecting firms and owners with clients. You can increase your visibility in front of the people actually looking to acquire or partner with an agency like yours. Showcase your reviews, focus area, size, rates, and more while potential buyers on the site filter by the same categories.
When you’re looking to expand your buyer reach, it’s a good idea to use the support of digital services that do the heavy work for you.
- Attend Events & Networking
Increasing your visibility isn’t just a digital strategy though. In-person events are a great way to leverage your extended network. And as a host, you can specifically capitalize on specific themes or topics that highlight your business expertise and competence. For example, you can host an event for other founders that offer tips for increasing profitability or teach best practices for growing and managing a business, allowing you to show your agency has been successful at it. Or you can tailor the event to your customers. Focus the discussion on important trends or technologies in their industry to get more like-minded individuals learning about what you do — and how well you do it.
And don’t overlook the effectiveness of basic networking. Reach out to other founders and business leaders to grab a cup of coffee, and learn more about their business model and what’s working for them. At the very least, you’ll create new connections that could open doors for you down the road.
- Corporate Development
Lastly, you could get in the game with the large consulting players. Firms like PwC, KPMG, E&Y, etc. have massive networks of companies and agencies that you may not be able to tap into on your own. They’re actively seeking new companies like yours to buy, so you can almost get a little more picky about which acquisition would be best for your agency’s situation. Acquisitions are what these firms do, so it’s not uncommon to find potential buyers by reaching out to learn more.
The key to any sales approach is nurturing your relationships early and often. The sooner you can start building important connections, the more options you’ll have when it’s time to sell. And more options lead to better offers. To learn more about how you can be as prepared as possible for when the right buyer does come along, contact Metric.ai today.