UK M&A activity is on the up: great news for the country’s businesses who faced one of the toughest trading periods many may ever experienced.
Making the decision to sell, or even to seek additional external investment and relinquish total control of a business can be a difficult one for many owners to approach. And yet it is in the plans of many owners to drive their operations to a place of success, before stepping back to enjoy the fruits of their labours – or to move onwards and upwards with the business as it develops.
Still, a UBS study showed that nearly half of all small business owners do not have an exit strategy in place. The same report found that an overwhelming majority of owners hadn’t fully grasped what it takes to sell their business. It can take tremendous planning, not to mention having a good idea of who your ideal buyers may be. Similar thinking is needed for seeking additional investment when looking to grow a business.
While this planning and appraisal of the business is the most important factor, we have also seen firsthand that aligning a comms strategy to these goals can make seeking investment or selling up a more successful process. Knowing who you want to attract to your business sale is a similar process to targeting comms campaigns to helping businesses to grow and attract new clients – the difference is that you’re selling the business itself, rather than its services and capabilities.
Based on our experiences of helping companies to build their profiles to sell or attract the right investors, here are our tips to make your business magnetic to suitable partners:
- Tell your story. Know what about the company makes it valuable and truly different. We’ve seen a company sold on the strength of one single article alone, which showcased the company founder and what set that company apart, placed in the right media for its target acquisition audiences.
- Leave your ego at the door. It may be your business, and your hand at the helm, and that’s a vital part of the business’ current journey. But we encounter a lot of owners who are bashful about putting themselves forward within a PR campaign. It needs to be natural and genuine, but the founder’s story is an important piece to add to the jigsaw of a business’ future. The old adage about people buying people is still true – even if you’re looking to sell in part or in total.
- Your business needs to be distinctive to find the right audiences. Know what sets you apart – this will be what makes the company interesting to buyers. Weaving this into PR has similar benefits to making you stand out to potential customers. So, by boosting your profile you’re not only setting out your stall for acquisition, but also potentially building your bottom line with new business. Win/win.
- Be consistent. While one article may well start the right balls rolling, it’s unlikely to communicate the full story about a business, its potential, its plans, and why customers keep coming back. Think of an acquisition or investment sourcing journey as a marathon, not a sprint.
Most businesses gearing up to make a change like this may have run PR campaigns for some time, to boost sales to potential new partners and to help the company to grow to its current point.
If you want to know more about how comms can help a company to gear up for success like this, drop us a line.