At some point in your event planning business, you may consider selling your business. Or, perhaps, selling your event planning business is part of your business exit strategy.
Whatever stage of the process you are in currently, it’s never too early to start laying the groundwork for preparing your business for sale.
Expand your service offering
Events businesses tend to settle into two camps: specialising in either personal or professional services. More often than not these take the form of weddings and trade shows, alongside seasonal holidays events like Christmas parties.
Seasonality is one of the inevitabilities of events management; however, there are things you can do to make your cash flow more consistent. Scavenger hunts, escape rooms, charity events and roundtables are all things that cover both personal and professional services and aren’t so reliant on a “high season”.
Showing potential buyers that your business is capable of earning money year-round will add value and appeal.
Evidence a solid cashflow
This is related to the previous point, but a big thing you can do to improve the attractiveness of your event management business to a prospective buyer is by trying to regulate your cash flow.
Buyers tend to find a consistent, steady income of cash a more attractive prospect than a business that experiences a huge spike in turnover during specific times of the year. Building relationships with clients and trying to offer non-seasonal activities as part of your services will ensure you avoid these spikes of activity. Your business will appear a more reliable return as a result.
Invest in brand awareness
Keeping branding current and cohesive with your website, social media accounts, and print marketing materials is essential if you are trying to sell an event planning business. The last thing a new owner wants to do is create a new brand and look for a business they just purchased.
If a buyer doesn’t need to look for long before finding your online footprint or has heard of your brand already, the sale price of your business can be dramatically increased.
Keep track of your PR, awards, and publications
Having a track record of press, publications, and awards makes an event planning business quite appealing to potential buyers. Not only do you want to strive for these, keep track of every publication (both online and in print) and award that you receive.
A little prestige goes a long way when it comes to selling your business and can give your buyer confidence that this is a business that works. It can also justify you hiking the asking price up!
Ensure you are not taking the business with you
Most businesses start out as one-man bands and that’s absolutely fine. However, by the time you sell up, you need to ensure that you have fully divested yourself of the day to day running of the business.
As the business grows, relaxing your grip on the reins and ensuring you’ve trained competent and professional staff members to take the lead is vital to resale. This can take time; however, a business is no use to a buyer if it cannot run without you.
Be prepared to have to prove to a buyer that this business’ best work is perfectly capable of being delivered without you there to oversee it.
There are some very successful events businesses that run without other fulltime employees. If this is you, you should be prepared to offer the buyer the option of a handover period where you can train them in the way that things work.
Having suitably prepped your events business for sale, the next step is the actual selling. The most obvious route is to use a business broker; choosing the right broker raises the quality of contacts they can leverage, so research carefully. You want to ensure that the people being presented your business as an option are those who actually have an interest in buying an events business.
Advertising your business online is a way to reach a large audience and guarantee that those that are searching for an events business will be able to see yours in the search results.
Another option that can reap serious dividends is to leverage your own contacts. The nature of your business means you’ll have developed a lot of useful relationships over the years, so use them! Ask around; see if there’s anyone in your professional network who knows of someone who is looking to expand their portfolio. You never know, the right buyer may just be a mutual acquaintance away!