“Our Business is doing great without a website, so why should we invest in having a website?”
We’re seeing this quite often right now. You’re a baby-boomer who owns a business; maybe something passed on by your parents or something you built with your own sweat equity. You’re looking to retire in the next 5-10 years, and not sure how website would add value to your business.
Remember, the value that you create between now and when you sell your business will help you negotiate the best price, and determine what financial freedom you’ll have in retirement.
You’ve probably thought about getting a website, but at the same time, why not just let the next guy take care of it? This way it’ll be built they way he or she wants it, rather than having to change it from how you build it now. Some of these ideas sound like they make perfect sense, but take a moment to consider what they sound like from your future business buyer’s perspective.
Consider the buyer who will acquire your business like someone looking for their first home:
Remember, your future buyer will quite possibly be young, early in his or her career and ready to create their own legacy. Maybe they’ve worked in your industry for a few years and are ready to make a name for themselves.
If they are only a few years out of college, they’re tied to their phone, they use google, not a phone book if they need to find a phone number, and they’re going to research your potential competition online.
Buying your business is to them very similar to buying a first house.
1) Your website is the ‘Finished Basement’ on your business listing.
Remember when you were buying your first house? The real estate listings often had a line that said “Unspoiled Basement.” This is a cliche way of saying “Nothing’s done in the basement.” and while for some people this was appealing because they could customize the basement of their dreams, for other people, this line reads as “Storage space that’s after your down payment, legal fees, transfer costs and taxes, it’s going to be a long while before this works they way you’d like it to.”
In other words, most people would take some kind of finished area in the basement, even if it needed a coat of paint and the carpets had to be redone rather than completely open and “unspoiled.”
If your business doesn’t have a website, the purchaser will factor in a guess for the time and money necessary for a brand new website, since in your purchaser’s mind, a website is essential for any business. It’s much better to offer a website included in the package, even though they recognize it might need some tweaks to realign it with where they would like to take the business.
2) Your website is your online ‘Curb Appeal’.
If someone was looking to buy XYZ plumbing in Woodstock, Ontario, and they do a google search for “Woodstock Ontario Plumber” but can’t find XYZ, then they will assume that people online aren’t finding your business.
Your purchaser is asking themselves how a NEW customer would find your business so the person purchasing your business can grow it to be worth more than they’ve paid.
Even if you’ve built great long-term relationships with your customers, the challenge is that YOU have built great long-term relationships. They haven’t yet. And while they may be using your business name, if your golf buddy knows you’ve retired, he may consider his other options for suppliers.
Right, wrong or otherwise, this could be your purchaser’s perception.
Also, if the clientele you’ve built includes your best friend from high school, the lady who first connected you with the Chamber of Commerce 32 years ago and your bowling team, your peers are in the same stage as you. They may end up retiring in the Muskokas or spending winters in a warmer climate, so the purchase is focussed on where new clients are going to come from.
3) Your Website needs to have a time-tested foundation.
The thing we all have an we all need more of is time. Your purchaser is likely savvy with the online world and probably understands they you can’t get a website up today, and be on the first page of Google tomorrow… most Google ranking takes 60-90 days from launch, and hopefully you’re on something better than page 10. From there, it takes time, blog posts, revisions so Google sees fresh content and lots of traffic to move up the ranks to page 1.
If you were looking at 2 houses for your first home, and one was 30 years old with a cracked foundation, but the other was 50 years old and has never had a crack, on that factor alone, you’re likely to choose the one that stood up better over time.
Your purchaser is not only going to see the cost and time involved in getting the website live, they’re going to know that it takes time for that website to produce results. If you offer them a website that’s got a history of producing results, you’ll be satisfying their concerns before they realize they have any concerns.
4) What will appeal to a ‘First-Time’ buyer for your business?
Here is what your business listing would look like to receive top-dollar:
• Included in the business is a well-established, 5 year old website that’s had quarterly revisions to the content and can be sustained with monthly costs less than a utility payment or an insurance premium. This includes initial updates / adjustments to the website in your first month of business at no additional cost.
• Purchase a business that appears on the first page of Google for searches about “Plumbers, Plumbing and Plumbing Leaks” in Woodstock, Ontario.
• Excellent on-going relationship with website designer who looks after website updates, Email technical support with customized business emails (so they don’t have to research a designer to make future changes.)
• Generates X number of new clients every month for the past 12 months.